Thursday, January 17, 2013

Detoxing: Flushing or Just Flushing Your Money?

After I was born, my mom found several lumps in her breast.  She went in, got a mamogram, and they wanted to take action.  She was scared, had no insurance, and decided to see what she could do on her own.

She did the classic "Master Cleanse" with lemon juice, cayenne, and maple syrup.  After the 21-28 days (she doesn't remember exactly), the lumps disolved and went away.  She's never found another lump.  I grew up drinking this concoction (often with apple cider vinegar- always with the mother- added) any time I was sick (which was fairly rare compared to my classmates).  In my family, that's just what you did when you were sick.  You also thought positively, although that's not the way it was described.  My mom would say, "You are not really sick, you just feel sick, and telling yourself that you feel sick is only making it worse.  You just need to stop telling yourself you are sick and feeling sick."  It's no wonder that now I am seeking out a hypnosis certification, or that I spent the last year using various natural rememdies, including hypnosis, to cure myself.  

Anyway, because of my mom's experience with her lumps, I've always figured there must be something to this cleanse, but at the same time I have never tried one.  I've always appreciated the healing properties of lemon, cayenne, maple syrup, and ACV, but haven't felt the need to live exclusively off these things.  In my house, that's what you drink when you are sick, and we call it the cure.  I've added my own touch over time, sometimes including some grapefruit seed extract, or now that I've started using doTERRA essential oils, which can be taken internally, adding a drop or two of On Guard or Oregano as needed.  I appreciate these healing properties, but still question a cleanse.

A wise wise friend who is also an herbalist gave me her take on cleansing.  She said that we are constantly rebuilding our cells and replenishing our body.  Rather than take away all but a few specific things, she recommends adding nurishing foods and supplements to your diet in order to rebuild the best you, and that your body will naturally release toxins as it always does.  This resonates with me.

On the other hand, I've read compelling arguments that certain foods/supplements encourage flushing of toxins.  When I was told that I had nickle poisoning in my heart, I took chlorella tablets because I read that they would help with detoxifying heavy metals.  I also ate a paste that included lots of cilantro, which is also said to be a strong heavy metal detoxifier.  TMI, but I definitely cleaned out my system, and in a healthy way, using these supplements.  Does that mean that my organs and cells released toxins, or just that my colon was cleared of all that had just been hanging around?  That I don't know.  Plus, that was a detoxification regimen, but I didn't cleanse.

I ordered an eBook on juice cleansing that works on the premise that when your body is not expelling energy on digestion, it can work on healing.  This logic has some interest to me, and the author of the program seems very informative and well-researched.  However, as far as research goes, I recently read on The Vegan RD's facebook page that there has never been a professional study that proves that juice fasting actually produces a "detox" or even beneficial result.  

Sometimes I think that when I finish breast feeding (after 3 1/2 years I feel like there must be an end in sight... somewhere out there), I'll maybe do a juice fast, or a green smoothie feast, or the Master Cleanse.  Honestly, the Master Cleanse is the one that appeals most to me.  Other times I worry because ever since going through a struggle with self-starvation in high school, my body doesn't react well to limiting my calories.  The benefit of the Master Cleanse is that you get adequite calories from the maple syrup.  

For now, I'm listening to my own intuition, and eating a plant based diet helps me personally to get in tune with what my body needs.  I believe that we know how to heal ourselves, we just usually don't know how to listen.  

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