by Dr. James Rouse
We are often asked for our opinions on cleansing and detox programs. Though it’s not a cut-and-dry answer, we do believe that periodic cleansing is a smart idea if you want to really Thrive. We usually recommend cleansing with the change of seasons or at least a few times a year. When we refer to cleansing, what we really mean is super clean eating. True fasting, like only consuming water for a length of time, is something that should be done under the supervision of a qualified health professional (with the blessing of your primary care doctor). There is a time and a place for fasting or modified fasting, but that isn’t the purpose of TEMT. The good news is that the TEMT Program is a very clean-eating program to begin with; if you commit to the TEMT style of eating, you’ll be in great shape. However, even a tobacco- and alcohol-free, 100 percent organic lifestyle cannot protect us from environmental exposure to toxins.
In the United States and across the planet, we are overcome and enveloped by toxins, literally marinating in a toxic stew that is playing a major role in our present disease crisis. But you only eat vegan, organic foods? We wish we could tell you that you’re safe from toxins, but the truth is, exposure to environmental toxins—from nonstick skillets and electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) to can linings, and from the air we breathe to the water we drink—is nearly unavoidable. And that’s why it may help to give your body a break every once in a while, to at least decrease the toxic burden and recharge all your vital organs.
So how do we deal with these unavoidable toxins when we are eating as clean and organic as possible? One of the simplest things we can do is to make sure we are drinking plenty of fresh, filtered water. If you don’t know the source of your tap water, it is wise to have it tested for possible contaminants like bacteria or heavy metals. It is quite simple (at least it is for a plumber) to install an under-the-sink carbon (or reverse osmosis) water filter that should make your water more than safe and fit to drink, just be sure to change out the filters regularly. We recommend a minimum water consumption of half your weight (in ounces). So for example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking at least 75 ounces of water daily, and more if you are working out regularly.
Cleansing and detox programs are all the rage these days; people are juicing, fasting, doing enemas, and having colonics on a regular basis. Some people cleanse to look better (lose weight, improve skin tone, and so on), some want to feel better, and some want both. Many cleansing programs offer a legitimate opportunity for the body to heal and to decrease systemic inflammation; but some cleansing programs may be too extreme and possibly unhealthy—even dangerous. It can become risky when there is a history of drug (prescription or recreational) or alcohol abuse, diabetes, heart disease, or obesity and you decide to cleanse on your own without being monitored by a doctor. We typically don’t buy in to the “all or nothing” mentality, meaning, you either starve yourself or you binge eat. Our program is meant to support the body’s natural detoxification processes through simple, clean eating. Having said that, we don’t mind a few days of juicing to give the body a break from whatever it is you’ve been feeding it, but we recommend mostly vegetable (as opposed to fruit) juices, diluted 50 percent with pure water, and try to drink something at least every two to three hours to avoid severe drops in blood sugar.
The good news: our bodies are naturally equipped for detoxification; our natural state is not inflamed. Our livers and kidneys are well suited to deal with and discard toxins, and keep us running smooth and clean. When your lifestyle becomes particularly burdensome, or you’ve lived on the more toxic side of life, it can be helpful and wise to offer your body a bit of extra support in getting itself back into balance and vitality.
Toxicity encourages inflammation. When the toxic burden becomes too great, the liver and kidneys cannot keep up. The result: our liver becomes sluggish and fatty, our kidneys become dysfunctional and inflamed, and we begin the steady decline into toxicity, increasing the likelihood for disease and feeling less than great. When your liver is not functioning at its best, you begin to feel fatigued. An inflamed liver is painfully inefficient at processing sugar, and this doesn’t just contribute to weight gain; it also compromises the entire body system. Our cells undergo greater assaults from free radicals, and they are unable to defend themselves.
But toxicity and the subsequent decline in our health, happiness, and well-being doesn’t have to be inevitable. You have an opportunity to make simple lifestyle shifts now that will keep your innate, natural detox systems running strong in spite of what is going on around you. The TEMT Program is all about supporting your liver and every organ system in the body.
Never underestimate the power of healthy eating as a way and means to help your body make daily, effective, and healthy detoxification happen. The TEMT eating plan is designed to nourish your natural detoxification systems. More specifically, TEMT naturally raises levels of glutathione, an important antioxidant that plays a major role in detoxification. Glutathione rules detoxification.
Glutathione is the queen of the antioxidant army, leading the way in healthy detoxification. We can raise glutathione levels in the body by increasing our intake of cysteine-containing (amino-acid) foods, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, poultry, yogurt, red peppers, garlic, onions, oats, eggs, and wheat germ. When you are living a more dramatic lifestyle (i.e., excess alcohol, sugar, tobacco, caffeine, processed foods), you deplete glutathione stores. Other foods that build glutathione include whey protein, asparagus, spinach, avocado, squash, melons, grapefruit, and peaches. Antioxidant-rich strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, bell peppers, and mangoes are particularly high in vitamin C, which also feeds glutathione.
If you are the type that likes to jump-start your life with new ways of being, then we recommend a two-week phase-in prior to embarking on the TEMT lifestyle. This looks like eliminating all forms of sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, tobacco, processed foods, fried foods, flour products, and limiting red meat and dairy products. Again, if you have a history of smoking or excessive intake of alcohol, we recommend you work with a doctor who can take you through the process. Of course we are biased towards naturopathic doctors, who are thoroughly trained and skilled in the area of nutrition and dotoxification. To find a registered or licensed naturopathic doctor in your area, visit naturopathic.org and click on “Find a Doctor.”
Periodic cleansing is a lifestyle choice that pays dividends beyond looks alone. Like all rituals that support being happy, sexy, and strong, you will be a source of leadership and inspiration for all who witness your commitment to living well. Set the intention and goal to keep your heart focused on the bigger story of your motivation, fueled by your desire to lead and serve. You will have all the fuel you need to keep your inspiration alive and very well!
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