If you breathe, eat, drink water or use electronics in this modern world, than you need to detoxify. We are exposed to harmful chemicals every day, even if you’re careful with the products you use. The air itself carries toxins like mercury. Even organic foods contain chemicals, hormones and pharmaceuticals that don’t break down from the water that feeds the plants or that we cook with. Add to these junk foods, plastic containers seeping petrochemicals into our food or water, electromagnetic waves, non-stick cookware, rancid fats, oxidized proteins, bacteria, viruses, molds, funguses and consuming foods we may not even realize we have an intolerance to.
That’s why I recommend that EVERYONE does regular and safe cleanses. The problem is, some of the more popular, cleanses that are on the market or are promoted these days online are actually dangerous to your health and can actually increase your body’s toxic burden level! Read on so that when you are ready to cleanse you will know how to choose a program that nourishes you and makes you feel better, more energetic and healthier; not exhausted, weak or hungry.
Be Healthy or Else: Only do “extreme” forms of cleansing like the Master Cleanse or a fast if you are already healthy to begin with. If you are a smoker, are using or recently used pharmaceutical or recreational drugs or have had chemotherapy; if you consume artificial sweeteners, a lot of sugars, a large amount of refined carbohydrates or grain products or have an otherwise unhealthy diet; if you have or are recovering from a serious illness or disease; or if you have any blood sugar issues at all do NOT do the Master Cleanse, a cleanse similar to it or a cleanse involving fasting!!! If you are unsure—don’t do it or consult your healthcare provider first.
Safe Cleansing for Everyone: If you don’t fit the small group of people who fasting or the Master Cleanse is safe for… You should still cleanse. You just need to do something less extreme, healthier and safer for your body. Instead consider eliminating common allergic and inflammatory foods, such as grains, beans and dairy. Eliminating caffeine, artificial sweeteners and sugars is another beneficial step. You do not need to do something painful, difficult and that makes you hungry to have it be effective. Your goal for the cleanse should be to be healthier and consume a diet that is easier for your liver to process so that your body has time to deal with stored toxins. If you do this for a few weeks or a month—you will have amazing results! If you do this forever—well, heck, just imagine the results! A good rule is if the cleanse you are doing would be unsafe for you to do forever, than it may not be safe for you to do for a short time either. To learn more about how to safely cleanse, join this free webinar.
For the Chemistry Geeks (skip if you’re too cool!): There are two phases to detoxification. Someone that isn’t healthy to start with will not have the nutrient stores necessary to support either phase of detoxification and will endanger health through a large release of toxins from the liver when doing an extreme cleanse like the Master Cleanse or doing a fast.
Phase 1 either directly neutralizes toxins or modifies them from nonpolar, nonwater soluble chemicals into relatively polar (i.e. electrically charged) compounds through enzymes. In Phase 1, toxins are converted into less harmful chemicals, but during this process free radicals are produced which, if excessive, can damage the liver. Antioxidant stores and those consumed during a cleanse reduce the damage caused by these free radicals. If antioxidants are lacking and toxin exposure is high, toxic chemicals become far more dangerous during Phase 1 detoxification and potentially carcinogenic. This is why it is essential to already be healthy if you are going to do the Master Cleanse, a fast or another extreme cleanse that rapidly speeds up Phase 1 detoxification.
Consume Protein: Only cleanses that incorporate protein into them will allow for toxins to effectively be eliminated from the body. If you choose to do a cleanse that does not include protein, such as the Master Cleanse, in order for it to be safe, you MUST incorporate protein into it or you will end up with a higher toxic burden and feeling worse. This could even take the form of you simply adding rice or hemp protein powder to water and drinking it daily during the cleanse (yum?). If you do not incorporate protein, toxins will be released from your tissues but won’t be excreted out of the body, which will result in an increase in symptoms, making you feel awful and can be extremely dangerous.
Geek Out Time Again: Remember back to the “geek section” in #1… Well, Phase 1 detoxification prepares the toxins so that a small molecule can be added to or modified in Phase 2, which is when the chemicals from Phase 1 are made water-soluble so that they can be excreted naturally by the body and eliminated. Our bodies can only eliminate water soluble, not fat-soluble molecules which is why Phase 2 is so important. If Phase 2 conjugation doesn’t happen, the changed toxins that have become more dangerous and more carcinogenic from Phase 1 can’t be released from the body. This creates the… very technical term… wait for it… “toxic ping pong effect” when toxins are released from the liver, kidneys and lymph into the blood stream but cannot be released so they “ping pong” around the body wreaking havoc wherever they are and worst of all, these toxins that are ping ponging around are even more dangerous than they were before the cleanse because of Phase 1! This is why people often feel worse instead of better during a cleanse (especially earlier on), This is a signal that the body is not excreting the toxins being released and something is wrong.
What’s the most important thing the body needs for Phase 2 detoxification? Protein! Protein is converted into amino acids which holds hands with our dangerous toxins and drags them kicking and screaming out of the body. Yay protein!
It is possible to protein-load before doing a fast, particularly for someone whose body is used to burning fat instead of carbohydrates (such as those on a primal or paleo diet). This can allow for enough stored up protein to support Phase 2 detoxification.
Should I fast? How long?: If you decide to fast or do the Master Cleanse, consider doing it for only one to three days and doing a more gentle anti-inflammatory cleanse for the rest of the duration. The Master Cleanse is a ten day protocol which can be extremely unsafe for anyone. If you have blood sugar issues or normally consume a lot of sugars, grains, fruits and/or refined carbohydrates, doing a fast or the Master Cleanse is likely to make your blood sugar worse and runs the risk of harming your adrenal glands which have to compensate for the stress on a body that a fast creates. We need healthy, functioning adrenal glands to deal with stresses and give us energy. Harming your adrenal function risks chronic fatigue, inability to deal with stress, anxiety, overwhelm, sleep concerns and more.
Fine. How long should I do a safe cleanse? If it’s safe… You can do it forever. That’s the beauty. The longer you do it, the better results you have. If you only do it for a week, you will be healthier than a week ago! I suggest doing a 3-4 week, anti-inflammatory (safe) cleanse several times a year (once a season ideally) to achieve optimal health (safely).
Not for Weight Loss: Do not do the Master Cleanse or a fast for weight loss as you will gain the weight back and people with weight concerns are likely to have metabolic issues that make this form of cleanse dangerous. Consider instead eating an anti-inflammatory diet and doing a more gentle cleanse to create a healthy lifestyle that can be long-term.
There seems to be a lot of frenzied excitement regarding Beyonce and her weight loss effects from doing the Master Cleanse. But here’s the thing… 1) She gained all the weight back right away, once the cleanse was over 2) She did a modified Master Cleanse and ate vegetables during it so it wasn’t quite so unhealthy 3) She was glad to return to her normal diet (it didn’t create a life-long lifestyle change in her, which any good cleanse should) 4) She was healthy to start with and was under constant care of a huge medical team (she’s a super star after all) 5) She only did it for a movie and suggests nobody else does: “I would never recommend it to anyone unless you are doing a movie and it’s necessary, and you have proper help. There are ways to lose weight healthily if you want to lose weight, but this was for a film.” Ahh that’s my girl!
Okay, that’s the simple, down and dirty of making your cleanse safe. There is more of course regarding exercise, what foods to eliminate, what foods and nutrients to add in, how to support elimination of toxins, etc. etc. etc.
Have more questions about doing a cleanse, ask below. Also, if you’ve done a cleanse/detox before, I would love to hear your experience!
Plus, learn all about the anti-inflammatory diet by signing up for our free Anti-Inflammatory Video Training Series.