Detox Diets

Natural Immunity- Safeguarding your System

About the Immune System

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Your immune system is your bodyguard. It works both pro-actively and protectively to shield you from anything in your world that threatens your life and limb. The main elements of the immune system are the thymus gland, bone marrow, the spleen, the complement system of enzymatic proteins, and the lymphatic system with white blood cells and lymphocytes, the backbone of immune defenses. Your immune system is ever-vigilant, constantly searching for proteins, called antigens, that don't belong in your body. It can deal with a wide range of pathogens - viruses, funguses, bacteria and parasites. It can even recognize potential antigens, such as drugs, pollens, insect venoms and chemicals in foods, and malignant cells and foreign tissue, such as transplanted organs or transfused blood.

The immune system is the body's most complex and delicately balanced infrastructure. We hear so much about immune system breakdown today. Yet, most of us don't know very much about it, or how it works. It's really an amazing part of our bodies. While the workings of other body systems have been well known for some time, the complex nature and dynamics of the immune system have been largely a mystery. One of the problems in comprehending immune response is its highly individual nature. It's a personal defense system that comes charging to the rescue at the first sign of an alien force, such as a harmful virus or pathogenic bacteria. Personal immune response shows us that there is so much more to our healing than the latest wonder drug. It shows us that we are the ultimate healer of ourselves.

Most Americans today don't have good immune response to fight off illness. Pollution, drug overload and nutrient-poor diets compromise our immune health even in good weather. So we're already pre-disposed to a life of frequent colds and flu when bad weather rolls in. Stress is a definite culprit in reduced immune response because it affects the production of interferon, your body's natural antiviral agent. People who are under continuous stress from work or their personal lives are 2 and a half times more likely to get a cold or flu infection than other people. You may think you're protected if you've had a flu shot, but think again. Flu shots are only effective for specific flu viruses... you may be exposed to a different one, or even a brand new one (flu viruses mutate rapidly). That means your shot won't be effective. In any case, follow-up studies show flu shots are only effective for 30% of the population.

Drugs aren't the answer for immune enhancement. The immune system is not responsive to drugs for healing. Even doctors admit that most drugs really just stabilize the body, or arrest a harmful organism, to allow the immune system to gather its forces and take over. Each one of us has a unique immune response system. It would be almost impossible to form a drug for each person. Antibiotics used to fight infections actually depress the immune system when used long-term. Long courses of tetracycline and erythromycin are some of the most common and some of the worst for immune health. But natural nutritive forces, like healing foods and herbal medicines can and do support the immune system. They enhance its activity, strengthen it, and provide an environment through cleansing and detoxification for it to work at its best.

I believe the only way to stay healthy during high risk times is to prepare your body for the defenses it's going to need. Even if you've improved your diet, take another look at it because a super nutritious diet is imperative when you're under attack.

What does the immune system really do? Immune defense is autonomic, using its own subconscious memory to establish antigens against harmful pathogens. It's a system that works on its own to fend off or neutralize disease toxins, and set up a healing environment for the body. It is this quality of being a part of us, yet not under our conscious control, that is the great power of immune response. It is also the dilemma of medical scientists as they struggle to get control of a system that is all pervasive and yet, in the end, impossible to completely understand. It is as if God shows us his face in this incredibly complex part of us, where we are allowed to glimpse the ultimate mind-body connection.

Maintaining strong immune defenses in today's world is not easy. Daily exposure to environmental pollutants, the emotional and excessive stresses of modern lifestyles, chemicalized foods, and new virus mutations are all a challenge to our immune systems. Devastating, immune compromised diseases are rising all over the world. Reduced immunity is the main factor in opportunistic diseases, like candida albicans, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, HIV, hepatitis, mononucleosis, herpes II, sexually transmitted diseases and cancer. These diseases have become the epidemic of our time, and most of us don't have very much to fight with. An overload of antibiotics, antacids, immunizations, cortico-steroid drugs, and environmental pollutants eventually affect immune system balance to the point where it cannot distinguish harmful cells from healthy cells.

I see traditional medicine as "heroic" medicine. Largely developed in wartime, its greatest strengths are emergency measures -- the ability to arrest a crisis, destroy or incapacitate pathogenic organisms, reset and re-attach broken body parts, and stabilize the body so it can gather its healing forces. Because drugs work in an attempt to directly kill harmful organisms, it is easy to see that their value would be for emergency measures, and for short term use.

But, three unwanted things often happen with prolonged drug use: 1) Our bodies can build up a tolerance to the drug so that it requires more of it to get the same effect. 2) The drug slowly overwhelms immune response so the body becomes dependent upon it, using it as a crutch instead of doing its own work. 3) The drug misleads our defense system to the point that it doesn't know what to assault, and attacks everything in confusion. This type of over-reaction often happens during an allergy attack, where the immune system may respond to substances that are not really harmful. Most of the time, if we use drugs wisely to stimulate rather than over kill, if we "get out of the way" by keeping our bodies clean and well nourished, the immune system will spend its energies rebuilding instead of fighting, and strengthen us instead of constantly gathering resources to conduct a "rear guard" defense.

