Sunday, February 19, 2012

Secret 36: Spring-Clean with Juices and Saunas

This is my favorite chapter. A more accurate title would be “Secret 36: Detoxify”. As mentioned in my blog on water (Secret 34), an elegant and simple way of viewing illness and health is as follows:

Health: Toxins into body < toxins removed from body
Illness: Toxins into body > toxins excreted from body

A body that is able to successfully detoxify is healthier than a body that is compromised by toxins. A body that is provided with freshly harvested, organic, nutrient-rich food has a rich and powerful detoxification toolkit available to rid itself of toxins. Illness is a sign that the body is overloaded with toxins and can no longer cleanse or heal itself.  In the early 1920ies, Scottish surgeon Sir William Arbuthnot-Lane summarized it in the following manner: “There is but one disease, and that is not sufficient drainage”. 1

So what are these toxins, how do they enter our bodies, and how does our body rid itself of them?

Points of entry include the skin (air), mouth (food/air/water), nose (air, gases), and senses (visual, olfactory, touch).

We expose our bodies to a slew of toxins, knowingly and unknowingly, and often repeatedly and with good intention (but often undesirable consequences):

  •   cosmetics and toiletries (especially those used on a regular basis: soap, deodorant, shaving cream, toothpaste, shampoo, make-up) 2 
  •   medicines (especially those that are used daily for extended periods of time)
  •   the effluents and by-products of toxic waste sites (these zones are often off-limits for permanent residential use, so instead are used for playgrounds, churches or fitness centers. If you find a large, empty plot in the middle of a densely populated area, you might ponder why this ’valuable’ land is empty)
  •   GMOs or genetically modified organisms. In the U.S., most foods that contain canola, corn or soybean are highly likely to be GMO foods unless these three ingredients are specifically labeled as ‘USDA certified organic’. The U.S. consumer is not protected by clear labeling of GMO ingredients; in fact, most consumers in the U.S. are unaware that the food they are purchasing in the grocery aisles contains GMO ingredients. Employees of Whole Foods, (a natural foods supermarket chain in the U.S.) have told me in all sincerity that their grocery store is GMO free. Doctors are often just as uninformed as employees of health food stores. I once asked a doctor I was seeing for a general check-up about her thoughts on GMO food. She asked me:"what is GMO?"
  •    household cleaners
  •    pesticides
  •    cigarettes
  •   'food' containing artificial flavorings, additives, colorings, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, nutritionally-void, filler substances and other substances that never have previously been alive
  •   casual drugs (and not so casual drugs. The recent, regrettable death of Whitney Houston comes to mind)
  •    excessive alcohol (Amy Winehouse?)
  •   car exhaust (this tends to be especially noticeable in large, Western cities on Monday mornings)
  •     other air pollution
  •     water pollution
  •     soil pollution
  •     heavy metals
  •     carcinogens
  •    by-products created by the interaction of packaging and packaged foods (canned food, water bottles, juices in plastic bottles)
  •   EMR (electromagnetic radiation) or radio frequency radiation from cell phone towers and microwave ovens. At 580 to 1,000 mW/cm2 the U.S. cell phone tower standard is one of the worst in the world. In Australia this is 200 mW/cm2, Italy and Russia 10 mW/cm2, Switzerland at 4 mW/cm2, and Austria at 0.1 microwatts (pulsed)
  •     proximity to high voltage power lines in residential areas and near schools
  •     emissions from digital clocks and wireless electronic devices
  •     materials used in clothing, detergents used to wash clothes, fumes
  •     fire retardant materials used in children’s night clothes
  •     building materials used in homes, offices, and schools (i.e. asbestos)
  •     chemicals in carpets, paints, and furniture
  •    the non-thermal effects of radio frequency radiation (in other words, long-term, chronic exposure to low levels of radiation).
     Organs of detoxification: spleen, liver, kidneys, skin, lymphatic system, immune    system, heart, our minds (the benefit of positive thoughts, the power of knowledge;   reading the latest scientific literature about insidious pollutants and how to protect  yourself).

     Points of exit: urine, stool, exhaled air, sweat, spit, mucus, phlegm, breast milk (?). surgical excision of cancerous tumors, words, emotions, positive thinking, laughter.

 Activities to reduce the toxic burden on your body:

  •    drink lots of clean water
  •    take care of your immune system
  •    provide your body with adequate rest and ample, deep, undisturbed sleep
  •    enjoy nutritious food (fresh, organic vegetables, legumes and fruit, loose-leaf teas esp. herbal teas or green tea, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage; garlic and onion)
  •     obtain enough fiber (bran, oatmeal, vegetables, fruit, legumes)
  •     breathe clean air (ventilate your home if the outdoor air is less polluted than the indoor air)
  •     engage in  physical exercise
  •    expose your body to different temperatures in rapid succession or for an extended period of time (Kneipp bath, cold and hot showers, sauna 160 F, Turkish bath 115 F, hot yoga at 105 F and 40% humidity)
  •    fast (water, juice) 
  •    have a colonic irrigation or enema (if you do not have one or more daily stool movements, you might want to try this once, or just buy a juicer and drink fresh vegetable/fruit juices several times a week
  •    choose a positive attitude
  •    seek out companionship (humans, pets)
  •    build a steadfast, strong emotional support group
  •    engage in hobbies (activities that provide you pleasure and joy and do not harm others)
  •    laugh long and hard
  •    choose positive, inspiring, uplifting literature and other sources of entertainment
  •    take advantage of any and every occasion to gather and celebrate with fellow humans
  •    seek out festivities and festivals, ‘fiestas’
  •      cough
  •    sneeze
  •    spit
  •    play or enjoy listening to music
  •    avoid your exposure to toxins!
  •    educate yourself about detoxification

You are not alone when you are trying to protect your health. Some U.S. government agencies that are responsible for protecting the health of the general public include:

  •     U.S. Federal Communications Commission: in charge of setting standards for    radiation from cell phone tower exposure
  •     U.S. Department of Agriculture
  •    Food and Drug Administration
  •    Environmental Protection Agency
Although these powerful, wealthy agencies were set up to protect health, it remains a sad fact that food, politics and profits are close companions. Many people who work for these agencies are former, present, or future employees of the companies they are supposed to regulate. This can be a source of conflicting interests. For example Donald Rumsfeld, twice U.S. Secretary of State, was the president of G.D. Searle and led the legalization of the artificial sweetener aspartame. He was the chairman of biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. In 1985 Searle was sold to Monsanto, a company much maligned by health food advocates. (Rumsfeld purportedly earned over $1 million from this sale). 

Also, government guidelines are not set in stone and are not immune to financial pressure exerted by lobbyists and special interest groups. Substances such as asbestos, nicotine, and thalidomide were once declared ‘safe’ for human health. Currently cell phone emissions are claimed to be ‘safe’.

Bottom line: try to reduce your exposure to toxins through awareness and deliberate actions, help the body cleanse itself as much as possible, and educate yourself on the actual dangers and healthy options.

1 The zealous surgeon went as far as removing colons from patients in order to help them detoxify. But that is another story. For most of Sir William Arbuthnot-Lane’s surgical career, his approach to health was more moderate and beneficial.
2Just for fun, gather together all the toiletries and cosmetics in your home.  Then check the health/toxicity rating of each product that you use on a regular basis at  The first time I did this, our average rating was five out of ten (ten being the most toxic, zero being the safest rating).  I have since switched to products with ratings of two and lower.  Note: just because a shampoo or moisturizing cream states that it is ‘organic’ does not mean that it is safe.