Many people set aside a week or a weekend twice a year to clean out debris from their homes. It’s their way of ridding their homes of excess clutter and starting fresh.
There are those who think this is a good idea for the body as well – believing that body cleansing gets rid of built-up toxins, especially in the liver, intestines and colon – organs that act as filters in the body and tend to get 'clogged.'
Detoxification diets help to eliminate environmental, metal and dietary toxins from the body to remove substances that get in the way of optimal health.
Many religions and health and fitness gurus have praised the benefits of detoxification practices for years. Some of the more popular ones include:
Usually done for two weeks to cleanse the liver and colon, remove dietary, environmental and chemical toxins, improve circulation, optimize health, increase energy and concentration, improve digestion and elimination and clear skin.
This diet calls for the elimination of sugar (all kinds and artificial sweeteners), caffeine (coffee, tea, sugar), alcohol, wheat, all dairy products, gluten (found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye), yeast, high-fat foods and processed foods from your diet. You substitute fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, brown rice, beans, herbal and green teas, water instead.
This is another type of detox diet, usually done for one to three days. With a juice fast, you drink fruit/raw vegetable juices and water only – no solid food at all. A juice fast provides your body with necessary vitamins and antioxidants and organic fruits and vegetables work best.
There are many possible side effects to a juice fast and it cannot be used by people with certain medical conditions. For more information, including precautions, and potential side effects, go to http://altmedicine.about.com/od/detoxcleansing/a/juice_fasting.htm.
Spiritual and philosophy leaders, including Jesus, Gandhi, Socrates and Plato, various religions and several different cultures have believed in the benefits of fasting for many years. Many people like to fast in the spring, to relieve winter weight gain and the accumulation of toxins – it’s a way to 'lighten up' for summer. Many people who do a water-only fast talk about the spirituality and profound sense of peace they feel while doing it and right after.
There are other types of herbal cleanses, colon cleanses, and diet cleanses, but many of these are commercial products with questionable value.
Dr. Steven L. Levy is a chiropractor in Woodbury.