There have been many articles floating around the interwebs in recent weeks. They go something like “Detox is a scam because our kidneys and livers keep us clean and healthy. Furthermore, those promoting health regeneration through detox are crooks just trying to strip money from sick and health conscious people. Eat everything in moderation and don’t trust anyone who mentions detox. Ever. “
No, no, no.
Whilst I agree that there are people out there selling snake oil and hyped up bottled juice fasts, the concept of detoxification and cleansing is nothing new.
Simple herbs like dandelion have been used in detox teas for thousands of years. Hippocrates used enemas and fasting to treat patients and tribes use herbs such as Cerasee (Bitter Melon) as purifiers. In fact, before modern medicine most people in society would use herbs and natural remedies. And they didn’t all die at 30. Some cultures with good sanitation such as the Ancient Greeks enjoyed longevity similar to our lifespans today thanks to a diet high in fruit and vegetables and natural herbs. Leonardo Da Vinci and Pythagoras were Fruitarians at times. Many such as Plato fasted, along with Jesus and many monks today who enjoy simple lives free of Western health problems. There are cultures today such as the Hunzas in Pakistan who live in remote areas and live LONGER than Americans and show very little sickness or disease. Why?
In the 21st Century, we are beyond blessed. Food is flown in from around the world, so we have access to fresh produce year round. We also have the ability to blend and juice fresh vegetables to extract maximum nutrients.
However, the demand for quick meals developed a new industry of packaged food. Chemicals that the human body has never ingested before (Google Trisodium Phosphate which is in most breakfast cereals including ‘healthy’ Cheerios) are now a part of our daily lives. The average American eats only 5% of his diet as fruits and vegetables, consumes alcohol on a regular basis, meats and dairy daily, along with chemicals, food colorings, GMO foods and tobacco smoke. On top of this, cancer rates are rising, along with autism, immune disorders and heart disease. In conjunction with this health epidemic, many people like me who were unable to get help through the medical system have turned to detox and natural foods to get well. And succeeded.
Two years ago, I was your average young person dealing with severe CFS, autoimmune disorders, chronic depression and Lyme Disease. I tried eating gluten free. I was vegan. I bought organic foods. After an ill prescribed 3 month stint on Doxycycline from the last doctor I ever trusted I became unable to eat most foods or walk to employment. The future was not looking good. Out of desperation, I juice fasted for two weeks. For the first time in years, I felt less inflamed and had energy. A heart condition temporarily resolved itself. I was onto something.
When my insurance sadly refused to cover any more testing, I remembered my juice fast. What if I ate the foods instead? I switched for what I thought was a temporary time period to a fruit and vegetable only diet. The results were shocking. Despite eating relatively clean, I went into horrible detox for about a month, feeling about as good as a heroin addict in rehab. Having quit cigarettes and alcohol prior to this, quitting grains was by far the hardest thing I have ever done. At the end of the month, I was out of bed and managed a 5 hour hike. I was hooked.
After a transitional period, I soon came across raw diets. They sounded cold, crunchy and unappetizing but I was struggling with very bad seasonal allergies that were not responding to prescription medication despite my fruits and veggie program. I picked the one with low fat and lots of fruits, and read about how it supposedly detoxifies the body. I wasn’t cutting anything out this time, I was just not cooking it. I ate watermelon only for a few days, then bananas, then green smoothies. It became sadly apparent that my kidneys and liver simply hadn’t been able to handle everything I put my body through. Some of the details are too horrible to mention here but I saw some of the strangest things I have seen in my life leaving my body. Neon yellow. And as soon as they left I felt amazing. On a banana detox I released lung matter that must have been created when I was smoking 4 years earlier. It was black and pure acid. Having always struggled with breathing, I could breathe deeply for the first time in years. From conventional 19c bananas. Holy hell.
As a skeptic, I always avoided the idea of colon cleansing. After 6 months as a raw vegan I had nightmares about the results of that particular cleanse. 20 years of eating pizza will get you one day or another. I read about a lady who released crayons on a colon cleanse at age 40 that she ate when she was 5. You get my drift? All these results took me time and patience and came in stages, when my body was ready. The anti detox critics are right that the juices and fasting don’t have superpowers. But our bodies do. And when given the right foods they will detox, heal and regenerate.
Having now started my own detox group on Facebook, I am thrilled to find company with hundreds of people who have fought through food cravings onto a simple raw diet and made themselves well. MS, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Cancers, (I got rid of my own precancerous cells), Lyme, autoimmune, depression, you name it – people have done it. It’s truly awe inspiring when you realize these people fought so hard to regain their health and independence. My closest fruit buddy was in bed for four years until she found out she could detox over time with fruits. She is 90% better on a budget of around $5 a day in California and working out again. It takes time, patience and the ability to dig deep when you are going through healing which isn’t always pleasant. But the tallest mountains have the best views. And to deny our experiences is downright insulting but perhaps not surprising.
I have nothing to sell and to date I have made $0 for sharing my love of raw detox with online communities and friends who approach me. I don’t encourage people to buy anything unless they want to and I released my symptoms inexpensively with cheap, conventional produce from markets, ALDI and Costco. My food costs are approximately $10 a day.
The naysayers are probably right that stepping away from a poor diet for 3 days to buy $200 worth of goji berry juice with powdered acai will not give you any health benefits. They are right that there are people out there who prey on sick people to sell herbs that will never work unless you change your overall lifestyle. Additionally people shouldn’t jump into 100% fruit diets or water fasting from a toxic diet. Water fasting should always be done under medical supervision at the True North clinic.
However they are wrong that detox can’t help you put diseases into remission. They are wrong that it has to be expensive and they are most certainly wrong that our poor kidneys can deal with the insane amount of crap some of us pour into our sensitive bodies. Just as a scraped knee will heal when we get out of the way, so can many internal health conditions if we are patient and provide natural, simple, easy to digest foods such as fruits, vegetables and clean water. Never give up on your health and follow your intuition.