Note: experiment started sunday, 5/6/12
For those of you that know me personally you already know that I do a body cleanse twice a year for three days. So how is this any different then what I already do?
Glad you asked friends.
This attempt will be a little longer then three days. I will be performing a one week cleansing based upon the recommendation from a highly respected naturopathic Doctor (I hate western medicine, no offense) I had been in touch with some time back and someone I like to call a mentor for me in my growth within health and wellness, Michael FitzGerald.
With my new-found passion for writing, working with my current clients, significant other obligations, exercise, stress, and honestly poor personal choices with regards to sleep and caffeine consumption….
I’m human, so sue me ok!
I have been feeling a little run down, fatigued both mentally and physically, digestive system is a little out of whack, concentration and mental clarity is not optimal, and reliance on caffeine has become a bit ridiculous….
I’m going to miss that sweet nectar from the brown bean gods.
Some of the above mentioned really wreck some havoc on your adrenal glands and cortisol levels. Hopefully through this process I can re-align everything and learn a bit more about the process of proper detoxification. Just another life experience!
Every one of us has a different physical make-up. The detoxification rates in-which we all remove toxins from our bodies is completely different. Some much faster then others. Our skin, lungs, kidneys, and lymphatic system help to remove these toxins in order for us to prevent illness, improved physical appearance (clear skin), heightened physical and emotional well-being, increased mental clarity (think foggy-brain), improved digestion, elimination of allergies (some food related), jump-start fat loss, and increased energy due to the limitations of having to digest food all day.
It is pretty clear that a “reset” of my system is needed. I am experiencing all of the above.
More importantly than the cleanse itself will be the adherence to proper physical and mental maintenance once the cleanse is complete. I will want to stick with a “Paleo” or real food nutritional approach. A limited consumption of toxins such as caffeine, sugar, and over-the-counter medications with an emphasis on water consumption, proper rest/sleep, adherence to an exercise program that does not promote over-training but does promote proper recovery.
To increase energy, improve digestion, remove dependance on caffeine and over-the-counter drugs (for headaches), and improve sleep length and quality. Lastly, to challenge myself and see if I can make it an entire week! I usually throw in the towel after 3-days. Huge strides in personal growth can be found by constantly challenging yourself to try new things. I consider these mini battles and with each victory we add a little swagger to our step.
I will use the Neera Cleanse as recommended by Dr. Drobot and Michael FitzGerald. I have used this for my 3-day cleanses in the past and am confident in the results as well as the science backed behind it. It is fairly straight forward. No food, supplements, medications, except for the drink for the entire length of the program.
A specific outline of the program can be found here. The Neera FAQ section is also an excellent resource if you are interested in learning more about detoxification. Anyone interested in trying something like this should consult with their physician and then educate themselves as much as possible about the benefits and dangers of detoxification. Some of which we will cover in this article.
Other types of cleanses and their risks.
Just like a million-and-one ways to skin a cat there are tons of ways to cleanse.
Juice cleanse Is the process of consuming fruits and vegetables in liquid form for an extended period of time. Usually 3-7 days. This method I am sure you have heard of. Pretty popular amongst the celeb scene.
Fasting Typically done with no food consumption of any kind for 3-7 days. The only liquids are water.
Raw food This one actually involves consuming some calories. By eating fresh and unprocessed foods, cutting out sugars, flours, and fatty foods (typically from meats and nuts). Usually lasts between 3 and 10 days.
Detox’s and cleanses do not come without their drawbacks. There are definitely some inherent risks and dangers.
But I’m not scared! I’ve done my research, consulted with people I trust that are familiar and have performed shorter cleanses in the past.
Fluid loss & dehydration While cleansing you can expect to have major fluid loss and possible dehydration if you are not careful. Severe headaches, stomach pains, fatigue, and shakes can all result from the loss of fluid while cleansing. Vital organs, brain function, and cardiac arrest can even occur.
