Also commonly known as “cleansing,” the term detoxification refers to the active process of pushing out perceived contaminants from the body. Detox is an active, external force imposed on the body to drive out impurities. For example, a person may choose to “detox,” or do a cleanse, after a period of excess indulgence in food and alcohol, or after a perceived toxic exposure. Alternatively, it is common for many people to do a spring cleanse, the health equivalent of spring cleaning of your house.
Generally, the process involves cleaning up the diet and taking supplements to support the liver and other organs of elimination. Often, the suggested regimen for a cleanse targets the liver, a major organ of detoxification in the body. While the liver may need support, the recommendations may be inappropriate for some people. We encourage you to discuss any plans for detoxification or cleansing with your naturopathic physician, and follow a plan that is right for you.
veggiesAt Bambú Clinic, we understand that detoxification does not happen in a vacuum. In addition to removing impurities, the body requires help restoring proper physiology including processing and filtering of toxins. When the removal of wastes occurs as a natural result of optimized function, this passive process perpetuates ongoing health and an active detox becomes less crucial. Instead of treating the body as contaminated, we recognize that, in chronic illness, it may have difficulty removing toxins efficiently enough to feel its best. Our physicians will guide you in optimizing your body’s primary routes of elimination. We encourage healthy dietary and lifestyle choices, so that “detox” is happening all year round.
Rest on all levels
In a typical detox, a patient eats less or no food. The simplified dietary routine results in a “vacation” for the day-to-day physiological process of digestion. And, physicians who promote cleansing believe that this short “physiological rest” acts like a reset button for other ailing body systems. But, the body can, and needs to, rest in other ways as well, physical and mental.
At Bambú Clinic, we recommend that if you embark on a traditional detox that you also take these other aspects of cleansing into account. In other words, to get the most benefit from a short break in your regular eating routine, we believe that you should also rest physically and pause mentally to reflect. And, if you are unable to do all three simultaneously, your detox may actually increase rather than decrease the stress on your system.
Physical rest includes demanding less of your body’s strength and endurance each day of the detox. If you are a runner, walk. If you are a weight lifter, do fewer reps with lighter weights. And, mental rest means finding time to meditate, breathe, focus, and slow down. This mindfulness approach will allow the deeper benefits of the cleanse to diffuse throughout your system and psyche.
A cleanse should be a time of rest on all levels. Pick a time when you will not have excess demands on your time and will not be traveling. Schedule rest into your cleanse days – whether it be meditation, time to take a slow walk in nature, or time to lie down and nap. Rest yourself mentally as well – let your mind take a break. You do not necessarily have to take days off of work, though that would be helpful, but at least try to schedule your cleanse during a period of time that will not require massive energy expense. The goal of a cleanse is to rest the body and mind. Eat enough during this time to not feel depleted, as depletion leads to a fasting state in which the body will be more likely to retain any excess in reserve rather than to freely eliminate.
Want to try a simple cleanse? If you are eliminating properly, we recommend the following simple plan, for a period of 3-7 days. Please consult your naturopathic physician before beginning a cleanse program.
Eating plan: 3 meals per day.
Vegetables: Steamed and raw non-starchy vegetables such as greens, onions, garlic, kale, collards, nettles (must be cooked), asparagus, parsley, cilantro, etc.
Ground seeds (raw): at least 2 Tbsp per day, according to your seed rotation.
Protein: as you feel it is needed, organic poultry, fish, protein powders such as rice or hemp. Eat as much protein as you need to feel satisfied.
Fresh vegetable juices: if you have a juicer or access to a local juice bar, fresh vegetable juices can be a great addition to your cleanse. 1-2 cups a day of any combination: cucumber, celery, apple, carrot, ginger, cilantro, parsley, and lemon.
Condiments: lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, herbs and spices.
Cleanse-Friendly Cilantro Pesto:
Cilantro is rich in vitamins and minerals and helps the body to eliminate heavy metals. Use this pesto as a condiment during your cleanse – it tastes great on veggies, meta, or fish.
- 2 large bunches cilantro leaves, washed, stems removed
- 6 Tablespoons raw sunflower seeds or blanched almonds
- 2 Tablespoons Brewer’s yeast
- 6 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 – 1/2 sea salt, to taste
- water as desired
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Adjust seasonings as you desire – you may add more lemon juice or more salt as needed. This can be thinned into a sauce with the addition of water – add one teaspoon at a time and blend until the desired thickness is achieved. Serve over raw or steamed veggies.
Want to hear more about detox? Join Dr. Karon-Flores for her Health, Wealth and Wisdom lecture on Thursday May 20th at 6:30 PM. For more information, click here. You may also register for this presentation by contacting Dr. Karon-Flores at Bambu Clinic.