Years of experience with detoxification convince me that if you have a serious health problem, a brief 3 to 7 day juice cleanse is a good way to release toxins from the system. Shorter cleanses don’t get to the root of a chronic problem. Longer cleanses upset body equilibrium more than most people are ready to deal with outside a clinical environment. A 3 to 7 day cleanse can clean your pipes of systemic sludge - excess mucous, old fecal matter, trapped cellular and non-food wastes, or inorganic mineral deposits that are part of arthritis.
A few days without solid food offers an enlightening experience about your lifestyle. It’s not absolutely necessary to take only liquids, but a juice diet increases awareness and energy available for elimination. Fresh juices literally pick up dead matter from body tissues and carry it away. Your body becomes easier to “hear,” telling you via cravings what foods and diet it needs — for example, a desire for protein foods, or B vitamin foods like rice, or minerals from greens. This is natural biofeedback.
A detox works by self-digestion. During a cleanse, the body decomposes and burns only the substances and tissues that are damaged, diseased or unneeded—like abscesses, tumors, excess fat deposits, and congestive wastes. Even a relatively short fast accelerates elimination, often causing dramatic changes as masses of accumulated waste are expelled.
You will know your body is detoxing if you experience the short period of headaches, fatigue, body odor, bad breath, diarrhea or mouth sores that commonly accompany accelerated elimination. However, digestion usually improves right away as do many gland and nerve functions. Cleansing also helps release hormone secretions that stimulate immune response and encourage a disease-preventing environment.
What About A Water Fast?
I don’t recommend it. Here’s why: Water fasting was used by ancient Greek and Roman healers, by medieval monks, and up through the early 20th century by healers of all kinds. Juice cleansing is a far better evolution in detoxification methods. Detoxification experts agree that fresh vegetable and fruit juice cleansing is superior to water fasting. Fresh juices, broths and herb teas help deeply cleanse the body, rejuvenate the tissues and guide you to a faster recovery from health problems than water fasting.
You may have heard that a traditional water fast is the “purest” way to detoxify, but a water fast was harsh and demanding on the body, even before our diets and environment changed. Today, it can even be dangerous. Today, people in western societies eat huge amounts of food and environmental toxins are part of the picture. Pollutants and chemicals deeply buried in our tissues release into elimination channels too rapidly during a water fast. Your body is essentially “re-poisoned” as the chemicals move through the bloodstream all at once. Sometimes, the physical and emotional stress of a water fast even overrides the healing benefits.
On the other hand, vegetable and fruit juices are alkalizing, so they neutralize uric acid and other inorganic acids better than water, increasing healing effects. Juices support better metabolic activity, too. Metabolic activity slows down during a water fast as the body attempts to conserve dwindling energy resources. Juices are easy on digestion — easily assimilated into the bloodstream. They don’t disturb the detoxification process.
Step by Step Detox
Step one: elimination. You’ll clean out mucous and toxins from the intestinal tract and major organs. Everything functions more effectively when toxins, obstructions and wastes are removed.
Step two: rebuilding healthy tissue and restoring energy. With obstacles removed, your body’s regulating powers are activated to rebuild at optimum levels. Eat only fresh and simply prepared, vegetarian foods during the rebuilding step. Include supplements and herbal aids for your specific needs.
Step three: keeping your body clean and toxin-free. Modifying lifestyle habits is the key to a strong resistant body. Rely on fresh fruits and vegetables for fiber, cooked vegetables, grains and seeds for strength and alkalinity, lightly cooked sea foods, soy foods, eggs and low fat cheeses as sources of protein, and a little dinner wine for circulatory health. Include supplements, herbs, exercise and relaxation techniques.