Thursday, August 26, 2010

Suggestions for Cleansing and Detoxing Our Bodies

Fall is a particularly good time to pay attention to cleansing the body. Detoxification means cleaning the blood. It does this mainly by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. The body has its own natural healing system. Detoxification enhances this system.

Everyone should detox at least once a year. A short detoxifying program is generally safe; in fact, scientific studies show that a detox is beneficial for health. However, nursing mothers, children, and patients with chronic degenerative diseases, cancer or tuberculosis should not detox. Consult your health care practitioner if you have questions about whether detoxing is right for you.

OK, so I went to my sister’s chiropractic clinic and had a test done that shows how well your body systems are working. I thought I was pretty healthy—eating fruits and veggies, running, getting enough sleep. You can imagine my surprise to find that my oxidation and inflammation levels were off. Lots of toxins not being eliminated from my body. (Health experts believe that the toxins build up is the source of a broad range of diseases ranging from heart diseases to more serious illnesses like cancer.) My dad has a horrible history of heart disease in his family and has undergone heart surgeries and procedures. Not wanting to follow in his footsteps and not wanting to keep the risk of cancer up, I decided (on the advice of my chiropractor daughter and sister) to start a detox/cleanse program that lasts 25 days.

Now there are countless ways to cleanse, but here is just a sampling of ideas to consider:
1) Digestive Cleansing
This is one of the most comprehensive ways to rid our body of toxins in our digestive track. Digestive cleanses may involve fasting, juicing, cayenne pepper, enemas and/or colonics. These are intended to assist the body in the process of elimination of all the “bad” things we’ve ingested over the years. Often you’ll feel more “clear-headed”, lighter, more aware, less fatigued, energized. (I am on a sugar-free,dairy-free,gluten-free diet with some other restrictions. I am also taking a medical food.)

2) Skin Brushing / Dry Brush
Brushing your skin with a dry body brush is one of the best ways to clean your skin. It may feel kind of odd but it is very effective. Skin brushing removes old skin cells, stimulates the lymph system and draws out toxins through the skin.


Give your body fresh air, exercise your internal organs and detoxify your entire system by taking deep breaths .A breathing practice, with breath retention, and focused on expelling all the air out of the lungs helps invigorate and cleanse the lungs.

4) Detox Bath
Use a combination of epsom salt, sea salt and baking soda to help pull out toxins from the skin (another great way to eliminate toxins).

5) Water Flush

Most of us know that it’s important to stay hydrated and drink lots of water. Drink at least 2 quarts of water daily. (This is very hard for me. I’m just not a water drinker. However, on this cleanse I have felt a little thirstier so I’ve been really trying to drink more water.)

It’s a good idea to detox stressful life situations along with detoxifying your body. Yoga and meditation are simple and effective ways to relieve stress

7) Exercise
What is the most important way to detoxify? Exercise! Even if you don’t have enough time for a full workout, stretch a little throughout the day to keep your blood flowing and your body flexible.

8) Food
Organic foods actually promote good feng shui and good energy, so make sure your kitchen is stocked with organic vegetables and grains. Add lemons to your diet. Lemon is renowned for its detoxifying properties. It is also a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C. To prepare hot lemon water simply add one slice of fresh lemon to a mug of hot water. This should be drunk first thing in the morning, before breakfast, to kick-start' the liver (the body's central detoxifying organ) into action.

Today is Day 12 for me. At first I felt kind of sorry for myself because I couldn’t have the foods & treats I was used to. Then came the day I was invited to see the new MN Twins Stadium and watch a game. No hot dogs, beer, peanuts, popcorn for me. So…I asked the concessioners what kind of oil they fried their potatoes in (canola) and realized I could have French fries! (although they just don’t taste the same not slathered in ketchup!) I know I can’t have them every day but it was kind of fun to find one food I could eat there.

I have changed my grocery shopping and my cooking. It’s kind of fun to see what new foods I can eat (quinoa—I never knew what that was!) and to find some new recipes. It has been a challenge to find things like a gluten-free bread that tastes good or to get used to putting apple butter on my rice cake. I’m half-way through and have to admit I am looking forward to being done. But I do know that I WILL change my eating habits when I’m done with the cleanse. (but I don’t think I’m giving up dark chocolate!)

Have you ever done a cleanse/detox? Any tips or recipes to share? I’d love to have some new ones…

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Gluten Free Sourdough Baker said...

HI Carol,
Excellent blog! I have been skin brushing for a few years, did a very slow detox, breathe deeply every time I think of it, exercise in fresh air, drink water and eat organic food. It's helped bring me back from a decade and a half of ill health.

Gluten, dairy, egg and soy were the hidden culprits along with over use of antibiotics. Now that those are out of my life, I actually feel healthy again.
I wish you well with your journey back to good health.

If you are inclined to try baking your own bread at some time I have developed gluten-free sourdough bread techniques and recipes that use only pure food ingredients, no chemical leaveners, no gums, no fancy machines. The breads have great taste, texture and shelf life!

You can download my free starter recipe here:

Again, thanks for your blog and heartfelt sharing,

Carol said...

Thanks Sharon. I will be sure to check out your recipe for the gluten-free bread. I'm always on the look out for recipes to help me during this cleanse and beyond!

Katherine Josh said...

i've been drinking bird nest soup every night (i only get the homemade kind back at home). the only reason why i drink it is because it's supposed to be good for complexion.

i’ve been taking the store-bought kind online (e.g. of famous branded only of course) which is directly mailed from Hong Kong. this would be at a more affordable price.

Carol said...

Hi Katherine,
I am not familiar with bird's nest soup at all. I'll have to research that!


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