by Cherie Calbom
This article was originally published in August 2008
(August 2008) — Maybe you’ve been struggling to lose weight and just can’t seem to get those pounds off — or keep them off. You lose a few pounds only to gain them back, plus a few more.
Or maybe you’re feeling sluggish, constantly fatigued. Perhaps you have frequent headaches, back pain, or pain elsewhere in your body. Your sleep may be disturbed or you may wake up in the morning still feeling tired. Your digestion may be off kilter and you experience gas, bloating or constipation.
Your immune system may not be up to par; you get frequent colds, flu, infections or sinus problems. Or maybe, in general, you just feel “off” — despite your best efforts at living a healthy lifestyle.
Take courage. All these symptoms could be signals that something is amiss, reminders that your body needs help.
Removing toxins could be a key factor in restoring your body’s sense of well-being. Detoxification has been known to help many people achieve their health goals — even some that eluded them for years. Whether it’s weight loss, longevity, a higher level of wellness, or recovery from illness, removing toxins can help your body regain the balance it needs.
The practice of detoxification is not a modern custom. Cultures throughout history have performed internal cleansing through fasting, the use of herbs, certain foods, enemas, and various colon and liver-cleansing substances. But it’s only in the last few decades that detoxification has become more popular in the mainstream.
Cleansing or detoxing (as it’s also known) is a practice of removing toxins from the body with specialized programs. It typically includes herbs, fresh juices and cleansing foods, along with flushing the colon with enemas or colonics. A good detoxification program will remove toxins, drug residues, heavy metals, acid, parasites, fungus, yeasts and other pathogens.
A cellular tune-up
Research shows that the average person is exposed to thousands of toxins and environmental pollutants on a daily basis, more than ever before in history, and all this pollution takes a toll on our health.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that 87,000 new chemicals are being produced every year. Without a periodic program of detoxification, it’s almost impossible to keep the body in a state of health and balance.
Can you imagine what would happen to your car if you never changed the oil or filters? Your body, like your car, needs periodic cleaning.
Substances that are not broken down and excreted generally are stored in the intestines, gallbladder, kidneys, liver, lymph, fat cells and skin. The colon, which is designed to eliminate solid waste, can become sluggish and build up putrefaction.
The liver can become congested and unable to filter the blood properly. Impaired liver function also reduces fat metabolism and fat burning, one of its main functions, leading to weight gain.
The kidneys can become overwhelmed in their attempt to excrete toxic-laden urea. As a result, our systems are unable to function properly, nutrients are not absorbed well, and poisons are reabsorbed into our bloodstream.
Toxins often are stored in fat cells. They collect in other tissues and spaces between the cells, and they clog our lymphatic system. If the lymph isn’t moving waste out of our bodies efficiently, we can feel sick.
All this waste and toxic buildup eventually affects our energy, mood, sleep, skin, mental clarity and immune function. We may feel sick, tired and depressed.
When we get rid of the build-up of toxicity, we slow the aging process and promote wellness. In my book “The Wrinkle Cleanse,” I cite the work of Alex Carrel, M.D., who won a Nobel Prize in 1912 for his work on the immortality of the cell. Dr. Carrel experimented with various tissues and organs, keeping them alive in laboratory experiments often for years with pure nutrients and cleansing away wastes.
Carrel’s research indicated that aging takes place because minute amounts of poisonous substances build up in the blood and fluids throughout the body, disrupting balance at the cellular level.
Cleansing key organs
There are five primary organs of elimination: the intestines, liver, kidneys, lungs and skin. Additionally, there are three supporting channels: the gallbladder, lymphatic system and blood.
A thorough cleansing of the intestinal tract is a great way to boost your energy and vitality and overcome some common symptoms of poor digestive health such as constipation, acid reflux, stomach pain, irritable bowel syndrome, Candida albicans, gas, bloating, protruding belly, headaches and low energy.
And, if you want to lose weight as effectively as possible, it’s crucial to cleanse the colon in order to create an environment for successful weight loss.
