Detoxing – which way is right for me?

Alive and Aware -  Patti Sliwany
Alive and Aware –
Patti Sliwany

Photo by Jennifer Chait

Are you a little tempted to try it? Do you wonder about it?
Cleansing has become very popular lately. Popular and controversial. There has not been a lot of research or study on colon cleansing, so there is no empirical data or ironclad answer. Some doctors say steer clear because it is unnecessary and dangerous, while others prescribe it as a way to unclog your pipes and flush away the toxins.
If you eat a lot and only eliminate once a day or less, then you are not getting rid of all that is going in. If we are clogged up (even with a healthy diet), then we get sick.
The intestine draws in needed nutrients for the body, and if your intestines are not able to get the nutrients, your food is wasted.
If food doesn’t move easily through the intestines, then it starts to build up and we become constipated, cramped, gain weight and/or become depressed, our immune system quits working, and ultimately, we get sick.
Think of all the fried foods and weight you may still be carrying around with you and building on.
If you are not convinced by now that you need to clear some of the goo away, there is more. Our stomach produces mucus to guard against acids – this is healthy. It is when we continually eat processed, high-fat food that we overproduce the stuff and it all gets clogged up.
Hippocrates, in teaching the doctors of his day, said, “Consider the seasons of the year and what each of them produces.” When you respect the seasons by selecting fresh ingredients, you detox the body naturally.
It was years ago that I did my first detox. I set aside wheat, dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and red meat. After a few days, I had more energy, a clearer mind, and better digestion. As the detox continued, I felt better and better and never looked back.
I have done dozens of detoxes. And as a practicing holistic nutritionist, I often recommend clients do a detox as part of their overall health plan. It helps them improve their health, lose weight, and identify the foods that are possibly contributing to their medical problems.
A detox is a time to give your body a break, an opportunity to reconnect with healthful foods and help you feel better.
During the winter, our natural tendency is to slow down, go within, and reflect. By nourishing the body with natural whole foods, we honour the organs associated with winter in Chinese medicine – the kidneys, adrenal glands, and the bladder. (The kidneys and bladder share the role of eliminating waste through urine, and the adrenals also affect kidney function).
Along with eliminating daily waste, our body has the job to defend itself against toxins.
It is the hormones, artificial flavouring and colouring that are added to processed foods that cause the liver to turn the toxins into bigger and badder toxins. Eating a diet fresh and whole, along with avoiding the type of toxins we breathe in, will help to eliminate this from happening. By taking in all these toxins, we create a problem that our body was not designed to deal with.
So, by now you should be convinced that our bodies need help.
But how?
There are different ways to detox and cleanse your body. Some are very natural, uncontroversial, and extremely healthy. Some may seem extreme and others are simple. How you choose to cleanse is important.

Different cleansing aids:
Eat clean
Green juices & green vegetables
Lemons, limes and oranges
Omega 3 oils
Green tea
Mung beans
Take enzymes
Food combining
Colon irrigation (professional)
Kits with powders and potions
On enemas and colon cleansing
This is the controversial part. The Mayo Clinic says “don’t do it.” However, colon cleansing is prescribed more and more by doctors looking for a more holistic approach to wellness.
If you are planning to do an enema or colon cleanse, go to a good and well-trained colon hydro therapist.
Many doctors say your digestive system and bowel naturally eliminate waste material and bacteria, so your body doesn’t need colon cleansing to do this.
Those who like colon cleansing think that toxins cause many health problems, like arthritis, allergies and asthma. They believe a colonic or a colonic irrigation removes toxins and strengthens your immune system.
You are the only one who can decide whether this type of cleansing is right for you. But you should not use colonics if you have Crohn’s disease, IBS, acute diverticulitis, if you are pregnant, have diarrhea, or if part of your colon has been removed. Consider which method will be the most impactful – and right for you.
Patricia Sliwany is a board-certified holistic nutritionist, and founder of Alive & Aware Holistic Health. Alive & Aware currently has an early bird special on its 11-Day Whole Foods Winter Cleanse. To find out more about the program or to register, please visit, or contact or 204-997-2031.

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