Hi everyone, Dr. Junger here.
Last week I shared with you Ari’s story about how he reduced the signs of puffiness and aging by doing a cleanse.
Today, I want to talk with you about two other symptoms that I see all the time, allergies and constipation, and how a cleanse is one of the best ways to address them.
Tony, a businessman, was in good control of his health. He practiced yoga and exercised regularly, ate at good restaurants when he went out, and cooked with high-quality organic ingredients. But in the three years since turning forty, he’d noticed a dip in his energy.
He was getting more headaches than in his younger days. His body wasn’t as lean as he’d expected from all his yoga and he had love handles that wouldn’t leave. The most pronounced change was seasonal allergies that got worse each year. They were now so bad he had to take prescription medication. He had heard that allergies were getting worse in today’s “dirtier” environment. He hoped a cleanse might help his problem and get him off the medication.
Allergies are one of the most common symptoms of toxicity. But detecting the cause isn’t as easy as staying away from the things that make you sneeze. Allergic responses to food don’t necessarily play out in an obvious cause-and-effect way, like drinking milk and immediately getting hives or a stomach cramp. They can be delayed by hours, expressing themselves as diarrhea or headaches later in the day.
The true cause of his problem was the irritating foods and toxic chemicals that caused a leaky gut and kept his immune system on heightened alert mode throughout the year. The cause was not simply the pollen he breathed in at the change of seasons. The pollen tipped his system into crisis. Trying to avoid trees and plants would not have cured Tony—likely some other trigger would have become the instigator of his itchy eyes and nose.
Annabelle, a tall, slender twenty-six-year-old, had an enviably healthy lifestyle. She rarely ate any kind of processed foods; she prepared mostly organic, fresh meals at home. She exercised and didn’t drink or smoke. To her friends she was the poster child for health. But, unknown to them, she had an ongoing battle with her bowels.
For years, regular bowel movements were elusive. She used caffeine, herbal laxatives, and sometimes over-the-counter laxatives to try to stimulate elimination. The condition upset her. She felt bloated much of the time and psychologically it was taking far too much of her energy and attention.
We don’t like to talk about being backed up but the reality is that constipation is one of the most frequent health complaints in the Western world. Many people spend a lot of effort, time, and money trying to manage this symptom.
Laxatives are big business in the United States and are often the first tool used for relief. Others try natural methods and small dietary changes, like adding more fruit, which may or may not improve the situation. But until they repair and restore intestinal integrity and remove certain foods for a period of time, the changes are often ineffective.
The situation is much worse than we acknowledge, because what most people consider a “normal” state of bowel elimination is actually constipation in the picture of total wellness.
What’s the consistent story behind the Annabelle’s and Tony’s cases?
At their root, all these symptoms are caused by irritation and mucus formation. And all of them begin to clear when we remove the irritation and facilitate the elimination of mucus.
That’s the benchmark of a great cleanse. A great cleanse both REMOVES the source of irritation such as toxic trigger foods and chemical products and supports the body’s natural elimination of mucus. It also ADDS in nourishing food and supplements.
As Tony learned, removing the most common irritating foods from the diet during the Clean Cleanse is the first step to restoring order in the body and preventing allergies.
During Annabelle’s first Clean Cleanse, she made use of the cleanse tools. She had daily shakes, followed the Cleanse Diet which removed the primary irritating foods, and got on a schedule of not eating after dinner. Then she built up her intestinal flora and removed bad bacteria with targeted supplements.
The first two weeks were hard; she still got constipated until she started taking a strong herbal laxative. She also got a few colonic treatments. The third week, her body began to kick into action.
Relieved of certain foods and caffeine and given some time to restore itself, her bowel function was finding its way back to normal. With astonishment Annabelle reported that her daily bowel movements were in excess of anything she’d had before, especially toward the end of the program. I told her that she was shedding some of the toxicity held throughout her body, in her cells and tissues. Her energy levels increased, and she experienced great clarity.
Tony’s and Annabelle’s symptoms are common among my busy, hardworking patients. So are skin and sinus problems, fatigue and bloating after eating, constipation, headaches, muscle or joint pain, and arthritis-like tendencies as well as a general low-grade state of emotional malaise.
Their different responses show why, in general, doctors and patients today are detox-blind.
How would we know that a single protocol of reversing the toxic state could relieve many of their problems, when the problems are all so different?
The body’s response to toxicity is a complex web of possible reactions, not a single reaction that looks or feels the same in everyone.
There are so many connections between nutrition, intestinal health, and toxicity that it is almost impossible to say in an exact, mathematical way what each person will need.
Covering as many needs as possible without overloading is the hallmark of a sound detox program like the Clean Cleanse.
P.S. If you’re looking for guidance during your cleanse this year, I’ll be leading our annual New Year’s Group Cleanse starting on January 6th, 2014. Stay tuned for more info.