Detox, should you or shouldn’t you

Well, should you or shouldn’t you. There is such a lot of information around supporting both the ‘should’ and the ‘shouldn’t’ that it is hard to know if it would be worth the effort.

First of all let’s have a look at the purpose of detoxification. This is in essence to give your organs of digestion and elimination a chance to do some housekeeping. It requires a lot of blood supply and energy to process and eliminate food, and the purpose of detoxification is to remove the load from the digestive system and give your body a chance to renew and reinvigorate itself.

In ancient days people always chose the coming of spring, after a long winter in which fresh food was not available, to perk themselves up with a ‘spring tonic’. This usually involved eating the fresh green vegetables which were again available, and drinking vegetable broths and drinking infusions of fresh herbs to clean the blood and refresh to liver and to provide some much needed fibre to a bowel grown sluggish from the lack of fresh fibrous food during the cold weather.

The same principle can be applied today, we can choose a time to detox after Christmas when we feel awful from all the over eating and over drinking we have been doing, or any time we feel we have let our healthy lifestyle slip for whatever reason.

The first important thing to do is to choose a suitable time. Don’t choose a time when you have a number of important social occasions coming up, choose a time when you can devote yourself to healing and refreshing, a time when you can be selfish, a time just for you. If you can do a detox during a holiday that would be perfect, but if that isn’t possible don’t let that put you off. But, no social occasions for the time period you choose is important. The reason for this is so you can relax quietly at home after work and go to bed early. Sleep is a very important restorative function. We all know how awful we feel when we don’t have enough sleep!

Next thing to decide is the length of time you wish to devote to your detox. It can be anything from two days to two weeks, but a week or ten days is best.

Then it is time to decide just what method of detox to use. There are a number of commercial packs available but it is just as easy to work out a programme for yourself. If you are going to do your detox while continuing to work, it is important to choose one in which you get enough to eat, You don’t want to feel faint and ravenous in the afternoons and fall on the office biscuit supply like a starving wolf.

A simple choice is one with non reactive foods. In this you eat cooked brown rice and steamed vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato, green beans, cauliflower. You eat this for all of your meals each day. This food is easy to digest and reduces the work of the digestive system. To drink you can have green tea or peppermint or chamomile tea, and water, lots of it. You must cut out black tea and coffee. By eating in this manner you are also cutting out dairy and wheat along with caffeine.

Another choice could be to begin your programme with two days on juices. It is best to choose mostly vegetable juices as these are not so high in sugar as most fruits. A good combination is carrot, celery, beetroot, apple and ginger. This is very cleansing and provides a lot of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. After two days on juices you can then move to raw food. Eat only raw vegetables and fruit. If you are doing this for seven days you can add small amounts of nuts such as almonds and brazils for the last four days. Small amounts unfortunately does mean small, 10 almonds per day, or five brazil nuts per day.

If you have assigned only a weekend to your detox, day one could be raw food and juices and day two could be brown rice and steamed vegetables.

In a detox programme it is usually a case of getting worse before you get better. If you drink a lot of coffee or cola drinks you can expect to feel quite toxic when you give them up. Many people get a dull headache and a coated tongue, and feel very tired. Some experience all sorts of aches and pains. This usually passes somewhere between days three and five. This is an important reason to choose your time carefully. It is not a time to be under a lot of work pressure or stress.

It is very important to plan to spend as much time relaxing as you can. Go to bed very early and if you like to read in bed, choose topics that will not excite or agitate you in any way. If you prefer to watch television, or watch DVDs, choose relaxing material.

While you are detoxing your body, it is a good idea to also detox your mind. If you have any particular worrying matters going on, try to resolve them before you start your programme. If particular people upset you or make you angry, try not to see them for the duration of your detox. Choose whatever suits you to enable you to feel calm and relaxed. Some people like to play soothing music, some like to practice Tai Chi, some prefer yoga, and then there are others who find physical activity relaxing and a good way to de stress. Go for a run or a swim, whatever will achieve the outcome of a calm, relaxed state.

When the allotted time for your detox is over, please do not celebrate it by going on a sugar or alcohol binge because you will feel absolutely terrible if you do. Your body will have adjusted to being without these things and they will act as the poisons they really are.

It is a good idea to reintroduce foods back in to your diet slowly when you complete your programme. Eat one group of foods, for example wheat or dairy products one day, then leave a day in between eating any different foods to see how you feel. You will then know if the foods do not suit you or make you feel sick.

When you have completed your programme and you  move to the wonderful exhilarating feeling of true health, you will have a powerful reason to stick to a healthier way of living.

