Based on my experience and research, I have come to the conclusion that healing a health condition is really a matter of detoxification. Having said that, I must admit that I’m no expert on the topic, at least not as it relates to dietary detoxification. I don’t fully understand the science of it, so this is going to be more of a lay perspective on the subject. While I’ve had no formal training in detoxification, I can tell you that it is an important part of healing and must be maintained until recovery is complete. No matter what condition you are trying to heal, be it physical, mental or emotional, the first step involves detoxification.
One of the things you need to know going in, is that detoxification will cause physical and emotional distress. You can expect to go through emotional highs and lows and physical unpleasantness. You are going to be releasing mucous, inflammation, heavy metals, parasites, unhealthy bacteria, as well as fear, anger and other unresolved emotional pain. You may experience physical illness, diarrhea, headaches, muscle and joint pain and a temporary worsening of your symptoms. You will also likely experience anger from time to time and you may also at times, want to cry. Certainly this has been my experience. But have faith. This is part of the process and it will be an indicator that you are healing.
In order to heal effectively you need to detoxify on four levels:
- Your thoughts
- Your emotions
- Your body
- Your Chi
Detoxify our thoughts: Negative thought patterns are a major contributor to illness because they create chronic stress which suppresses the immune system, acidifies the body and destroys gut health. The good news is that negative thoughts are perhaps the easiest thing to detoxify. We just have to stop thinking them and there are several things that can done to accomplish this.
The most effective way to eliminate faulty thoughts is to be like the Buddha [or Eckhart Tolle] and simply live in the present moment. Yes, it really is that simple! It just takes practice! The first time I experienced consciously living in the present moment [I was out for my morning walk] I felt euphoric. The trees looked like they were in 3D. Colours were more intense. It was awesome [and I’m sure it released lots of endorphins]!
Whenever you find yourself immersed in negative thoughts, simply focus on your breathing. Try it now. Take a deep breath and bring your attention completely to that breath. Make a noise as you inhale and exhale. Practice this all the time, even when you’re not trying to stop a negative thought pattern.
Another technique to help you stay in the present moment involves looking around at things and smiling. Again, give it a try. Just look around the room observing things without adding any mental commentary. Notice while you’re doing it that you’re not thinking about anything. It’s awesome!
It is also important to immerse yourself in positive, joyful activities, conversations, TV shows and movies, and it is advisable to stop watching and reading the news. Most of it is bad news that stresses us, makes us unhappy and has no direct affect on our lives. Avoid being around negative people as much as you can.
Next, never criticize yourself or others. Remember, we’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve learned. Nobody is perfect [although, it sure would be nice if we all were!], so be encouraging!
Lastly, make the language you use work for you. Joel Osteen, minister of the largest Protestant church in the United States, says that whatever you say after “I am,” will come and find. If you say, “I have a disease,” Whereas, if you say, “I am well,” wellness will find you. Since hearing this, I have been repeating on a daily basis, “I am recovering. My body is healing. My body is healthy a strong.” And now I am, in fact, recovering.
Detoxify our emotions: At the root of all physical disease is unresolved fear, anger and emotional pain (like shame) and this must be healed and released in order to heal the physical body. I’m going to cover this in greater detail in Steps 4 & 5, but for now know that when we have a traumatic experience that affects us on an emotional level and we don’t let go of those emotions, for example, by talking about the experience and how it made us feel with someone with a compassionate ear, the memories of that experience and the associated emotions are stored in our limbic brain and cell memory. These ‘hidden’ emotions create chronic stress which eventually leads to illness.
It is ideal that we express these emotions at the time of the incident, but, since this quite often doesn’t happen, we find ourselves having to do so later in life at the time of illness.
Emotional healing can be accomplished a number of ways:
- Through counseling with a qualified therapist
- Using Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
- Screaming into a pillow
Forgiveness plays an important role in emotional healing. When we mistreat others or when others mistreat us, we may be left with unresolved emotional pain, such as guilt, shame, bitterness and hatred. Forgiveness is made possible when we remember that people are doing the best they can with what they’ve learned and that people, including ourselves, mistreat others because they don’t feel good about themselves.
Detoxify our body: Now that you have begun addressing the toxic thoughts and emotions that are affecting your health you can undertake physical detoxification. Physical detoxification is accomplished through:
Diet is extremely important. You simply won’t heal if you are eating unhealthy foods. The detoxification diet means eating foods that are as close to the way mother nature made them as possible, which means, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, grass fed meats and wild caught fish. It also means no processed foods, no fast foods, no junk foods, no alcohol, no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no dairy, no grains, etc. Any foods you eat on the ‘no’ list will simply slow or stop the detoxification process because they will acidify your body and add more toxins to your system.
Whether you choose the fruitarian diet, vegetarian diet, ketogenic diet [high fat, low carbs], gaps diet, paleo diet or a diet that involves fasting, the key is to eat foods that will eliminate heavy metals and other toxins, heal the gut, alkaline the body, eliminate inflammation and unclog the lymphatic system. After a great deal of trial and testing, I chose the ketogenic diet, which I will discuss in detail in the next post.
Let me say a word or two about fasting. I believe fasting is an important part of the dietary detoxification process. You need to give the body rest time in order to more effectively remove toxins. Personally, I don’t believe you need to fast for an entire day, week or even longer. I have done 24 hour fasts and I didn’t enjoy it. In my experience, fasting for up to 18 hours a day is sufficient. This means, say, eating heavily from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM then drinking water, lemon water if you prefer, for the balance of the day. I believe fasting is important because it helps the body in its endeavour to reach homeostasis [its natural healthy state].
The human body was designed to do two things: digest natural foods and be in homeostasis. When it is full of toxins, it is out of homeostasis and the body’s natural response is to return to homeostasis. In order to do this, it needs time, but if you are constantly eating, the body has to devote its time to digesting food, rather than eliminating toxins. Fasting, particularly with lemon water, which alkalines the body, allows the body to focus on eliminating the toxins. Thus, fasting for up to 18 hours a day 3 to 7 days a week will certainly help speed up the detoxification process.
Sweating helps to eliminate heavy metals from the body through the skin. The best way to sweat is to exercise or sauna.
Colonics involves cleansing the colon. I have had two colonic treatments and it has made quite a difference in my bowel movements. I would highly recommend it!
Water and exercise are two other important elements of detoxing. Fluids help flush toxins out of the body, while exercise speeds up metabolism. If you would like to see a simple, yet effective, explanation of detoxification, check out this video.
You might also want to try bentonite clay. I took it for six months and while I didn’t notice any effect, it is a known detoxifier and immune system booster.
Detoxify our Chi: Chi is the life force energy that flows in and around our bodies. A strong chi is essential to good health. Poor diet, unresolved emotional pain, stress, negative thoughts and unhappiness can all weaken our Chi. Detoxifying our thoughts, emotions and bodies will certainly help to strengthen our Chi as will exercises like yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong [any activity that brings you joy and peace of mind will strength your chi]. Having a positive outlook will also help.
As I said at the outset, detoxification is an essential part of healing illness and restoring the body to good health [homeostasis]. Any one of us can do it, but it takes commitment. It’s not easy and it will test you. If you’ve never done it before I would highly recommend seeing a qualified natural health practitioner first. Otherwise, the simplest way to get started is to simply eat healthy foods and think positive thoughts.