Spring clean-up for your body
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” — Hippocrates.
Spring is in the air … for now, anyway, until it snows again. Most people get the tickle this time of year to clean out the old and freshen up their space. We bring our cars in for an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, get the filters changed and get a tune-up, but how often do we maintain our human machine? How often do we think about cleaning out our bodies? It turns out most Americans take better care of their cars and homes than themselves, leading stressful lives with the pressures of work, school and family. If people “changed their oil” every couple months, they would sleep better, have increased energy, decreased pain and their “machine” would run a whole lot cleaner.
I see countless patients who come in seeking relief of pain, fatigue, insomnia, allergies and much more, and, in my experience, if one is motivated enough to totally change their “diet” and detoxify their bodies by cleansing, patients can have 50 percent improvement to total relief of their symptoms. Changing one’s way of eating is difficult for most due to it being such a social event and the addictions to sweet and salty foods. However, if people knew the transformation their body could undergo, they wouldn’t look back. I have seen such dramatic changes in people that many don’t require certain medications anymore simply by ridding their systems of the toxins that are making them sick.
So, how does one do this? Simple, start by cleaning out your cupboards of any processed, packaged foods. Imagine you lived hundreds of years ago with no grocery stores, only fresh foods growing from your garden. Avoid all sugars, dairy, flours and grains (except rice), caffeine, alcohol and meat. This is the first phase and is simple enough for most people that wish to start with a light cleanse. If one is experienced in cleansing, they might continue on to a master cleanse or a juice fast for the spring season.
The master cleanse lasts up to 10 days, drinking only fluids that consist of filtered water, lemon, cayenne and maple syrup. A juice fast might last several weeks and is mostly comprised of vegetables, green plant based foods and some fruits.
When undergoing a cleanse, possible detoxification effects can include headache, nausea, fatigue, rash, constipation and being more emotional, temporarily. One can decrease these effects and better their results by increasing filtered water intake, using a far-infrared sauna, herbs, acupuncture, meditation, Epsom salt baths, enemas or colonics and decreasing their stress load while cleansing.
Upon going off of a cleanse, it is important to resume a healthy diet (no processed, packaged foods) for a period of time so your body is not shocked by the toxic load that many of these foods hold.
I recommend for anyone who has not cleansed before seek help from a licensed OMD or a health professional who specializes in detoxification so they can tailor a plan for your specific health needs.