The very nature of immune strength means that it must be built from the inside out. The immune system is the body system most sensitive to nutritional deficiencies. Giving your body generous, high quality, natural remedies at the first sign of infection improves your chances of overcoming disease before it takes serious hold. Powerful, immune-enhancing superfoods and herbs can be directed at "early warning" problems to build strength for immune response. Building good immune defenses takes time and commitment, but it is worth it. The inherited immunity and health of you, your children and your grandchildren is laid down by you.

One more thing: Laughter lifts more than your spirits. It also boosts your immune response. Laughter lowers cortisol, an immune suppressor, allowing immunity to function better.

Linda Page, Ph.D., Traditional Naturopath, is an internationally renowned author, educator, and classical herbalist.

Dr. Page is an Adjunct Professor at Clayton College of Natural Health. She is a member of The American Naturopathic Medical Association. The California Naturopathic Association, The American Herbalist Guild The American Botanical Council and The Herb Research Foundation. Author of the best-selling book, Healthy Healing, A Guide to Self Healing for Everyone, now in the 12th edition. Dr. Page owns and formulates Crystal Star Herbal Nutrition supplements.

Colon Detox

The Importance of a Colon Cleanse

A colon elimination cleanse is a cleanse most of us need. The latest estimates show that over 90% of disease in America is directly or indirectly attributable to an unhealthy colon. As the solid waste management organ for the entire body, your colon is also the easiest breeding ground for putrefactive bacteria, viruses and parasites. A nationwide survey reveals that one in every six people have parasites living somewhere in the body.

Hardly any healing program will work without a colon cleanse as part of it. Problems like headaches, skin blemishes, bad breath, fatigue, arthritis and heart disease are linked to a congested colon. Colon and bowel malfunctions are one of the biggest factors in accelerated aging. Cleansing your colon lightens the toxic load on every other part of your body... even your mind (mental dullness is a sign of colon congestion). When colon health is compromised, waste backs up, becomes toxic, and releases the toxins into the bloodstream. Real healing takes place at the deepest cellular levels. Your blood feeds your cells. The nutrients that reach your blood get there by the way of the colon. So, a clogged, dirty colon means toxins in your blood.

Is your colon toxic? Ask yourself these questions:

...Is your elimination time slow?

Bowel transit time should be approximately twelve hours. Slow bowel transit time allows wastes to become rancid. Blood capillaries lining the colon absorb these poisons into the bloodstream, exposing the rest of your body to the toxins.

...Do you eat fast food, highly processed, synthetic, or chemical laced foods?

A clean, strong system can metabolize or eliminate many pollutants that come into your body, but if you are constipated, they are stored in your system. As more and different chemicals enter your body they tend to inter-react with those that are already there, forming second generation chemicals more harmful than the originals. Colon cancer, now the second leading cancer in the United States (slightly behind lung cancer in men and breast cancer in women), is a direct result of accumulated toxic waste. Colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis, ileitis and Crohn's disease, are all signs of waste congestion. They're on the rise, too. Over 100,000 Americans have a colostomy every year!

...Is your digestion poor?

The most common sign of toxic bowel overload is poor digestion. If you're eating a lot of rich, red meats and cheeses, white bread, sugary, salty foods or fried foods, they're robbing your body of critical electrolytes and they have almost no fiber for digestion. A high fiber diet is both cure and prevention for waste elimination problems. Eating high fiber means you're moving food through your digestive system quickly and easily. A low residue diet causes a gluey state - and your intestinal contractions can't work efficiently. You can picture this if you remember the hard paste formed by white flour and water when you were a kid. A lot of the food we eat today is simply crammed into the colon, never fully excreted.

Media attention has been focused for decades on high fiber foods. Everybody in America must have changed their diet to a more colon-healthy pattern, right? This is simply not the case. Americans target their diets to reduce fat at all costs, often at the expense of a fiber-rich diet.

Check your fiber. The protective level of fiber in your diet is easily measured:

  • The stool should be light enough to float.

  • Bowel movements should be regular, daily and effortless.

  • The stool should be almost odorless, signaling less bowel transit time.

  • There should be no gas or flatulence.

Colon Self Test

Could your body use a colon cleanse?

  • Constipated most of the time? a colon cleanse softens and removes colon congestion

  • Feeling heavy and bloated? a colon cleanse helps you lose colon congestive weight

  • Gassy with audible bowel rumbling and discomfort after you eat? a colon cleanse removes gluey materials impairing digestion

  • Catch a cold, or flu every few weeks? a colon cleanse releases excess mucous that harbors viruses

  • Tired for no real reason? a colon cleanse boosts immune and liver response for more energy

  • Have a coated tongue, bad breath, or body odor? a colon cleanse clears rancidity that causes bad odors

  • Do you feel mentally slow and tired? a colon cleanse lets more blood circulation get to your brain

  • Skin unusually sallow and dull? a colon cleanse removes toxin that come out through your skin

  • Have a degenerative disease like cancer, arthritis or lupus? a colon cleanse removes toxic elements

  • Cholesterol numbers too high? a colon cleanse increases absorption of cholesterol-lowering foods

If you answered yes to any of these questions, a colon cleanse could provide you tremendous benefit to your overall health and well being. To learn about the importance of colon cleansing and how to begin a safe and effective program, click here.

