The Beginner's Guide to Natural Living
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Detoxification
Cleanse Yourself of Toxins

All of us take in minute amounts of poison every day. Much of the food we eat contains pesticides, herbicides, dyes, preservatives, flavorings, stabilizers, processing chemicals, artificial growth hormones, antibiotics and even tranquilizers (found in meat). On top of that, most conventionally packaged foods have been over-processed and therefore devitalized of innate nutritional value. When the body is overloaded with these poisons, the detoxifying organs, such as the liver, kidney and skin, are compromised. When this happens, the immune system is weakened, other systems don’t function properly, and disease can occur. To prevent disease from gaining a foothold in your body, it is important to stop taking in toxins (discussed in Chapter 2) and remove those already stored in your body (called detoxification).

The Importance of Detoxification
If you truly want vibrant health, you can’t neglect this step! If you are in poor health, have a medical condition or are taking prescription drugs, I strongly recommend that you visit a naturopathic doctor (discussed in Chapter 10) and request guidance on a detoxification program. Following the guidelines I outline in this chapter will be very beneficial, but a naturopathic doctor will be able to determine your toxicity level and the best methods for removing the toxins. Also, “detoxing” too quickly can flood your system and cause a “healing crisis.” Slow down if you start having symptoms and, again, consider getting some professional guidance.

Colon Cleanse
Cleaning out your colon (large intestine) is one of the most important things you can do to achieve vibrant health. It’s not something I thought much about until I read Cleanse & Purify Thyself, by Dr. Richard Anderson, a book I highly recommend. What I learned is that the colon becomes quite clogged after years of poor eating. Once the buildup occurs, disease is almost sure to manifest.

According to Dr. Anderson, when we eat poorly on a continual basis (or the wrong foods on an occasional basis), the intestines react by secreting a protective mucoid layer to prevent the absorption of toxins. This protective mechanism was designed for the occasional ingestion of bad or rotten food, not for the daily abuse that the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) places on our digestive system. When we eat incorrectly on occasion, the pancreatic juices will strip the mucoid layer off within a few days; but a daily barrage of over-processed and chemically laden foods creates a buildup of the stuff (called fecal mucoid matter), and that causes problems.


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After years of eating a poor diet we will accumulate this mucoid matter (which often causes a bulging of the gut). As a result, food moves more slowly through the intestines, nutrients aren’t well absorbed, moisture is decreased, worms and parasites colonize, unfriendly bacteria thrive, free radicals are formed, toxins can’t be properly eliminated, and then various diseases of the intestine may appear. Fecal mucoid matter buildup results in fermentation, putrification (rotting) and stagnant pus pockets filled with various poisons and harmful bacteria (hence the foul smells when gas is passed). Or, disease can manifest anywhere in the body because, as Dr. Bernard Jensen says, “every tissue of the body is fed by the blood, which is supplied by the bowel. When the bowel is dirty, the blood is dirty, and so on to the organs and tissues. It is the bowel that invariably has to be cared for before any effective healing can take place.”[i] (Italics mine.)

One major problem with a dirty colon is that it is an excellent breeding ground for parasites, worms and unfriendly bacteria. When the colon is a cesspool of these organisms, they steal our valuable nutrients and live off them. Some worms get lodged into the fecal mucoid matter so deeply that even strong herbs won’t kill them. Some people have done cleanses and found worms from one to 20 feet long. Yuck!

Disease almost always originates in the colon, because when it is overloaded with toxins on a regular basis, those toxins seep into the bloodstream and lymph, eventually settling into weaker areas of the body. The body deliberately stores toxins in fat cells for safekeeping, but when too much builds up in one area, cancer or other serious diseases can develop. The name of the disease depends upon where the poisons settle. In women, one of the largest areas of fat is found in breast tissue—this is why breast cancer is so prevalent. If you understand this one concept—that most disease originates from a dirty colon (and wrong diet)—you’ll understand more about the cause of degenerative disease than most of the western medical community (which advocates drugs to manage such symptoms, and surgery to cut out affected parts).

