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Detox Your Body for Long-Lasting Health and Beauty
The Nitty Gritty on Cleansing
Food is a medicine that heals our bodies—if we're choosing the right things to eat. Some of the food we put on our table may be undermining our health in ways we don't even realize. Many of the fruits and vegetables in our markets are sprayed with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and most meats are pumped up with antibiotics, hormones or fungicides. When we ingest these chemicals, they can have a harmful effect on the body.
The problem with many of the foods we eat goes beyond the meat and produce departments. Just take a stroll through the rest of the grocery store and you'll see that most of what's stocking the shelves bears no resemblance to food grown on a farm. A lot of it has been processed—irradiated, bleached or heated—to the point that it's stripped of the life-giving enzymes, vitamins, fiber and minerals that our bodies need to thrive. Our bodies have a hard time digesting processed flours, sugars, oils and salts, so that food ends up clogging our intestines, severely impairing our bodies' ability to efficiently absorb nutrients and void waste.
To take responsibility for our health, we have to become more aware of the food we eat. We need to be detectives when it comes to reading food labels and learn how to identify the ingredients that undermine our health. Don't automatically trust a "natural" sticker that's been slapped on a package in the store. If we find out where our food comes from, we can better appreciate theimportance of eating whole, organic foods.
Bottom line: Food that's grown wild on this Earth, that hasn't been genetically engineered, pro-cessed or tampered with, is good for us. Everything else is questionable.
The Dirty Dozen
Eliminating the following things from our diets can have a dramatic and positive impact on our health:
- Bleached, refined flours
- Refined sugars, high-fructose corn syrup
- Table salt
- Trans fats and refined oils (including pro-cessed corn, canola, sunflower, safflower and vegetable oils)
- Meats treated with hormones or antibiotics; farmed fish
- Foods sprayed with pesticides and herbicides
- Ge-ne-tically modified foods
- Dairy products
- Additives such as preservatives, nitrates, and artificial flavorings and colorings
- Fast foods and fried foods
- Sodas and juices with added sugars
- Tap water
The Dirty Dozen (see the list at left)—especially in combination with stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, tobacco or drugs—elevate acid levels in our bodies. That's a problem, because health and disease are directly tied to pH levels in our system: When the body is in an acidic state, it stops functioning properly and disease can take root, So one important function of a cleanse is to bring the body's chemistry back into balance.
The 14-point pH scale measures the alkalinity or acidity of a solution—a pH level of 1 to 7 is considered acidic, and a pH level above 7 is considered alkaline. With the exception of the stomach, large intestine, skin and female reproductive organs, the rest of our organs and systems function optimally in a slightly alkaline state. If the body senses that any of its internal fluids (blood, lymphatic fluid, bile, cerebrospinal fluid, etc.) are too acidic, it takes action to restore an alkaline state. If our diets aren't providing the alkaline minerals required to restore balance in these fluids, the body will leech the minerals from our organs, muscles, ligaments and bones. The part of the body that has sacrificed those minerals then becomes acidic and vulnerable to illness.
To reduce acid levels in our system, we need to (1) reduce acid-forming foods from our diet; (2) clear acidic, undigested food from the intestines; (3) flush toxins from the body; (4) add alkaline foods and drinks to neutralize acidity; and (5) relax the body and mind. When we do that, we can reduce congestion, inflammation and pain throughout our bodies, invigorate ourselves and increase our flexibility. We can get to a place where we're able to suck every juicy nutrient from the food we're eating and maintain an alkaline balance in the body.
Drugs and Digestion
Over-the-counter, prescription and recreational drugs drive up acid levels in the body. In addition, some drugs—such as antibiotics—kill the flora (good bacteria) in the intestine that aid in digestion, hindering our ability to break down the food we eat. When we eat an alkaline diet, it boosts our immunity and restores a state of balance in the body. Many people find they're less reliant on these acid-producing, digestion-unfriendly medications.
A food can be acidic in its natural state but become alkaline when it's digested—and visa versa. That's because digestion oxidizes food—essentially burning it up. The by-product of that intestinal fire typically has a different acid or alkaline level from the food we've popped into our mouths. For instance, a lemon is acidic in its raw state. However, once eaten, it breaks down into carbon dioxide and water and leaves behind alkaline minerals such as sodium, potassium and calcium. On the other hand, animal products, such as meat or dairy products, can leave behind acidic compounds such as phosphates, sulfates and nitrates. See pages 201202 for a chart listing the relative acidity or alkalinity of different foods.
There's more affecting our pH levels than the food we eat and stimulants or drugs we take. Our thoughts and feelings also play a big part in how acidic our body is. When we're stressed out, angry, unhappy, depressed or focused on negative thoughts, that actually increases the levels of acid in our body. On the flip side, when we're happy, relaxed, positive and at peace, we reduce our acid levels.
So an important part of a cleanse is taking time to unplug from our usual routines and making time for meditation to rest and clear our minds.Super Cleanse
Detox Your Body for Long-Lasting Health and Beauty. Copyright © by Adina Niemerow. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.