“[Detoxification] is the process of cleansing and alkalizing the body. The removing of obstructions (eg. acids, mucus, parasites, chemicals, minerals, metals, thoughts and emotions) that block energy and the proper function of cells and the individual. A necessary requirement in returning to vibrant health”
– Dr. Robert Morse, N.D.
WHAT WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND FIRST BEFORE GETTING INTO THE WAY OUR BODIES DETOXIFY IS A BIT OF BIOLOGY 101. BEAR WITH ME HERE.
First and foremost, what we need to realize is that the human body is just made up of a bunch of cells. More or less, a hundred trillion of them. If we look at the heart, we are just looking at cells. If we look at the ovaries, or the prostate, or any muscle, or any bone, or the brain or the skin – we are just looking at a bunch of cells. They run the entire show. Everything you experience in the human body is because of cells.
But if we look further inside the body to see what else is in there, we will also find that there are fluids that flow around the cells. This fluid is called interstitial fluid. We would also find bacteria. Bacteria that are essential to our health.
Think of a septic tank. Every septic tank has bacteria in it, right? And what would happen if we killed that bacteria or if we got rid of it? Bad news, right? Well, same goes for the body.
So, that’s it. The body is comprised of about a hundred trillion cells and two major fluids. The role of those fluids is to take care of the health of the cells.
CONSUMPTION & ELIMINATION – THE KITCHEN AND BATHROOM OF OUR BODIES
Dr. Morse, my mentor and teacher, always says to look at the body as if it were a house. If you think of a typical house, usually, it will have a kitchen and a bathroom. We go to the kitchen to eat and then we go to the bathroom to eliminate. Well, the body works in a very similar way. The “kitchen” in our body is any organ or system that feeds the cells. Basically, the digestive, absorption and utilization processes act as the kitchen – because this is where our cells grab nutrition from. It’s where they go to eat and nourish themselves. The mouth, the stomach, the intestines, the pancreas, the circulatory system and the blood – these act as our body’s kitchen. This is where the processes above, digestive, absorption, and utilization takes place.
The “bathroom” part of our body’s house are all the eliminatory systems – the lymphatic system, lymph fluid, the kidneys, the skin and of course, the bowels. Our cells are alive and as any living thing does, they too need to eliminate waste, just as we do and just as animals do. And that waste, if not eliminated properly from our body, will cause damage and that is where and how disease and illness begin.
Now going back to our cells, every single one of them has its own function. The cells in your liver have a set of functions or tasks, the cells in your bones will have a different set of functions, the cells in your mouth or your eyes or heart – each one has its own specialized function. And as we just discussed, these cells, as they go about their business they will collect waste, by-products of their work and those by-products need to be eliminated from the body. And again, if you think of it in the context of ourselves, as humans; we eat, we go to the bathroom and then we eliminate our wastes. When we flush the toilet, that waste is taken down through pipes to a septic system – this is the process of elimination. Cellular waste functions in the same way – the waste that our cells eliminate are taken down drain pipes as well – known as the lymphatic fluid and vessels. The lymphatic vessels are the pathways/veins of the lymphatic system and they take the waste from our cells, down various channels, and to the septic tank. The septic tank of our bodies are the lymph nodes – they work in a similar manner to a septic tank as they both are heavily populated with bacteria. The septic tank in our bodies is comprised of the lymph fluid, lymph vessels, lymph nodes, the spleen and the thymus gland.
OUR SEPTIC TANK
The lymph fluid flows from the cells to the blood supply via the lymph vessels. It acts as the water would in an actual septic tank, carrying wastes from the toilet to the septic system.
Lymph fluid removes approximately 10% of the total fluid that is supplied by the blood system to our cells and it carries a mixture of substances that need to be removed from the cells. But unlike the blood vessels, the lymph vessels don’t have a heart to pump the fluids through, so it must do this via muscle contraction, exercise, movement, and smooth muscle stimulation.
So if you had low blood pressure, or a lack exercise, or have a sedentary lifestyle, or if your bowels are congested or your kidneys not filtering, and even your skin can all cause your lymphatic system to back up. This is why exercise and a healthy lifestyle are so important.
In addition to this, eating too much animal proteins, too many acidic foods (dairy, meats, processed foods), mucus-forming foods (dairy, refined sugars) these will also all take a toll on your lymph system and cause congestion and stagnation.
“When the quality of the food coming into the body is of higher quality than the tissues which the body is made of, the body begins to discard the lower grade materials and tissues to make room for the superior materials which it uses to make new and healthier tissue.”
Stanley Bass, N.D.
Once our bodies are congested, stagnant with unmoving lymph and cellular waste, the bodies response will vary, but toxicity will set in and illness and disease will ensue. And this becomes the breeding ground for much more serious conditions like cancers or other diseases. When these fluids can’t be excreted or eliminated via the eliminatory channels or organs like the liver, spleen, tonsils or appendix – the body will essentially revolt. It’s important to remember, however, that the body isn’t attacking you when it does this. The body is a self-correcting organism, it knows how to self-heal and rid itself of invaders and disease, but it can only do so if it has the right internal environment to do so.
