As the ground unfreezes and little buds of new life start peeking out with the promise of spring, there is a natural feeling of new freshness all around. In holistic healing our bodies tend to operate best when our actions coincide with the seasons we are experiencing in the external world. Spring is the perfect time to cleanse our bodies so that we can experience the joy of being in tune with the new life opportunities that the season has to offer. I began doing internal cleanses when I was only 16 years old and very much by trial and error. Over the last 17 years I have done probably 10 or so serious internal cleanses and many mini ones. Whenever I have started discussing internal cleansing it seems that anybody within earshot is always quite curious about what it is and how you do it. I am happy that there is a great interest in this subject however I have noticed that much of the information on how to do an internal cleanse, for better health, is overwhelming, confusing or inadequate. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you what internal cleansing is, why and how you do it, and some advice to avoid pitfalls and maximize the benefits of your cleansing experience. Obviously there is an abundance of wonderful information on internal cleansing out there but since most of you reading this are new to cleansing or are probably a bit apprehensive I want to give you a guide that is practical and easy to apply. When it comes to health the point is to keep growing and learning to be better not to know every little detail or be perfect. If you would like an in depth book for more detailed information I highly recommend Internal Cleansing by Linda Berry, D.C. ISBN0-7615-2932-2 by Prima Publishing
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM DOING AN INTERNAL CLEANSE?
With the amount of toxins in our food, air and water supplies, anyone can gain better health through internal cleansing, preferably twice a year in Spring and Fall (the transitional seasons). Pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems or special medical circumstances should not do cleansing unless supervised by a doctor. Even though everyone can gain immense benefits from internal cleansing, the following are some common symptoms of imbalance in the body that internal cleansing can resolve:
HOW DOES THE BODY CLEANSE ITSELF?
The name of the game in cleansing is to release and eliminate. In other words you have to get your cells to let go of the toxins they are storing and then eliminate them so they don’t re-enter the bloodstream causing what is called autointoxication (when you are poisoned by substances produced by your own body due to improper digestion and elimination).
How do you get your cells to let go of stored toxins?
a. Temporarily cease consumption of toxic or irritating foods and substances so that your body’s natural ability to detoxify strengthens.
b. Commit to a diet during cleanse that consist of organic, anti-inflammatory, simple foods and drink lots of clean water.
c. Take detoxifying herbs and nutritional supplements in order to aid the body in the process of releasing harmful substances that have built up in your body such as drugs, pesticides, free radicals and heavy metals.
How do you safely and effectively eliminate released toxins?
a. Drink plenty of clean water
b. Take natural supplements such as activated charcoal, bentonite clay and or a fiber supplement that will grab onto toxins and sweep them through the colon and out of the body.
c. Exercise, meditation and plenty of rest.
A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO INTERNAL CLEANSING:
I. SHOP FOR SUPPLIES:
First you will need to do some shopping- for those of you who live in Casper, WY you can find most of these products between going to Natural Grocers and Alpenglow Natural Foods downtown, for anything you cannot find locally, you may use links to the side to easily find these products online.
1. ORGANIC FRUITS AND VEGGIES/FOODS:
a. Go to Natural Grocers or somewhere with organic quality produce and buy about pick out a week’s worth (about $50 of produce) of any combination of colorful fruits and vegetables that jump out at you, your body’s first intuitions know what you need while shopping (just like with muscle testing and vitamins)
2. ONLINE/DRUG STORE PURCHASES:
II. DIRECTIONS FOR DOING AN INTERNAL CLEANSE
1. PREPARATION STAGE:
Doing an internal cleanse requires extra time, energy and patience in your life. Therefore it is a good idea to take on doing an internal cleanse at a period in your life that doesn’t include unnecessary or extra stresses beyond usual everyday living. For example, not when you are moving, starting a new job, making or breaking in a relationship etc. Pick your official start date for your cleanse. 3-5 days before hand you need to start weaning off of any and all drugs (of course except for medically necessary medications) alcohol, sodas, caffeine, sugar, nicotine, processed foods, dairy, breads and meats. It is a good idea to tell a group of supportive friends and family when you are going to be doing your cleanse and advise them that you may be moodier or need more time to yourself while going through this. The preparation stage’s purpose is to make the chemical changes to your body and the mental and spiritual transitions of cleansing less abrupt, so that you have a positive and safe cleansing experience.
2. INTERNAL CLEANSE START DAYS 1-3
a. DIET: So even though your shopping list may seem like a lot of new ingredients, don’t feel overwhelmed, this is easy. Basically your diet needs to consist of only clean organic non-inflammatory foods. Once again this means no meat, breads or dairy (yogurt is an exception due to its exceptional probiotics). You don’t need to follow a schedule of when or how much you eat just as long as what you are eating is either a fruit, veggie, nut or nut butter, yogurt or non-gluten grain which is why I recommend the quinoa because it is high in protein and gluten free. I feel it is important to incorporate a bit of grain during a cleanse to help you feel full since most Americans are not accustomed to a diet without bread or meat in it and will feel very hungry without a grain. Have fun with your veggies, you can cook them or eat them raw with whatever oil/vinegar or lemon juice dressing. (STEP AWAY FROM THE RANCH AND THOUSAND ISLAND!) Also, as a food/nutrient and a hydration resources you may heat up organic vegetable broth or dissolve miso paste in hot water while cleansing. It actually extracts nicotine from the body and has been linked to a decrease in risk of breast cancer.
c. HYDRATION AND FLUSHING:
8 oz. purified water
1 tsp. cayenne powder
3 tbsps. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsps. of raw honey or organic molasses
8 oz. purified water
2 tsps. Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tbsps. Raw honey
While all the yummy nourishing foods and supplements do their job to release toxins from your cells, you must make sure you do something to eliminate them out of your body; otherwise they will just recirculate through your system and make you feel poisoned (autointoxication that was discussed at beginning of article). This is achieved in getting the bowels to move regularly and frequently to not only eliminate built up waste from over the years but also eliminate all the new toxins that are being released from your cleansing.