Strength and muscle loss The decrease in calories, nutrients, and minerals can lead to the body turning to muscle mass as a source of energy. Without enough energy from calories the body has a difficult time supporting itself on a day-to-day basis. Low levels of certain minerals such as potassium can lead to heart conditions.
Nutrient deficiencies may also be prevalent. It may be a good idea to use a multi-vitamin, b-complex, and raw food greens drink to provide necessary vitamins and minerals.
The Neera Cleanse should provide sufficient nutrients for me to stay healthy. The length of the cleanse is also short enough to where I should not experience any adverse side effects.
Again, I am not a doctor and would not recommend that you perform a cleanse. You will be able to read my follow-up report from the experience and then be able to decide for yourself if it will be a healthy and beneficial method for you.
Some research behind this
The Pennington Biomedical Research Institute in Baton Rouge, LA conducted a study that included 8 men and 8 women who under went alternate day fasting. Body-weight, body composition, resting metabolic rate (RMR), respiratory quotient (RQ), temperature, glucose, insulin, and free fatty acids were assessed.
There findings reported no change in RMR or RQ while at the same time increasing fat oxidation and loss. Insulin levels also decreased.
With that said I could easily find a study that would not support this experiment. There is so much information out there now you can easily validate any opinion you have if you just look hard enough.
So how the F does detoxing actually work?
According to the Calgary Naturopathic Center there are 6-steps to healing. Outlined below are five of them. I plan on kicking ass at all and taking names later… ya dig?!
1. Our bodies have the ability to restore their own health. It is the doctor’s job to encourage this process through guidance and knowledge acquisition.
2. Illnesses NO NOT occur without a direct cause. These causes can range from physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. It is ideal to treat the cause and not the symptom. This is a concept that western medicine has not adopted yet in my opinion (I can see the emails pouring in now tearing me to shreds). For example, cholesterol medication. It treats the symptom of high cholesterol but does nothing to address the cause which is a lack of exercise, poor diet, improper rest. Most of our society is wrapped up in a quick fix. A temporary solution. To many of us are not willing to put in the effort and to make necessary changes that will SOLVE problems and create long-term solutions. Instead we opt for instant gratification.
Patience is a virtue
3. Illness serves a purpose in the body and acts as a reminder that we are doing something wrong
4. Treat the whole body. Physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Every thing is intertwined together.
5. Prevention through the recognition of improper lifestyle design habits. Correcting any imbalances that do not results in an optimal well-being. Wether that be through nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management, social implication, genetics, and various other lifestyle choices.
Through a detoxification program and/or cleanse I am will be resting my internal organs, stimulate my liver, kidneys, intestines, and skin to remove harmful toxins, improve blood circulation, as well as improve nutrient uptake after the process. One special note I will be paying special attention to is my iron levels. I typically donate blood every few months to the American Red Cross and have not been able to do so for the past year due to extremely low iron levels.
Our bodies already perform detoxification through the kidneys, liver, bowles, lymph, skin, and lungs. Every so often toxins can be retained and stored in our system. The process of cleansing re-enforces our bodies own natural ability and allows it to perform detoxification at a heightened state and will remove any backed up impurities.
I am hoping that this challenge will promote nutrient uptake and eliminate some dietary habits such as caffeine consumption that may inhibit iron uptake. This will be noted in my conclusion after the week challenge.
That’s a wrap
If anyone is interested in learning more about proper detoxification and cleansing processes I recommend taking this questionnaire. As well as consulting a naturopathic doctor in your area or by phone to see if it is right for you.
If your sole goal with doing a cleanse is weight loss my advice is to try building consistent nutritional and exercise habits. Cleansing is not a quick fix by any means and is not a substitute for shitty eating and in-activity. Building a lifestyle that first emphasizes health nutritionally, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually should be obtained first.
Lets get this party started and let this personal experiment begin! Notes to follow in a week!
Here are a few more resources worth checking out. Some sciencey…. some not so much.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Study
UC Berkley funded research: Study
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Study