Hey everybody –
So sorry for the inconsistencies in posting lately. Been buried in a final edit of my latest book with my editor this week. Editing is probably my least favorite part of the writing process but, at the same time, it’s always nice to watch a manuscript tighten up into its final form. And the material is really holding up for me. Can’t wait for you guys to see this thing (A Season in the Warrior Utopia) when we’re done. It’s definitely one of my favorite projects, ever… if not my very favorite.
Okay, on to the subject at hand. I get a number of questions about dietary cleansing, which loosely refers to any of a number of different food and/or supplement-based regimens, designed to help remove toxins from the body. They can last anywhere from one day, on up to several weeks or more, and they truly run the gamut in scope and strictness. Here are a few broad strokes:
In some cases, a cleanse can refer to a “fast,” which is where you either forego food altogether (and just drink water), or you do a juice fast, or a fruit fast, where you would only consume juice or fruit, respectively. Of course, there are a million different variations of fasting, and you have to be very careful about how you enter into a fast and, equally important, how you break one.
Additionally, there are a number of supplements, elixirs and natural remedies out there, designed to aid the body in ridding itself of toxins as you modify your diet for a cleanse. Some approaches focus on general detoxifying like various herbal blends, wheatgrass juice, or The Master Cleanse, which involves using a basic concoction of lemon juice, cayenne pepper and pure maple syrup in purified water, x-number of times per day. Others focus more on the colon, either with high-fiber, roto-rooter kind of supps designed to scour your plumbing, or, yes, even different kinds of enemas. So again – there’s a full gamut, indeed!
Obviously, I’m reluctant to advise any set type of cleanse or fast for everyone, because each individual’s personal health and overall physical condition will factor into what’s best. That said, I do have a pretty universal system that will work for most anyone, because it enables you to easily adjust or adapt the regimen, as needed. Perhaps I’ll post that here soon, if anyone’s interested in scoping it out.
BUT – here’s the bigger picture point I really wanted to make about this whole thing. Your body has an impressive, built-in intelligence about it. It is capable (in almost every instance) of healing itself… of cleaning house on stored toxins. And what I’ve found is this; it doesn’t really need a whole lot of outside help from you to do it. It just needs for you to stop ingesting toxic things! And therein lies the secret for why so many different cleanses actually work. Now, sure, some of these remedies can certainly hasten the process. But I’m telling you, the number one element to a successful cleanse is all that you are NOT putting into your body, as opposed to the fact that you may be ingesting the latest, greatest, magical, mystical herbal supplement.
I figured this out early on. When I first went veggie, I cut out all flesh foods, all caffeine, and all refined sugar and flour. Holy shit! (Quite literally, to be honest.) I fell into a serious few days of detoxing where I almost felt like I had the flu. I even remember doing a recording session around this time where I literally had to lie down on the floor between takes. I had no energy and felt horrible. But it only lasted for a few days, and I emerged from this short phase almost like a new person. I had freakish new levels of energy and suddenly started waking up about two hours earlier then usual. Why? 1) Because my body had rid itself of many stored toxins, and; 2) Because it didn’t have as much work to do while I was asleep, so my nightly “rejuvenation” time didn’t take as long.
And, of course, I’ve seen similar things happen with many others who I have advised or coached through this process. Seldom have I ever had to bring in anything too radical (in terms of magical elixirs). Of course, a lot of the high-fiber, super nutrient-dense foods that I recommend (like spirulina, leafy greens, berries, beans and various other multicolored fruits and veggies) might hit someone’s body like a “magical elixir” if they’ve been eating a relatively shitty diet. But again, it’s typically more about what you STOP doing to yourself that is most helpful to your body’s cleansing efforts.
While a serious modification of your present eating regimen can go a long way in creating a cleansing environment, these more “radical” cleanses and fasts do have some profound mental/spiritual benefits… which is why so many spiritual and religious traditions promote the idea. As just one example, as you seriously restrict or even forego food for said period of time, you become liberated from it, in a way. You can more easily transcend any attachments or addictions that you may have with food, and this is perhaps the strongest argument for considering a cleanse.
So… yeah. I’ll try to grab that section from “The Grail” that deals with this particular system of cleansing. Stay tuned…