Endometriosis, the Natural Way

In order to understand the ‘natural way with endometriosis’ it is important to know the meaning of the term”Wholistic Medicine”. This term is used to describe the approach a Naturopath takes to the health problems of an individual person. We believe that only if one is untroubled in the areas of emotional health, physical health and environmental health, and there is a balance between these areas, can we then say this person is well. Our health and wellbeing are affected by the food we eat, the things we drink, the thoughts we think, the way we relate to those around us, and where we work and live. We cannot separate any one area and deal with that alone. To do so would be symptomatic only.

If we imagine a cake with one wedge cut out of it, that would represent symptomatic medicine. This way of treating a person looks only at their symptoms, and tries to find a way to suppress those symptoms without taking into consideration any other problems a person has. Symptomatic medicine does not consider that any body system has to be treated in conjunction with the whole, it believes you deal only with the problem areas.

If we imagine the whole cake, then we have an idea of Wholistic Medicine, that every body system, including the intellect and emotions, are exquisitely inter-related and if one is affected, all are in some way affected, off balance.  The role of Wholistic Medicine is to balance, to re-establish harmony.


What is Endometriosis

There are a number of theories as to the cause of Endometriosis. One of them is retrograde menstruation. The idea the endometrial cells pass through the fallopian tubes during menstruation and colonise parts of the peritoneal cavity. where they attach, grow and function. Common sites for the cells are in or on the tubes, ovaries, pouch of Douglas, rectosigmoid. These cells behave like their identical twin, the endometrial lining of the uterus in that they swell and bleed at menstruation.

Another theory is that we are born with the cells in place and something triggers them to behave inappropriately. It is estimated that most women complain of period pain for six years before a diagnosis of endometriosis is made. While you can tell a lot from the symptom picture the only truly accurate diagnosis is by laparoscopy.

The symptoms of endometriosis vary from woman to woman. Some have severe pain before and after their period commences. Some have pain on intercourse. In some cases the stabbing pain comes on at ovulation and lasts well in to menstruation. Some seem to have pain most of the time. Heavy bleeding is a problem many women have to contend with, some to the extent of being afraid to leave home. Bowel problems are quite common as well, including the painful passing of stools and constipation or diarrhoea. One of the signs of endometriosis is the period beginning with blood that looks like coffee grounds, this can last for a few days before the blood turns bright red, and the period can end with brown blood. Another sign can be a smelly brown discharge from the navel.

The medical treatment for Endometriosis is to put the patient on the pill. Because the pill prevents ovulation the cells do not swell and bleed and therefore the pain is not experienced. Well that is the theory anyway. In many cases even though on the pill the sufferer still feels quite a lot of pain. There are other medical drugs used, some with the outcome of turning off the hormonal flow at the level of the pituitary with the result the patient experiences menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. Whatever medical treatment is used there is usually a downside.

The Natural treatment for Endometriosis is to use herbal medicine and diet to normalize the hormonal function and to stop pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. The herbal medicine prescribed would be an individual mix made up to deal specifically with the patient’s symptoms. Something to normalize hormones, something for pain, maybe something for heavy bleeding, and always a herb to help the liver to function better.

The diet would be based on the removing as many zenoestrogens as possible from the food intake and also from the lifestyle. A zenoestrogen is a substance with the ability to act like an estrogen in the body. Examples of zenoestrogens are pesticides, dioxins, growth stimulators in chicken. The patient would be asked to eat only certified organic chicken and to wash and peel all fruit and vegetables before eating. Tampons are not to be used as they contain dioxins.

I have found that many women with endometriosis eat a lot of diary products, particularly cheese. Cutting out all diary is important. Cheese is a mould, contains yeast and is a saturated fat and must not be eaten. If there is a high intake of sugar in the diet that needs to be taken out as well. Alcohol is included in sugar intake. If a lot of wine and beer is drunk then that needs to be given up. I know that sounds like the kiss of death to the social life so the good news is you can have vodka. The emotions play a big part in endometriosis. Many women are upset and frightened. Upset about their future, particularly in regard to their fertility. Many are told ‘endometriosis can cause infertility’ and then believe they are infertile. The question ‘Will I be able to have children?’ is a very important one. Frightened of the future, ‘Will I have to live with this pain forever?’ Frightened of the side effects of the drugs given by the medical profession. There is a beautiful, safe and effective system of help to be found in the Bach Flower Remedies, these work on various different emotions such as fear, anger, anxiety, worry and are always incorporated in to my treatment for Endometriosis.

In summary I would like all sufferers of Endometriosis to know there is another way to treat your condition, a natural way that will bring about relief of symptoms and a return to normal functioning of your reproductive system. The treatment with herbal medicine takes a minimum of three months and the dietary changes need to be in place forever, but this is a small price to pay for a pain free life. It is always best to seek professional advice rather than attempt to treat yourself for something as complex as endometriosis.