Colon Detox Plan

3 to 5 Day Nutrition Plan

The 4 key elements: enzymes from high chlorophyll plants; fiber from fruits and vegetables: probiotics from cultured foods like yogurts; waterof at least eight glasses a day.

The night before your colon cleanse... Try a gentle herbal laxative: Note: If you have a sensitive colon or irritable bowel disease (IBS), tone your colon before you cleanse. Avoid products with senna or psyllium. Use a gentle herbal cleansing formula, with peppermint oil, like BWL-Tone.

  • Soak dried figs, prunes and raisins in water; add 1 tb. molasses, cover, leave to soak over night.

The next day...

  • On rising: take a cleansing booster product. Take 1000mg vitamin C with bioflavonoids to raise body glutathione levels.

  • Breakfast: discard dried fruits from soaking water and eat with a small glass of the liquid.

  • Mid-morning: take 2 tbsp. aloe juice concentrate in a glass of juice or water and 1000mg vitamin C.

  • Lunch: take a small glass of fresh carrot juice.

  • Mid-afternoon: take an herbal cleansing tea.

  • About 5 o' clock: a small glass of potassium broth, or fresh carrot juice.

  • Dinner: take a glass of apple or papaya juice and 1000mg vitamin C.

  • Before Bed: repeat the herbal cleansers that you took on rising with a cup of mint tea.

Eat a raw foods salad on the last night of your cleanse.

To boost your cleanse, add 2 or 3 cleansing boosters:

  • Chlorophyll sources: Energy Green Renewal™ Drink Mix

  • Enzymes: Dr. Enzyme™ between meals, great if you have food allergies, too.

  • Electrolytes speed up a cleanse: Nature's Path Trace-Lyte Liquid Minerals; Arise & Shine Alkalizer.

  • Antioxidants defeat pollutants: Country Life Super 10 Antioxidant; NutriCology Antiox.

  • Fiber support: Planetary TRI-CLEANSE; AloeLife FiberMate.

Note 1: Drugstore laxatives aren't really cleansers. They offer only temporary relief, are usually habit-forming, destructive to intestinal membranes, and don't get to the cause of the problem. The laxative so irritates the colon that the bowels expel whatever loose material is around. Note 2: Bowel elimination problems are often chronic and may need several rounds of cleansing. Alternate cleansing with periods of eating a healthy diet.

Colon Cleanse Bodywork

Techniques to enhance your cleanse: Irrigate: a colonic irrigation is a good way to start a colon/bowel cleanse. Grapefruit seed extract (15 to 20 drops in a gallon of water) is effective, especially if there is colon toxicity along with constipation. Try a catnip or diluted liquid chlorophyll enema every other night during the cleanse. Note: Enemas may be given to children. Use smaller amounts according to size and age. Allow water to enter very slowly; let them expel when they wish.

Exercise: Take a brisk walk for an hour every day to help keep your elimination channels moving.

Bathe: Take several long warm baths during your cleanse. Dry skin brushing will help release toxins coming out through your skin. Lemon Detox Bath: add into warm bath - 5 drops lemon essential oil and 2 drops geranium essential oil.

Massage therapy: Get one good lower back and pelvis massage during your cleanse.

Visualize your detox: Close your eyes; inhale and exhale long and slowly. As you exhale, visualize toxins dislodging and leaving your colon. As you inhale, visualize nourishing nutrients rebuilding vibrancy.

Do You Need A Detox?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you feel congested from too much food, or the wrong kinds of food?
  • Do you feel lethargic, like you need a good spring cleaning?
  • Do you need to eliminate drug residues?
  • Do you need to normalize the body after illness or hospital stay?
  • Do you need a jump start to a healing program?
  • Do you need a specific detox program for a serious health problem?
  • Do you want to streamline your body processes for more energy?
  • Do you need to remove toxins causing a health problem?
  • Do you want to rest and rejuvenate your whole body?
  • Do you want to assist weight loss?
  • Do you want to clear up your skin?

Signs that you need to detoxify: Frequent, unexplained headaches or back or joint pain, or arthritis, chronic respiratory problems, sinus problems or asthma abnormal body odor, bad breath or coated tongue, food allergies, poor digestion or chronic constipation with intestinal bloating or gas, brittle nails and hair, psoriasis, adult acne, or unexplained weight gain over 10 pounds, unusually poor memory, chronic insomnia, depression, irritability, chronic fatigue, environmental sensitivities especially to odors.