Within the body’s amazing organism, we have thousands of little septic tanks throughout our body- our lymph nodes, for example, are used to filter, neutralize, bond to and destroy toxins in the body. So when these little important and overlooked nodes become too invaded with toxins, parasites, mucus, metabolic wastes – they will become enlarged and swollen. Have you ever had swollen tonsils? This is a perfect example of your body doing exactly what it needs to in order to rid itself of toxicity- and instead of finding the real cause and getting to the root of the symptom – modern medicine justs cuts one of our main eliminatory organs out as a solution! Whoops! I’ll come back to how problematic that is in another post another time.
So let me summarize here; we are made up of a bunch of cells. These cells run the show and they eat and poop just like we do. Our bodies have a kitchen and a bathroom just like our houses do. And when we eat badly, when we consume mucus forming or acidic foods like animal proteins and dairy products, when we have a lack of exercise and movement – this all contributes to the contamination and detriment of our body’s health. Our cells then become contaminated and when they are unable to eliminate the waste they/we have accumulated due to our bad dietary habits, the lymphatic system will respond and this manifests within us as disease and illness- and once again this happens because the lymph fluid is stagnant and congested and is unable to eliminate the waste. Our body, as mentioned above, has various eliminatory channels but amongst them, the kidneys, are our main filtration systems. But not just our two kidneys, we have three. Yup, three. Our skin is considered the body’s third kidney. It is through these organs that the sewage system functions properly. So when the sewage is backed up in the kidneys, it will be backed up throughout the body right back down into the magnificent cell.
“If we could keep the lymphatic system working properly, we would not have any pain in our body, neither would we have sickness and neither would we have premature death caused from unhealthy conditions in our body; it wouldn’t happen.”
– Dr. C. Samuel West, D.N., N.D
UFF. OK! WE’RE THROUGH THE THICK OF IT! I JUST WANTED TO GIVE YOU A LITTLE BACKGROUND – WE DETOXIFY THE BODY IN ORDER TO HEAL IT AND RID IT OF “DISEASE”, BUT IT’S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND WHY AND HOW WE GOT SICK IN THE FIRST PLACE.
NOW TO THE GOOD STUFF.
So on to how and why we detox. Detoxification is the only way to heal the body of disease and illness. Allopathic medicine, a.k.a today’s mainstream medicine, does not work in healing disease, it is in the business of treating it by covering up and suppressing its symptoms with prescription medications.
“Every drug increases and complicates the patient’s condition.”
-Robert Henderson, M.D. Johns Hopkins Medicine
The goal, first and foremost, of detoxification, is to clear the body of toxins and over-acidity, it does this by cleansing and alkalizing the body. Detoxification considers the body as a whole, it does not look at one symptom or one organ – the body is a complex intertwined mechanism of cells and systems that perform millions of functions to keep us alive. However, that being said, in order to cleanse the body and rid it of any acidosis present- we must help the lymphatic system and kidneys eliminate properly. These are the main areas of focus because if the kidneys are unable to drain acidic waste, and if our lymphatic system is stagnant and unable to move lymph – we will get sick, disease will develop and our health will deteriorate.
Detoxification and the path to removing acids in the body will be different for each person. We all have genetic predispositions, different lifestyle factors, environmental factors, stressors and emotional factors as well as dietary backgrounds. All of these contribute to our health. But I will outline some broad guidelines and typical questions and answers below that will pertain to most, depending on the severity of the condition and state of health each person is dealing with.
How does one begin the process of detoxification?
It starts with improving your diet. As I mentioned above, food can either be our best medicine or it can be the cause of our decline. In order to start the process of detox, you must discontinue all high-protein animal flesh and dairy products. These are the most acid-producing, mucus-forming foods. You will need to start incorporating fruits, melons, berries as much as possible into your daily eating regimen. Depending on how deep you want to detox, you can also eat some leafy greens and root vegetables (sweet potato, squash etc.), but keep in mind, cooked food slows down detox and healing. Raw foods, in the form of fruits, melons and berries are the best foods to consume for detoxing at a cellular level.
This sounds like a lot of sugar! Isn’t eating that much fruit bad for you?
It would be if we were talking about eating white sugar, refined sugars, processed sugars or even complex sugars such as pasta and bread. These sugars feed the bad bacteria in the body. Fruit sugar, otherwise known as simple sugars or monosaccharides are the primary source of fuel and are completely vital for our body to be able to get the energy it needs to function. Every activity that we do ie. running, walking, sports as well as every activity within us that our cells do, ie. transporting nutrients via our bloodstream to our cells, all require energy – and the best source of fuel for our body is raw fruits and vegetables. Foods that are high in protein or are complex and hard for the body to break down actually rob the body of energy, create acidosis and elevate blood sugars. Simple sugars, fruit sugars, aid the body in alkalizing the tissue which is vital for regeneration of tissue and cell health.
