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Natural Awakenings National

Spring Detox: Gentle Natural Cleansing Works Best

Apr 30, 2013 12:34PM ● By Linda Sechrist

To secure optimum performance, maximize lifespan and maintain the warranty of vehicles, knowledgeable drivers follow the regular maintenance needs recommended in the owner’s manual. Similarly, many health practitioners, integrative physicians and chiropractors suggest that periodically cleansing the body’s inside works—flushing toxins and enabling the digestive process and organs like the liver and kidney to rest and reset—aids in maintaining, restoring and optimizing health.

Whether seeking a dramatic cleanup and clearing out or a simple tune-up, a natural, detoxifying cleanse eliminates accumulations of unwanted substances. Doctor of Chiropractic and Nutritionist Linda Berry, of Albany, California, and Brenda Watson, ReNew Life founder and a certified nutritional consultant from Clearwater, Florida, are recognized authorities on the subject.

Berry’s Internal Cleansing and Watson’s series of six books on digestive health that began with Renew Your Life stress that the process may be both a missing link in Western nutrition and a key to returning Americans to health. They both believe that specific medical concerns—including allergies, arthritis, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders and body pains—are directly related to toxicity, which responds well to gentle detoxification.

“Eighty percent of cancer cases are caused by environmental and food carcinogens.”
~ National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Their suggestions for reducing the overload based on 60 years of combined experience include eliminating pro-inflammatory processed foods, alcohol, coffee, refined sugars and Umeboshi Plumsbad fats; increasing daily intake of healthy, organic, fiber-rich foods; and gently cleansing at least twice a year, using a natural approach.

How to Begin

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the onset of spring and fall suggest appropriate times for internal cleansing. Although strictly protein drink fasts are not encouraged, a minimum of 20 grams of high-quality protein should be consumed daily. Read labels and pick a sugarless protein powder.

A simple one-day, weekend or seven-day cleanse for experienced or inexperienced individuals begins every morning with a total body dry skin brushing prior to showering, and then drinking a minimum of 10, eight-ounce glasses of water throughout the day. This includes a tasty green juice drink, followed by an eight-ounce glass of water for breakfast, lunch and a healthy afternoon snack. Watson’s favorite green cleansing recipe consists of liquefying one-and-a-half cucumbers, two stalks of celery, half a Granny Smith apple, a handful of spinach or any other type of green vegetable, a few sprigs of parsley and a tiny piece of lemon.

Then, an hour after breakfast and lunch, sip a cup of herbal tea, take two or three capsules of spirulina and two capsules of omega-3. For dinner, liquefy one teaspoon of red miso paste in eight ounces of hot water and add five sprigs of wakame seaweed.

“To fight hunger during the day, drink more water with lemon or ginger, warm herbal tea or green juices,” advises Watson.

To increase fiber intake, Berry suggests placing ingredients in a VitaMix or the more affordable NutriBullet, which pulverizes everything added, even whole flax seeds. Juicers, which are harder to clean after using, separate the liquid from the fibrous pulp, which human intestines need to create at least two daily bowel movements. Add oat or rice bran, citrus pectin or other natural fibers as a bulk agent.

A natural, non-chlorinated water enema using simple home apparatus available at local stores can also be incorporated into the regimen, as necessary, “An enema [initially] affects only the intestine’s lower third, so hold in the room-temperature water for five to 15 minutes, if possible,” suggests Berry.

What to Avoid

Safe, over-the-counter solutions for colon cleansing generally promote colon health and can nicely supplement a fast. Avoid products that contain senna leaf and cascara sagrada, which are potent laxatives.

Watson and Berry don’t recommend rigid “crash and burn” cleanses, such as those consisting solely of protein drinks or raw juices or lemon juice and water with maple syrup and cayenne pepper. “It’s better to cleanse gently with fresh green juices with meals consisting of brown rice and either raw, lightly steamed or roasted vegetables,” counsels Watson.

“Any detox program, if followed by eating whatever you want, not only doesn’t work, it has consequences,” adds Berry, who strongly advises easing back into a sensible diet after a cleanse. She notes that one client became ill from breaking her detox with a meal of barbeque ribs and beer.

Linda Sechrist is a senior staff writer for Natural Awakenings. She writes on why we are better together at

Umeboshi Tea
Umeboshi plums, termed “the king of alkaline foods”, are a species of apricots from Japan. A pickled fruit, they have a sour and salty flavor. Drinking umeboshi tea alkalizes the blood and works to relieve fatigue, nausea and indigestion while restoring energy.

Makes 1 cup. Drink one a day for one month.

1 umeboshi plum, rinse
1 cup purified water
½ tsp Japanese kuzu powder
2 or 3 drops tamari or gluten-free tamari

1. Remove seed from the plum. Cut remaining plum into small pieces or mash.
2. Place plum pieces, water and kuzu in a small sauce pan. Stir or whisk to dissolve the powder. It will look like milk with pink bumps.
3. Stir while heating at medium temperature for 3 to 5 minutes or until liquid turns clear and appears a little thicker. Turn off heat.
4. Add tamari drops and stir gently. Drink while hot.

Source: Recipe courtesy of Brenda Watson.
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