NIGHTLY “P& B SHAKES”: So these are probably the least fun part of a cleanse but so crucial and beneficial. When you see and feel the rewards of cleaning up your colon it is a motivating experience that outweighs the unpleasantness of these shakes. You will need to make yourself a “P&B Shake” every night before you go to bed. NOTE *You may do more of these shakes than just the one at night, throughout the day if you want to, but do not take bentonite within the same hour as any nutritional supplements as it will absorb some of the nutrients, rendering them less effective.
For more info on the internal uses of bentonite here is a great website:
HOW TO MAKE A “P & B SHAKE”:
Put 8-12 oz. of Rice Dream rice milk in blender
Add 1-3 tsps. of psyllium husk (you might want to start with 1 tsp. then build up to 3 to see how your body reacts)Add 1-3 tsps. of liquid bentonite clay
Blend and drink immediately followed by a full glass of water
These shakes will make you feel very full and a slight bloated feeling the first few times is normal. Most of the time it takes a few days for these shakes to go through your colon and produce a noticeable result, so don’t be discouraged or worried if you do not notice any positive effects right away, especially if you have not had regular bowel movements in the past. In a few days you will see and feel the difference in the size, color and frequency of your bowel movements. You will feel significantly better once you are eliminating properly from your colon.
III. WHAT TO KEEP DOING AND WHAT TO EXPECT:
1. INTERNAL CLEANSE DAYS 1-3:
You may not feel anything in a positive or negative direction the first few days, but you also may feel the effects of your cleanse immediately. It is normal to feel like you are withdrawing from heavy drugs physically and emotionally, because you are! This includes- irritability, sweating, insomnia, headaches and just a general uneasiness about everything. The first few days are often the hardest because your body doesn’t know what is going on and the full brunt of your dietary and health changes are full force in this beginning stage. But hang in there! This is what the lavender oil and Epsom salts are for so you can take relaxing baths at the end of the day. Always get plenty of rest as you will need more than usual while your body is using its energy to cleanse. Remember to breath, mediate, get bodywork, do yoga and or take walks to help with any emotional frustrations during any stage of your cleanse! It is important to have emotional support in talking to trusted friends, holistic practioners or journaling your thoughts and feelings every day too!
2. INTERNAL CLEANSE DAYS 4-7:
At this stage of your cleanse you are learning what a day of cleansing feels like and entails and getting more comfortable with its effects. Your diet, hydration and elimination steps will stay the same, but as per the directions on your bottles, your dosage of supplements will be going up gradually to maximize the efficiency of your cleanse. In my opinion this is the nectar stage of a cleanse where you really start feeling it work in a positive and magical way on your body and your emotions. You may experience feelings of extreme energy, euphoria, happiness, freedom and peace. You may also feel old feelings that were trapped in your cells (as humans have cellular memory) come up that you don’t always know why or where are they are coming from. Just do what you have to do without judgment. If you feel angry then write it out or talk to a friend or just sit down and feel it. If you feel sad then allow yourself to cry without asking why or trying to stop yourself. Part of cleansing is healing the negative emotions that are trapped in your body, thereby making you sick just as much as physical toxins.
3. INTERNAL CLEANSE DAYS 8-10
In this stage you should be at a medium dosage with your supplements. At this point you may also experience what is known as a “healing crisis”. When the body is cleansing it will often times get worse before it gets better. After all it takes a lot of work for your body’s organs and systems to work all the toxic things out of your body. Because of this you may experiences what feels like cold or flu like symptoms particularly a runny nose. You may feel very fatigued, kind of pissed off or all of the above. Although this stage is not comfortable, it will help to remind yourself that it is a natural symptom of cleansing and is a temporary experience in order to achieve better health. If you can get through this stage, you will be on the better side of the hill.
4. INTERNAL CLEANSE DAYS 11-14
By now you should be feeling great, even though it can be a bit of a rollercoaster of ups and downs. You should be at the maximize dosage of your supplements as per the directions on bottles and still staying consistent with your diet, hydration and elimination steps of cleansing. From here you may stop or keep going as long as you feel like you can or want to. Sometimes beginners don’t get past 3 or 4 days and that is ok. Try and make it to at least day 10 but if you can’t just do what you can and try again at a later time. Every time you attempt a cleanse you learn more about the subject, your individual body and its needs and what to make it better for you next time so it is never a lost experience.
5. AFTER A CLEANSE:
DO NOT: Live the next day like it’s your last day on earth, go on a pub crawl or celebrate a lard fest of junk food. Chances are you will be feeling so clean and healthy you won’t even want to but if you think you might be warned that your body is so sensitive at this point the slightest toxic thing will make you feel completely poisoned and awfully sick! Continue to eat clean foods and drink plenty of fluids and if you want some dessert, bread or meat slowly incorporate it back into your diet gradually and try to at least choose consciously raised meats and organic foods so you don’t undo all your hard work!