What can I expect when I start to detox?
When we detox, remember, that we are ridding the body of toxins and acids. This waste is often sitting deep within us, within our cells, arteries and organs, so sometimes we do experience symptoms of getting sick, much like the flu or a cold. This is called a healing crisis, our bodies must go through this in order to cleanse itself, but it is a good thing, welcome it, there is no need to be scared of it, it is just the body’s natural process of eliminating the acids and toxins, when it is finally allowed to do so. The symptoms will pass and are often felt usually within the first few days. Some of the reactions you could experience are:
- Cold/flu symptoms
- Increased flatulence
- Skin eruptions
- Feeling weak
- Aches and pains in muscles
- Edema (water retention)
- Frequent urination
- Cold hands and feet
- Sore throat
- Itchy skin and scalp
How long does a detox take?
This depends on a few things. It will depend on how long you have eaten a poor diet and your lifestyle choices in the past. If you are ill now, wanting to reverse an illness/disease, it will depend on how far along your “conditions” are. Have you used antibiotics for much of your life, steroid creams or medications? Do you drink caffeine or do you smoke? What is your emotional and physical life like? Have you eaten dairy and animal flesh your whole life? Or have you been eating a pretty clean diet for most of your life? All of these factors need to be considered and the process of detoxification will vary from person to person depending on each of them. Some people detox for a few months, others for years. Think of detoxing as peeling back the layers of an onion. Each layer gets you closer to alkalizing, detoxifying and regenerating your cells and your health. It is a process and for many, like myself, it becomes part of your lifestyle and something that you welcome.
This is sounding intense! Are there any benefits to detoxing the body?
Of course! There are so many!! Here’s just a few:
- Skin conditions clear up (bye-bye acne, bye-bye eczema)
- Illness and disease can be reversed
- Grey hair could return to natural colour
- Periods less heavy and less painful
- Rids body of candida overgrowth
- Bowel movements normalize
- Memory improves
- Clarity and focus improve
- Increased energy
- Improved sense of overall well being
- Blood sugar conditions normalize
- Symptoms disappear
- Weight loss or gain – depending on where you are at, your weight will normalize
- Increased circulation
- Senses improve- eyesight, sense of smell, taste all increase
- Blood pressure normalizes
Is it expensive?
Detoxing the body is definitely an investment, especially when wanting to reverse disease. It can get pricey when you don’t have access to a variety of fresh fruits and the herbs needed to aid the cleansing process can also add to the cost. But there are ways around this. The first step to healing the body, above all else, is changing your diet. This means a transition to at least 80% raw foods and fruits. If you are not reversing a serious illness or disease, it is possible to detox and maintain healing without going 100%. Once this has been maintained, then you can start to add the herbal formulas little by little. Herbs are key to strengthening and regenerating the kidneys and adrenal glands. I, myself, make my own and this cuts cost down considerably. One bottle of a store-bought formula could be anywhere from $15-30 USD. Doing it yourself or having a trusted practitioner do it for you, cuts this in half. If you are unable to purchase these initially, I would suggest doing a grape fast or lemonade fast for a few days as this will increase the detoxification process. I try to look at it like this; you either a little bit extra now on good quality fruits and veggies (things that are actually going to improve your health) or you pay later, with your health, on healthcare from the doctors and specialist visits and medications. It’s a clear choice for me.
Keep in mind, depending on what we are wanting to work on and how deep you want to go, you may just be transitioning to just a 100% plant-based diet and slowly incorporating more fruit and raw foods into your life. It is not necessary to go 100% raw to cleanse the body, it is just the quickest and most powerful way to do so, but if you are coming from a standard Western diet (or SAD-Standard American Diet as it’s more commonly referred to), going plant-based alone will be a game changer. And this alone will change costs too. But don’t worry too much about this, there are always inexpensive ways to eat better.
Can I do it while I’m working a full-time job?
This will depend on the kind of work you do. I generally tell my clients to start on a long weekend if they can as detox symptoms can occur within the first three to four days, generally, these first few days are the hardest. So if you can start on a weekend or long weekend where you can allow the body to rest, this would be ideal. I have worked a 9-5 job while detoxing and sometimes it has been a struggle, at times I was battling headaches and the chills, a sense of malaise and feeling fluey, but other times, I was fine during the day and able to pull through and just rest easy in the evening and this was sufficient. It will depend of course, on the type of work you are doing as well and where you are at with your diet prior. Those coming from eating a typical SAD (standard American diet) straight to detoxing will feel it much more than someone that has been eating a clean, plant-based diet. Physical activity is also best avoided for the first few days.