When I did my first colon cleanse in 1996, I followed a program based on the suggestions of Dr. Richard Anderson (which I’ll share in a moment) for three days, and all kinds of interesting things came out. I knew the program was working when very foul smelling stuff came out, because that is the deeply lodged matter in the intestines that normally just sits there and rots. I was surprised, but at the same time delighted, because I knew I was ridding my body of toxins and parasites that weren’t doing me any good. After the three days of cleansing, I felt lighter, more energetic, peaceful and centered. The most amazing thing was that I had no idea how “heavy with energy” I was until after the cleanse. Getting rid of that poison was awesome! I now “colon cleanse” on a regular basis.

Cleansing your colon isn’t that difficult, but it does require some effort. I’ll give a quick overview of the basic concepts here, which you can follow and benefit from. As I mentioned, I strongly suggest reading the book Cleanse & Purify Thyself by Dr. Richard Anderson, and acquiring his Arise & Shine program (which includes all the ingredients you’ll need). I’ve modified my program from his, but his is an excellent one to start with.

First I’m going to describe the various components of the cleanse, then I’ll give you a program you can use.

Hydrated Bentonite Clay
Hydrated bentonite is a clay that comes from volcanic ash. It is often used as a thickener in facial masks because it absorbs excess oil and dirt from the skin. Internal use of volcanic ash goes back to the indigenous peoples of the high Andes Mountains, tribes in Central Africa, and the Aborigines of Australia. When taken internally, it acts like a sponge to bind and eliminate non-nutritive and harmful substances from the colon. It can absorb 180 times or more its own weight of these toxins. Hydrated bentonite is made by suspending microfine, USP-grade bentonite clay in purified water. Bentonite is usually taken with psyllium husk powder.

Mix two tablespoons of the clay with four ounces of water and four ounces of fresh apple juice. Within five minutes of drinking the bentonite “shake,” drink a psyllium shake (below).

Psyllium Husk Powder
Psyllium husk powder swells 40 to 60 times its weight when liquid is added. The psyllium binds to the fecal matter as it moves through the intestinal tract—swelling as it absorbs water and waste material in the bowels. This forms a soft, bulky mass that passes through the colon more quickly (keeping potentially toxic waste from staying in the colon) and evacuates more smoothly and easily. The bentonite clay and the psyllium work together synergistically to quickly and efficiently pull out the toxins and the mucoid matter. Psyllium is not digested in the small intestine, but is partially broken down in the colon, where it acts as a food source for friendly flora.

The best way to take psyllium husk powder is to mix two rounded teaspoons with six ounces of warm soy milk—then drink it fast, as it coagulates quickly!

Herbal Cleansers
Prior to and during a colon cleanse, it is wise to take herbs that break up the fecal matter. The herbs prepare the way for the bentonite and psyllium, ensuring that the mucoid matter is more easily dislodged from the intestinal walls. Various natural product manufacturers sell herbal formulas specifically designed for cleansing. Arise & Shine’s product is called “Chomper.” Nature’s Secret has a blend called “Super Cleanse For Your Colon.” Some of the herbs commonly used in these formulas are: cascara sagrada bark, fennel seed, ginger root, licorice root, plantain, barberry bark, myrrh, golden seal, capscium, red raspberry leaf and lobelia. It’s beyond the scope of this book to describe the benefits of all of these herbs; however, most herbal formulas for colon cleansing will contain the herbs required to break up the fecal mucoid matter and prepare the intestines for the bentonite clay and psyllium husk formula. For the best results, you don’t want to skip this step. (Cascara sagrada is a cathartic laxative; it is the active ingredient in Exlax. Cathartic laxatives should be used with caution, as dependency can develop.)

