WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO DETOX?
Whenever you feel congested and lethargic, a detox can give your system a positive injection of vitality. In general, times of seasonal change are recognized as the best times to detox – especially spring and autumn. Many experts advise at least a one- or two-week programme at these times. If the thought of a one-week detox seems daunting, start with one of the shorter programmes. For best results, repeat the one-day detox every two weeks and the two-day plans once a month. As you get cleaner – and you will know this is happening because you’ll experience fewer side-effects – extend the time between each session.
WHAT IS A DETOX LIKE?
There is no one way to feel during a detox. Everyone’s experience will be different. And your experience will be unique to you. Your level of fit ness and general health will playa large part. The healthier you are, the easier it will be. But if you lead a fairly sedentary life, snack on junk foods and guzzle fizzy drinks, the chances are it won’t be plain sailing. You may feel bored and restless, cold or headachy. Whatever you experience, stick with the programme. Sleep, take a bath, go for a walk – anything, until the feeling passes. Eventually you will reap dividends – a wonderful sense of health and wellbeing.
CAN I GO TO WORK AND DETOX?
This depends on the length of the programme being followed. For fasts and short intensive detoxes, don’t try to work. Concentrate on taking a break. On longer, less-intensive detox programmes, you can continue to work, but schedule them for a time when you know your work load will be fairly light. You may in fact find that your energy and performance improve.
DO I HAVE TO USE AN ENEMA OR HAVE COLONIC IRRIGATION?
Opinions diverge on the benefit of these procedures, with some experts recommending their use and others advising against them, particularly on a water-only fast. They are often advised because colon cleansing is one of the most important elements in detoxification. During a cleansing programme, the large intestine releases a huge amount of toxins. If your colon is not working as efficiently as it could, then your toxin load is further increased. An enema or colonic irrigation will help to shift this stagnant waste material.
During a fast or detox, restricting the food you eat gives your digestive system and associated organs a complete rest – and so they are best left undisturbed, says health guru Patricia Bragg. She believes it’s too easy to get fixated with bowel movements during a detox and that it’s better to allow your body time to adjust and right itself.
Naturopath Leon Chaitow also recommends waiting for a couple of days before considering using either treatment, and then only under the supervision of a professional.
CAN I EXERCISE AND DETOX?
Absolutely, but maybe not as energetically as you would if you are used to attending a gym. Go with how you feel, and listen regularly to your body. Some exercise is crucial to the detox process: it helps your body to eliminate toxins more effectively and to release stored tension. Exercise also helps to maintain a calm mind, boosts your confidence, promotes positive thinking and generally enhances your sense of wellbeing.
CAN I SMOKE AND DETOX?
The short answer is ‘no’. But if you do smoke, don’t let this stop you going on a detox. And try to smoke as little as possible when you are following one of the programmes. Because your body will feel so much cleaner and more energized afterwards, you may feel inspired to give up completely.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT THE DETOX IS WORKING?
You may experience what is called a cleansing crisis. In the course of a normal day, your body deals with toxins as speedily as it can, depositing the excess toxins in your fat cells where they can do the least amount of damage. When you detox your body turns to this energy store. As the fat is broken down, toxins are turned out into your system. This sudden influx of toxins causes the crisis – or toxic overload – and for a few hours there may be more toxins circulating your body than usual.
One sign of toxic overload is that your tongue becomes coated with impurities. The cleaner your hody becomes as your detox progresses, the cleaner your tongue will be. You may notice too that your breath smells, your sweat has a stronger odour, and your urine is dark and strong smelling. You may also experience headaches, nausea and flu-like symptoms. Old symptoms may return and skin or sinus problems sometimes worsen. This overload can also leave you feeling lethargic, nauseous, headachy, irritable and depressed. You may also find it hard to concentrate. But whatever you do, avoid taking painkillers and cold preparations to treat these symptoms. Just lie down or sleep until they disappear – as they surely will.
WHO SHOULD DETOX?
Just about everyone can benefit from the rest that a detox will give their body. Your body is an amazing self-cleansing machine, but it can become hampered in this job if you eat too much fatty food, meat, dairy products and processed food, all of which congest the system. A detox gives your body a service in the same way that a garage services your car.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DETOX AND A FAST?
A fast involves the complete avoidance of food and liquid, except for water. In this book you will find only one complete fast, the other programmes are modified fasts and cleansing diets. However, they all provide similar benefits to fasting.
WHO SHOULD NOT FAST?
A fast of 48 hours can be safely undertaken by almost anyone. Longer fasts (more than two days) should be undertaken only with professional help from a qualified naturopath or Ayurvedic practitioner. However, certain people should not fast at all, even for a short time: pregnant or breast-feeding women; menstruating women; diabetics; those who are very under- or over-weight; children; people with kidney failure, severe liver disease, or anaemia; anyone on prescription drugs. If you are in any doubt as to whether a fast may be safe for you, consult a qualified naturopath or your doctor.