Does a writer really need a rigorous body cleanse?

Or how ridding my body of toxins positively affected everything

Let’s face it: the American way of life will kill you. Or how ridding my body of toxins positively affected everything.

Although I may reside in Southern California, my Midwestern roots are still strong, strong enough for me to assume, and vow never to try, such starvation-inducing programs of dubious healthful merit as a dietary (translation: juices) body cleanse. I’d be the first to state I’m weak: that I need my cappuccino first thing each morning, I need my cocktail each night. And go without food? Horrors! Perish the very thought—before I do on such a regimen.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Much to my own astonishment, I completed cleaning and detoxifying via basically a juice-fast my liver and gallbladder, the kidneys and urinary tract, and the colon while every other organ went merrily along for the ride. The immediate results realized during this 18 day cleansing encouraged me to stay with it to the end.

In addition to detoxed health and feeling so good it should be bottled, I lost over 10 pounds (and more than a month later, I’m still losing) while freeing my body of not only toxins but parasites, molds, metals, chemicals, yeasts, bacteria, fungi, stones (crystallizations in the digestive system), and heaven knows what else we pick up from the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the foods we eat. It’s a much dirtier world out there (and within) than I ever cared to think about, until that dirt in the various forms mentioned presented me irrefutable evidence. Those shocking visuals further encouraged me: once you see being eliminated what you carry in your very own body, you cannot wait to get thoroughly clean.

What prompted me to start this out-of-character cleanse was a series of skin irritations that resisted treatment, until in utter frustration I declared to my husband that I must need a cleanse, whatever that meant, something to address not just symptoms but underlying causes. The very next day, my friend Milla happened to be discussing such a body cleanse with someone else as I came upon them, and I knew the universe was speaking to me. Milla and I decided to go through the process together and started almost immediately. Best not to think about foregoing food and drink too long! Just jump in.

I purchased a series of packaged kits designed to address the organs and areas delineated above. Milla and I augmented those, as if they weren’t stringent enough (ignorance can be bliss), with extra parasite elimination, a regular routine of dry scrubs, enemas, hot-and-cold showers, and special broth. You can however do the program at different levels of commitment—from no change whatsoever to your current diet to the other extreme, the one we chose, complete elimination of everything “normal” except fruit- and vegetable-juices and special teas. Oh and purified water, don’t forget the water, literally gallons ingested each day.

After only a day or two, it was surprisingly NOT hard. Within the first week, I was sitting at the dining table with my husband, Mr. Meat and Potatoes, while he ate meat and potatoes, and I drank tea. Weirder yet was my not being phased by it, nor feeling sorry for myself. I’m still amazed.

Until the very last days of the 18 total, I was never hungry. I had so many liquids to imbibe within a set timeframe, there wasn’t time to be hungry. Ah, but thirsty, specifically thirsty for just a wee glass of wine to take the edge off at night, that I did feel but managed to resist until the urge simply ceased. To this day, my taste for several of my diet staples, like coffee and vodka, diminished or disappeared. Inexplicably I have since developed a taste for things I always hated, a certain white wine grape for example. I have no idea why.

I had previously tried more than once to cut out coffee, literally going through withdrawals with all over body aches, terrible jitters, and restlessness. I didn’t realize until the end of the second day of the cleanse that perhaps my somewhat fuzzy focus might be related to the sudden elimination of caffeine. After prior experiences, I’d take slightly fuzzy any day, a state which also passed quickly. In addition, I never changed my exercise routine which has always been fairly rigorous—spinning, pilates, yoga, hiking—I never felt I had to. So in addition to not feeling hungry and no longer thirsting for coffee or alcohol, my energy never flagged.

Yet despite evidence of some pretty startling stuff in my bod, the true revelations were not physical, but rather mental, emotional, and yes, even spiritual.

First I realized I had no relationship to my body—no mind/body connection here. I ate and drank due purely to habit: the time of the day, the routine I kept, what I was used to. What I had developed strong relationships with were my boredom, procrastination, and/or unhappiness. Hunger and thirst? I was completely out of touch with those natural needs. Years of built-up toxins, years of bad habits, years of unthinking behavior had all wrought their worst.

But as my body purified and lightened up, my emotions, attitudes, and spirit did the same. I felt physically better each day while my optimism soared and my resilience grew, a sense of well-being infiltrating every aspect of my life. A calmness replaced the uppers-then-downers (caffeine early/cocktails late) syndrome I had been on for decades. I felt peaceful, happy. And yes, my skin not only recovered, it tightened up precipitously. Now there’s an unexpected side benefit!

Maybe it’s not for everyone, this rigorous body detoxifying, but I’m a believer. I saw what years of toxicity had done to me, body and soul, and I saw it flushing away. Overall I’ve been generally healthy, but were that to change, the first thing I’d now do would be to cleanse my body of its numerous irritants and pollutants and give my immune system a huge boost.

But here’s the best pay-off: I started serious writing again. Novel number 2 is officially in production ’cause now I know: I can do anything.

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