One of the things about living in a polluted world, full of toxic chemicals in the water, air, food supply, etc. is that they don't just stay on the outside but many of them end up on the inside, too. Our bodies can become burdened by these toxins over time, and this can affect a whole host of bodily functions, sometimes seen through illness and symptoms and sometimes just silently wearing our bodies down and causing gradual and subtle effects.
Either way, they are a hindrance to living in good health. Of course, we seek to eat clean foods and keep our homes as toxin free as possible, but it just isn't possible to avoid toxins completely. Over time, we all need to do a bit of "housecleaning" and help to rid our bodies of these built up chemicals and foreign substances.
I mentioned recently that I was going to do a little bit of detoxifying while taking a short break from nursing my baby (due to being on medications that I didn't feel were safe for her to receive through breastfeeding). Many of you asked how I was going to do this cleansing, and so I thought I'd share just a few ideas and ways that I chose to detoxify my body.
I'll let you know straight up that this is not an area of expertise for me. Though I have studied some about detoxifying and different methods of doing so, my knowledge in this area is not as strong as some other areas. I present this as the ways that I haven chosen to aid my body in cleaning itself out, not as the ultimate guide for how you ought to choose to do your own detoxing regime. I am still learning much in this area! :)
Perfect Cleanse Kit
This kit is through Garden of Life (you can read more about the product through this link) , a supplement company whose products I believe are of a very high quality. This is Dr. Jordan Rubin's company and he is the author of The Maker's Diet, an excellent book that I highly recommend (very much in line with a traditional, whole foods diet like Nourishing Traditions, and includes much other useful information for health especially in regards to having a healthy digestive system). I like this kit because it does not require a special diet or fasting, although of course it is always best to be eating well if you expect to get the most benefits out of any cleanse (ie. no junk while you're doing it!).
Knowing that I only had about one week that I would not be breastfeeding, I had little time to prepare myself to do anything more elaborate, and even less time and energy to actually think about preparing special foods, juices, etc. I had previously bought this kit, intending to do it the day I actually found out I was pregnant (so there went that idea!). I wasn't able to do it for the full 10 days, but did do it for 6 days which is certainly better than nothing. I appreciated that I could use it while eating normally, because I did not want to restrict my calories while trying to maintain my milk supply. I found the cleanse very easy to use, gentle on my system, but it still felt as though it was being effective and making a difference.
Chlorella is a type of green algae. Aside from boasting many nutrients, including powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, DNA and RNA (for cell growth and repair), it is also widely known as an powerful detoxifier. Most particularly, chlorella is known for binding to heavy metals, removing them from the body and purifying the blood.
It's important to use a high quality source of chlorella for the best results. I used ChlorEssence by Sequel, a local Canadian company. Dr. Mercola also carries a chlorella tablet that looks to be superior in quality, and this page on his site includes a bit more information about the benefits of using chlorella. I was taking between 4-6 tablets a day, in addition to using the above kit.
Flora Diulaxa Tea
This is an herbal tea that combines many herbs known to have detoxifying and blood purifying properties. I couldn't find many websites with a good description of it, but here is what one said about it: "Effectively cleans the blood and helps remove body wastes by stimulating excretion through bowels, kidneys and skin."
This tea can be taken 1-3 cups a day, and is recommended for a 6 week period. I didn't have that kind of time, but just decided to add a cup of it every day to what I was already doing. Using a prepared tea like this isn't necessary, as there are plenty of herbs out there that aid the body in detoxification, but this is an easier and safer way to do it if you aren't knowledgeable about herbs or don't care to source out the individual ingredients yourself. Most health food stores will carry either this tea or something similar.
Why not just cleanse by fasting or using a specific diet?
Great question! You can definitely do a cleanse or detoxification through diet alone. In fact, fasting is a very effective way of cleaning out the body, whether it is a brief water fast, or a longer juice fast or mono-diet (only one food is consumed- for instance, brown rice or apples).
I personally chose not to do a fast of this sort for two main reasons: 1) I was still overcoming a sickness and felt that I needed the nutrients from eating a wholesome diet, since I had been struggling to take in enough food and fluids during the previous week of being ill. 2) I was pumping to maintain my milk supply for my young baby and was worried that restricting my calories would compromise that milk supply.
For those who are certain they are not pregnant, and are not breastfeeding, using some type of fasting to clean out the body is definitely a worthwhile option to consider. I would suggest consulting with an experienced practitioner (like a Naturopath) who is skilled in leading people through this type of cleansing as it should be done carefully in order to reap the most benefits from it and to avoid doing anything that may actually cause your body more harm than good. At the very least, read up on the subject very thoroughly before attempting to do any fasting yourself to ensure that you know how to do it safely.
Another way to use diet to clean out the body is to go on a more restrictive diet (only eating certain foods), but without restricting caloric intake. One of the best diets of this sort that I know of and have personally used is The Maker's Diet. Here are a few of my own thoughts on doing this diet.
Note that if you are in a season of breastfeeding or pregnancy, the Maker's Diet could be used in a more modified way, starting with Stage 2 or 3 only, to avoid letting the body do any heavy detoxing. It's fine to cut out harmful things from your diet during breastfeeding and pregnancy, but it's not fine to alter the diet to such an extreme that your body begins to rapidly release toxins, as these will make their way to your baby through the placenta or through breastmilk. I'm sorry to say that those who are already in these seasons of life (as I have been for most of the past 5 years, so I understand!) will have to wait it out before choosing to do any sort of heavier detox.
Have you ever done any sort of a cleanse or detox? How did you do it? Did you notice the positive effects of having done it?