The first day of January sees millions of New Year’s resolutions to improve, or resolve perceived problems. The most popular of these revolve around detox, weight loss, fitness, and the breaking of bad habits or addiction. Unfortunately, research suggests that only a very small percentage of these pledges are actioned – in fact, by week 3 of the New Year, most of them are already distant memories.
In the following article I will endeavour to provide some pointers and ideas that might enable you to reboot your New Year’s resolve to tackle those problems that were important enough to attract the initial resolution. In this issue we will focus specifically upon detox.
“I resolve to cleanse my body through detox”
This is a great idea for most people, because very few of us would not benefit from cleansing the vestiges of our previous year's excesses. The problem is that it requires both effort and self-discipline and so it tends to be put in the "too hard" basket until the following year. That is a shame, because a percentage of us simply won't be here at this time next year due to this constant postponement. Many of us could prevent the potential stroke or heart attack through adhering to that initial cleansing promise. Here are 5 easier ways to detox, or prevent further contamination:
5 Ways to Reverse or Restrict your Toxic Load
1.Try a juice fast
Fasting has been institutionalised in many cultures for good reason. Digestion is the body's most energy-intensive process and, when we stop eating, that energy goes elsewhere. The immune system and detoxification system receive much of this surplus energy, and the body is cleansed accordingly. I remember interviewing a famous natural health practitioner once and asking how one could best fast-track recovery from a cold or flu. His immediate response was to suggest that we "just stop eating!" Water fasting is both difficult and harsh but there is no doubt that it is beneficial.
A softer option, for the less courageous amongst us, can still be of tremendous benefit. The juice fast simply involves two days eating nothing but salads and fruit, which is not difficult at all. This is followed by three days of drinking nothing but freshly prepared fruit and vegetable juices, then two more days of just salads. I did it twice last year and lost 3 kg each time – and more importantly, I felt rejuvenated, energised and amazingly clear-headed. I am about to embark on my first juice fast for 2014 to set myself up for an upcoming seminar tour of North and South America. Juice fasts also offer a huge antioxidant hit that is not present in a water fast.
2. Oxygenate to cleanse
Oxygen is a major player in our natural detoxification system, and yet over half of people tested with an infrared oxygen meter reveal levels that are less than ideal. Your oxygen levels should read 98% to 100% on this meter, but over half of us do not make the grade. Cancer, viruses, fungi and most pathogens, struggle to survive in a highly oxygenated environment, so there is clear motivation to lift our blood oxygen. This can be achieved through supplementing with stabilised oxygen drops, using an oxygen machine, drinking green drinks (Green Defence™ from NTS Health), alkalising, avoiding nitrates, aerobic exercise and, easiest of all, breathing deeply.
Most of us do not breathe properly and this compromises our oxygen intake whilst also increasing our stress levels. Stress further reduces oxygen, so it is a double whammy. We need to breathe from our stomachs, not our chests, and the breathing should be slow and deep. The resulting abdominal contraction pumps lymphatic fluid and bestows a wonderful sense of relaxation (hence the emphasis on deep breathing in all forms of meditation).
If you are a chest breather it is very difficult to break the habit because we so rarely focus upon our breathing. Here's a tip that might help – in fact, it could easily become one of your strategies to regenerate for the New Year. Set your phone or digital watch to beep every hour and, on that cue, pause for three deep breaths. This should only take sixty seconds out of your time-starved day, but after ten days your body will start deep breathing automatically on a regular basis. You are kick starting a life-changing process through this period of enforced conscious breathing. Do it for the next month and marvel at the difference!
3. Give your liver some much-needed support
The Balinese smile upon their liver in their daily meditation. This might be a good strategy in light of cell biologist Bruce Lipton's findings in relation to the impact of love, at a cellular level. The liver is the most important detox organ and it is the organ most assaulted in the rampant contamination we live amongst in this crazy world. Dr Sandra Cabot, the author of the hugely popular book The Liver Detox Diet, has suggested that no one has walked through her surgery door that did not need a liver detox. Here are some ideas:
Silymarin is a biochemical found in a common weed called milk thistle. It concentrates in the seed that forms from the purple flower of this spiny plant and it is a remarkably powerful liver cleansing substance. It is readily available as herbal tinctures or as seeds and it can easily be included in green smoothies to further increase the multiple health benefits of these antioxidant-packed, nutrient-dense day starters.
The nutrients most required by the liver are selenium, glutathione and alpha lipoic acid. These three and more are included in the NTS formulation LiverLove™. This is pleasant-flavoured powder that can also be added to your green smoothie in the morning. LiverLove™ is a great way to provide your liver with a New Year’s treat after the excesses of the holiday season.