Minerals & Nutritional Support
During a colon cleanse, you should abstain from solid foods. It is very helpful to take supplements that are nutrient-dense, because bentonite clay not only removes toxins, but also removes minerals that you’ll need to replace. I suggest taking one or two green superfoods such as Klamath Lake algae, chlorella or spirulina (I give a full description of these wonder foods in the Supplements section). You can also take a liquid mineral formula. Arise & Shine makes one that you can order from their Web site, and several varieties are sold in natural foods stores.

Although you won’t be eating solid foods, you can drink freshly pressed vegetable and wheat grass juices. Freshly pressed, organic vegetable juices are packed with vitamins and minerals, help cleanse the intestinal tract and can allay hunger, while fresh wheat grass juice is a natural blood purifier and has an excellent nutritional profile. My favorite juice is a combination of organic carrot, beet, parsley and apple, with a small touch of ginger.

PH Balance
Dr. Richard Anderson suggests you measure the pH (an indicator of acid/alkaline balance) of your saliva to ensure you have enough alkaline minerals in your system to do a colon cleanse; otherwise, doing a cleanse could cause some problems. You can find pH paper at most natural food stores. Don’t eat anything for two hours, then wet a strip of the paper with saliva and hold it next to the accompanying color chart. If the reading is between 6.4 and 7.0, you probably have adequate alkaline minerals to do a cleanse. If it’s below 6.3, you may want to take the above listed supplements for a week, then take the test again.

Enema and/or Colonic
Flushing out the intestinal tract with water is very highly recommended, because this helps move the fecal matter out faster and more thoroughly. Most people cringe at the idea of doing an enema themselves, or at the thought of a colonic, administered by a colon hydrotherapist, but it’s an amazing way to rid the body of unwanted and decaying waste that has been building up in the intestines for years, or even decades. It’s a perfect complement to the herbal formulas, bentonite clay and psyllium powder.

While doing a cleanse, flushing out the intestines once a day is advised. Enemas aren’t really that difficult, but they do take some time getting used to. And once you experience one, you’ll be happy with the results.

You can buy an enema bag at many drugstores. Use cool to room temperature filtered water, if possible, but tap water will do if you don’t have a choice. Fill the bag with water and hang it a few feet above ground level. Lubricate the tip of the anal wand with olive oil. You can lie on your back with legs up, or on your side, pulling the top leg close to you for better flow. Insert the tip, and then gently open the valve to allow the water to flow in.

If you’ve never done this before, it’ll feel different, that’s for sure. Let the water flow in slowly, but with some pressure. Once it starts feeling uncomfortable, stop the water. Move around a bit to see if the water inside the intestines will flow around blockages, easing the pressure. If the pressure doesn’t ease after a moment, or if you feel like you have to “go,” then do so. Repeat this process several times until you can get an entire bag of water into your intestines (this is true for most people, but use your own good judgment!) and then release.

You’ll want to check out what comes out of you. It’s different when you’re doing a colon cleanse than when you’re eating regular food. And if it’s more foul smelling than usual, you know the cleanse is working and that that putrid stuff is finally out of your body!

Not everyone should do an enema or colonic. Check first with your primary care provider to determine if this is the best course of action for you.

Three Day Cleanse
During the cleanse you might feel somewhat “spacey” and ungrounded, so I suggest doing it when you have few responsibilities. This is a time of healing, relaxation and reflection. By the way, I would call this an accelerated cleanse, because for aeons spiritual adepts have fasted on water for days or weeks to purify their bodies in order to gain greater attunement to higher vibrations. The cleanse I present is a type of fast, but it includes components which speed up the elimination of undesirable elements lodged in our bodies that can’t be achieved by fasting on water alone.

There are many ways to do a cleanse. This basic schedule will get you started; as you learn more you can vary it according to your needs. I suggest you begin with seven days of preparation, followed by three days of the actual cleanse (which is when you are taking only juice, herbs, bentonite clay and psyllium husk powder, and doing the optional enema or colonic).