When you detoxify your liver, it should give a big sigh of relief and go on about its job of detoxifying, regulating metabolism, and burning fat. When the liver is functioning well, you’ll feel and look better.
Weight loss should be greatly facilitated and occur naturally, without excessive effort. Cholesterol numbers should normalize and hormones should be balanced. You’ll also prevent sickness and disease because your immune system will function more efficiently.
When you cleanse the liver, you’ll also cleanse the gallbladder — the two are connected. Most liver detoxification programs accomplish both. As the gallbladder is cleansed, digestion usually improves and you should prevent gallstones from forming.
When you get rid of kidney congestion, problems such as burning or pain during urination, dark circles under the eyes, frequent urination (especially at night), incontinence, and pain in the eyes should subside.
What to expect when you cleanse
Be aware that as toxins are released, your symptoms may worsen for a short time or you may experience some adverse reactions such as headaches, flu or cold-type symptoms, rashes, skin eruptions or diarrhea. Such reactions are known as the Herxheimer Reaction.
Hang in there. Symptoms should pass rather quickly.
The last two times I completed a liver cleanse, I experienced cold symptoms immediately afterward. Though they lasted a number of days each time, it actually felt positive — like my body was cleansing. Each time, sinus problems cleared up when the cold symptoms subsided.
Benefits of detoxification
A detox program offers paybacks that nothing else can match. The benefits often are so astounding that it makes the discipline and effort worthwhile. You’ll not only feel stronger and more energetic as a result, you’ll discover the key to longevity.
You’ll appear younger and more vibrant. You may look in the mirror one day and see fewer wrinkles, softer skin, or notice that dark circles or puffiness under your eyes are gone. Your skin will develop an underlying glow. Your hair will shine more and grow healthier and your nails will become stronger. But that’s just the start of the rewards you’ll reap.
You should gain greater mental clarity. “I can think straight again!” one client exclaimed. For most people, there’s also a new sense of well-being. One friend said she reported to her doctor that she could never remember having a sense of well-being. His answer was to prescribe an antidepressant drug, which she refused. When she began juicing, detoxing and eating a whole food diet, she reported back in a few weeks that she finally had gained the sense of well-being she only had read about.
When you give your body a rest from digesting excess food and additives, and remove toxins, it’s able to step up the healing process — rebuilding, repairing, eliminating waste, and strengthening organs and systems, which help you prevent illness or heal from illness or disease. You won’t be subject to every cold and flu that circulates, and your body can mend injuries or recover from ailments that may have plagued you for years.
I’ve received countless testimonies from people who have completely healed their bodies by using a detoxification program. One lady cleared up liver problems in one week with the seven-day liver cleanse from Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life.
Detoxing also helps us lose weight. Vast amounts of toxic and carcinogenic substances found in our environment are stored in fat cells. Because the body uses fat to hold toxins, thereby protecting delicate tissues and organs, we often find it hard to lose weight. The body even will make fat cells to store toxins when needed.
Ironically, fat is our friend when we have toxic stuff in our body. Fat protects us from all the acidic and toxic waste that endangers our health. But when we juice vegetables, which are very alkaline and cleansing, and embark on a detox program thereby removing toxins, we no longer need this protection, so the body can let go of the extra fat. During cleansing, we may notice that our clothes fit better and we feel lighter and happier. Fat just seems to melt away.
There are many ways toxins can accumulate in our bodies. It is the toxicity within that traps many people in a place of “dis-ease.” As you detoxify your organs and systems of elimination, you will feel lighter and healthier — perhaps better than you have in years.
Cleansing will give you longevity, energy and happiness. Your reward will be abundant health each and every day.
Cherie Calbom, M.S., is the author of 16 books including the best-sellers, “The Coconut Diet,” “Juicing for Life,” and “The Wrinkle Cleanse.” Her most recent book is “Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life” (Hachette, 2008). Cherie earned a master’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University, where she now serves on the board of regents. For more information, see juicebookinfo.com.