When we talk about a liver supporting diet it is hard not to recall the words of NZ naturopath, Kevin McDonald, during my popular interview with this healer. Kevin claims that "the liver hates anything with eyes". Many liver rejuvenating diets are invariably light on meat and I tend to feel that a period of vegetarianism is an integral component of liver rejuvenation. It needn't be forever, but a few months break from dealing with the byproducts of decaying animal flesh in your digestive tract must be beneficial.
4. Alkalise your body
There has been much hype over recent years about the need to reduce acidity to bolster our resilience. There is no doubt that this is a worthwhile strategy and natural health professionals the world over can list their many successes when clients bite the bullet and seriously address their acidity. The bottom line is that cellular oxygen delivery is impacted when the body is acidic. Cancer, for example, flourishes in a low oxygen environment and many pathogens favour this condition. Attendees at our four-day Certificate in Nutrition Farming® courses are encouraged to test their urine pH as part of a general report card they receive during the course. The vast majority of people are acidic and it is really not that hard to fix.
Here are some simple tips to alkalise and live a longer, happier life:
Purchase a set of pH strips from NTS Health so you can monitor your progress.
Drink lemon juice in a cup of hot water first thing every morning. Surprisingly, lemon juice is actually very alkalising due to a high potassium component.
Correct your magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is the most alkalising of all minerals and yet over 75% of us are deficient in this mineral. I call magnesium the "master mineral" because it is involved in almost everything. The health of your brain, bones, blood, heart, liver, muscles, joints and circulation are all intimately linked to magnesium and a deficiency of this mineral is now considered a root cause of depression. The exciting new way to fast track a magnesium correction involves transdermal magnesium, where delivery through the skin rather than the stomach is considered to be ten times more efficient. MagSorb™ from NTS Health is the highest quality transdermal magnesium available and has rapidly become our largest selling health product in several countries.
Reduce your sugar intake. Sugar is acidifying and most of us consume too much of this white poison. In 1900, in the US, the average consumption of sugar was 5 kg per person, per year. By the year 2000, this figure had risen to 75 kg per person, per year and sugar had become our largest killer. If you can not break the powerful addiction, then consider swapping to xylitol (SweetSure™ from NTS Health). This is a natural sugar with a glycemic index (GI) ten times lower than conventional sugar and it features a much lower calorie count. The big story with xylitol, however, relates to the fact that it is the only sugar that is alkalising. It also kills the organisms responsible for tooth plaque, which is a handy side effect. Stevia is the other healthy sweet alternative. This South American herb is 200 times sweeter than sugar but has none of the negatives. In fact, it has been shown to stimulate the pancreas and also lower blood pressure. It contains zero calories and has no glycemic index at all, so it is a remarkable alternative for the sugar addicted.
Increase consumption of fruit and vegetables. The acid/alkaline balance in your body is about the balance between alkalising minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium and acid-forming minerals like phosphorus and sulfur. The alkalising minerals are abundantly present in fruit and vegetables, while the acid generators are largely found in protein (red meat, chicken, fish etc). If you are acidic, you need to lift your intake of salads, steamed vegetables, green smoothies and fruit and reduce the animal flesh component. In case you are wondering, I am using the distasteful "flesh" references here in an attempt to work my way into a period of vegetarianism for myself. This will help reduce my own acidity following my holiday excesses.
Put a knob of ginger in your green drink. All green drinks are alkalising and ginger is the most alkalising of all herbs, while also offering a powerful anti-inflammatory benefit.
5. Invest in a far-infrared sauna
This is probably my favourite detox tool because it is effortless, painless and incredibly effective. A forty minute session in a far-infrared sauna is said to be equivalent to jogging 5 km, in terms of a heart workout and the burning of calories. These two- and three-person cabins come with a light and built-in stereo. You can start off reading a book or magazine and humming to your favourite music before the flood of sweat makes the reading impossible. You lose almost double the amount of sweat in these saunas compared to conventional saunas and yet the heat is only 50°C (vs 75°C), so it is far less oppressive. However, the big benefit with this Japanese invention is detox. The far-infra-red rays penetrate deep into the fat, where chemical contaminants are stored, and the toxins are pumped out in your sweat. It is not uncommon for farmers using this technology for the first time to smell the unmistakable stench of 24D and other chemicals that may have sat in their fat like a time bomb for years. FIR sauna cabins are now available for around $2000 (AUD) and portable units can be purchased on EBay for as little as $300 (AUD). I see it as an essential investment in a world containing over 77,000 registered chemicals.
Detox is something from which everyone benefits, and it can actually mean the difference between life and death for those of us who have practiced “mañana" for too many years. Hopefully these ideas might serve to reboot your enthusiasm to improve yourself in 2014. I wish you every success.