For the first seven days, eat only organic and plant-based foods as much as possible. Drink some fresh carrot/apple/beet juice, along with two ounces of wheat grass juice every day. Take a daily herbal supplement for colon cleansing, as well as the supplements recommended in this book (see the Supplements chapter).

Three days before the main cleanse, replace one of your meals (probably dinner) with the bentonite and psyllium drinks (taken five minutes apart). Do the same thing two days before the cleanse. One day before the cleanse, replace two meals with the bentonite clay and psyllium husk drinks (again, taken five minutes apart).

For three days, follow this schedule (more or less):

9:00 AM   Take herbal & nutritional supplements
11:00 AM  Take bentonite clay / psyllium husk powder drinks
1:00 PM    Take herbal & nutritional supplements
3:00 PM    Take bentonite clay / psyllium husk powder drinks
5:00 PM    Take herbal & nutritional supplements
7:00 PM    Take bentonite clay / psyllium husk powder drinks
9:00 PM    Do an enema (if you are going to a professional, then anytime between shakes is fine)

You can modify this schedule to two instead of three times a day if that seems more appropriate. It’s always best to listen to your body. Remember, this is only a guide—adjust based on how you feel.

If you find you can’t think clearly, brown miso broth can be very grounding. You can make your own broth from fermented “pastes.” (My favorite brand of miso paste is “Miso Master,” found in the refrigerator section at natural foods stores.) If you feel you must eat, try some cooked brown rice, which is also very grounding and has cleansing properties.

The day after the three-day cleanse, begin by eating a small amount of raw plant food, such as a salad. Chew thoroughly. After fasting for three days, you’ll find that food tastes more vibrant and flavorful. You’ll also find you won’t feel like eating as much as you did before.

It’s important to take the probiotics I recommend in the Supplements section, because these friendly bacteria are needed to re-colonize your colon after a cleanse.

What to Expect
If you follow the cleanse as outlined above, you’ll feel much lighter (energetically) and have more energy afterwards. Your digestive system will be able to absorb more nutrients. The “transit time” of food moving through your intestines will shorten. You will have begun the process of removing disease-causing encrustations from your bowels. Your intestines will begin to regain their normal, healthy state.

This is just the beginning. I suggest doing a three-day cleanse every month for three months, and then see if you can do a five-day cleanse. I felt wonderful after a five-day cleanse. I can’t stress enough that cleansing your colon is essential if you want vibrant health!

Parasite & Worm Cleanse
The colon cleanse will help eliminate parasites and worms, but probably won’t be able to completely rid you of these critters. Systemic parasites and worms are a greater problem than most people, including medical doctors. And getting rid of them isn’t easy. Some symptoms of these organisms include a voracious appetite, weakness, a withered yellow look, bluish or purplish specks in the whites of the eyes, anal itching, abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas, constipation, cravings for sweet or burnt foods, grinding teeth while sleeping, and a host of others. Parasites affect the body’s chemistry and therefore should be eliminated so we can function at our best.

Worms and parasites enter our bodies in a variety of ways, but one of the most common is through uncooked or undercooked meats. We may also be exposed through our pets. Lakes, rivers and tap water are other potential sources of parasites.

Some herbs and supplements used to fight parasites and worms include: black walnut, pumpkin seeds, wormwood, cloves, garlic, raw onions, raw rice, colloidal silver, prickly ash bark and thyme, to name a few. Oxygen therapy can be beneficial. As I said, killing off these critters isn’t easy—there is a science to getting rid of them. I suggest either visiting a naturopathic doctor or checking out some of the programs you can find on the Web. Search for “parasite cleanse” and you’ll get plenty of programs to choose from.

