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Archive for July, 2013

This post describes another detox my partner and I did in our quest for better health and energy, and more mental clarity. It is based on the book “Cleanse & Purify Thyself” by Dr. Richard Anderson. I ordered the kit with all the shakes etc. some time ago from a lady in Devon who was referred to me by a friend and doesn’t appear to have a website. However, I’ve checked and the kits do seem to be fairly readily available for sale online.

As is frustratingly the case with some of these complementary medicine and detox diet authors, Dr. Anderson pads his book with a fair amount of spiritual waffle, homilies about attitude and lifestyle, and other opinion pieces based on his personal worldview. Even so, the book is still worth a read, and usually if you order the kit full instructions will be included anyway.

The purpose of the cleanse is to rid the intestines of the mucoid plaque that can build up over a lifetime, together with all the toxins, bacteria and parasites that reside in it, causing various health problems.

The author describes four “phases” of cleansing: the mildest phase being for those who are already quite weak or ill and need the minimum physical stress, the gentle phase being the usual starting point for most people, the power phase being the intermediate level cleanse and the master phase being the most challenging.

The first step is to measure your body’s pH, using strips of Litmus paper (you can buy this from the pharmacy) and testing your spit. Dr. Anderson recommends that a certain level of body alkalinity needs to be established to start the cleanse. This can be a problem for people with certain health issues, particularly for those who suffer from candidiasis, which is known to cause acidic by-products in the body. That is why we decided to start with the very mildest level of cleanse.

Vegetable broths and juices keeps the body’s electrolytes balanced, while probiotics to replenish the friendly intestinal bacteria are also taken. Some people are surprised to find that their electrolytes are out of whack, and it may take a while to build up proper levels of electrolytes prior to starting the cleanse proper.

The cleanse involves the use of a formula to soften and break up the toxic waste material, which according to the label includes plantain, cascara sagrada, barberry, peppermint, sheep sorrel, fennel seed, ginger root, myrrh gum, red raspberry, rhubarb root, goldenseal, and lobelia. There is also a herbal nutrition formula, consisting of alfalfa, dandelion, shavegrass, chickweed, marshmallow root, yellowdock, rosehips, hawthorn, licorice root, Irish moss, kelp, and two digestive enzymes, amylase (digests carbohydrates) and cellulase (digests plant fiber). Then there is the Bentonite clay, which absorbs toxins and helps move them through the digestive system, and psyllium husk powder, which I tend to think of as a Brillo pad for your insides.

During the cleanse, you reduce the amount of food you would normally eat during the day. On the mildest phase, 2½ meals per day are eaten; typically, this would be a light breakfast consisting of fruit, and lunch and dinner as normal.

The kit came with a full schedule of when you’re supposed to take each shake of herbs, the psyllium husks, and the Bentonite clay.

One of the things I found most difficult about doing the cleanse, particularly while attempting to work and go about my normal day’s activities at the same time, was that the first shake was supposed to be taken at least 1-1½ hours before breakfast. Being more of a night owl, my usual inclination is to fall out of bed at the last possible moment and grab breakfast in between getting dressed and running up the road for the train. I don’t get up an hour and a half before breakfast, and would be too sleepy to make productive use of the time if I did!

So what we ended up doing was setting two alarms – one to take the shake, and one to get up for real. The thing is, I didn’t really get back to sleep in between, and resetting my body clock to accept an earlier overall sleep cycle would be worthy of front page news if it ever did happen! The ensuing lack of sleep probably made the cleanse more gruelling for me than it need have been. If I hadn’t been at work and could have done everything an hour and a half later, or if we’d known enough then to incorporate some flexibility into the schedule, it might have worked out a whole lot better.

Taking the psyllium husk shake was gross. My partner said I wasn’t mixing the shakes up thick enough to do their job, and so instead of the easy-to-swallow liquid mixes that I had been making, he made these shakes that had a consistency somewhere between jelly and cold porridge that tended to set further overnight, and he became irritated with how long I took to get them down.

The cleansing reactions were quite strong, even on the mildest phase of the cleanse: reduced appetite, mild nausea, cramping, cold extremities, muscle weakness and fatigue were things that both of us experienced. I think that this is where doing the cleanse with your partner or a friend definitely helps, because otherwise it is all too easy to get discouraged and give up.

I think the book probably overplays how much waste material you’re likely to see ejected, as despite following the instructions neither of us saw anything that resembled the plaque deposits described by Dr. Anderson and his testimonial writers. Having said that, the book mentions somewhere that several cleanses could be needed before the stuff starts to really shift.

We used up all the materials that came with the kit, and at something like £200 a pop for the entire thing, it wasn’t something we were going to do every 6-8 weeks, as is suggested in the book. Perhaps it is something we can try again if we ever get rich.

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