Lymph Cleanse
The lymphatic system is part of our “garbage-disposal,” and is also part of our immune system. The lymph system transports nutrients to cells and removes waste from cells. Unlike blood, lymph fluid can dig deep into tissue to remove toxic waste such as acids and catarrh (mucous). Lymph glands then collect the waste material and dump it into the bloodstream for delivery to the colon, kidneys, lungs or skin for elimination. The lymph vessels also carry special white blood cells (lymphocytes) that challenge and destroy dangerous material before damage can occur.

Unfortunately, this valuable detoxification, nutrient transport and immune building system is often severely neglected. When not properly cared for, the lymph system can be overloaded with toxins, and then health is compromised. However, there is a very simple treatment you can do to help your lymphatic system function properly: exercise.

Daily exercise, especially bouncing on a mini-trampoline (sometimes referred to as a rebounder), will stimulate the lymph fluid and help eliminate harmful toxins from the body. In fact, without exercise, the lymph system barely operates! I suggest 20 minutes of vigorous exercise a day to ensure the lymphatics function correctly.

Apple Cider Vinegar Cleanse
Pure, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar has been used successfully for thousands of years to cleanse and purify the body of toxins, facilitating healing. Organic apple cider vinegar has numerous vitamins, minerals and trace minerals, especially potassium, which aids in the cleansing and healing process. Numerous books have been written about the wonders of apple cider vinegar. Drinking a few teaspoons a day will be of great benefit. Just be sure to get pure, organic and unfiltered apple cider vinegar (found in the natural foods section at supermarkets or at natural foods stores) because the highly processed varieties do not have these health benefits. Read more about the benefits of apple cider vinegar in Chapter 6.

Heavy Metal Detox
Many of us have heavy metal poisoning from mercury (from the amalgam in our teeth and other sources), or from too much copper or lead in our body, etc. Heavy metals can cause numerous health problems, as well as psychological troubles. One research study I reviewed said that most violent criminals had elevated levels of heavy metals. One way to learn whether or not you have heavy metal poisoning is to go to a naturopathic doctor (discussed in Chapter 10) and ask for a “hair analysis”—a special test where a laboratory analyzes a small swatch of your hair to reveal the levels of mineral and metal concentrations. Your Naturopathic Doctor may have other tests to run as well to asses your heavy metal levels. Once you have that information, your naturopath will be able to suggest the correct protocol to remove the heavy metal(s) from your system. This is an important part of detoxifying your body, and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Skin Cleanse
Sometimes we can neglect the largest organ in the body, our skin, which often exhibits health problems before we sense any symptoms. Keep your skin functioning optimally by using a stiff, natural bristle brush to exfoliate dead cells, allowing your pores to breathe and eliminate properly. Epsom salt baths help draw toxins out of the body, while sea salt and essential oils in the bath water can also be used to pull out toxins. A number of manufacturers sell mixtures of pre-packaged ingredients that you can add to your bath, which can be found in natural food stores.

Conclusion
If you want vibrant health, you simply cannot skip the detox step. I encourage you to try the bentonite clay / psyllium husk cleanse, a colonic or an enema and to drink fresh wheat grass juice (discussed in the Supplements chapter). As I mentioned, I’ve used Dr. Richard Anderson’s Arise & Shine system and it worked quite well for me. Dr. Richard Schulze (www.herbdoc.com) also has an excellent and highly effective cleansing program. Natural food stores carry a wide variety of cleansing products as well. I’ve never had a single person tell me they didn’t feel better after doing such cleanse. In fact, they always rave about the positive effects they feel. When you clean out your system, you’ll feel better! It may interest you to know that there are numerous biblical references to eating grass and cleansing the colon—thousands of years before we started eating chemically laden food and using synthetic drugs as “medicine!” (See the books of the two authors I mentioned earlier.) The detoxification system I’ve presented has been tested by hundreds of thousands of people. They’ve had success, and so can you.

>>> Continue to Chapter 8: Exercise

Notes

[i] Cleanse & Purify Thyself, Dr. Richard Anderson, N.D., N.M.D., p. 10.