why I choose to detox with live food?
I did my first detox at the age of 30…11 years ago… it was 21 days that included fresh juices and herbs for cleansing and clearing. I committed myself to this and was able to move though the 21 days, eliminating, purging, letting go of weight, waste, physical and mental toxins. The cleanse was quite intense and at times felt like my insides were being scrubbed with a power washer and having a bathroom close-by was a must as things would move quickly with aches, cramps and even chills. My self-discipline and commitment was truly tested. I was amazed at the powerful affects it had on my mind, body and spirit, even my taste buds were re-booted as I remember clearly breaking the cleanse with my first salad and celebrating how alive and delicious the first bite of lettuce felt and tasted in my mouth. I could now appreciate many things in a whole new and vibrant way. Over the years I would revisit this as a “spring cleanse”, adding and modifying with new things I had learned through each year. I even went so far as to do a couple liver/kidney flushes that involved an intense regimen that included a final purging by drinking epson salt…the worst experience ever.
After a number of years of doing these intense detoxes, I desired a more gentle approach to cleansing that allowed my body to detox as well as be nourished along with building a more accessible practice for daily life. In June of 2011 I went by a friend Nubia Sutton’s home to purchase a new booklet she had written called 'A Raw Life: My Journey From Cooked to Raw Foods'. I was hesitant about the raw food lifestyle because as much as I enjoyed raw food when I frequented Cafe Gratitude, indulging in all their live creations, I thought that preparing and eating that way daily would be very time consuming and impossible without the right tools. I had even bought a live food “cookbook” many years prior but found it to be very overwhelming. I purchased her booklet, talked briefly and then she offered me a jar of green smoothie she had blended up in her kitchen. I had blended up many smoothies, including green ones but this was my first smoothie with fresh kale…wow…my head tingled, my heart lite up and I was full of energy. I went home and read her booklet, which eased my questions about eating raw without all the raw foodie kitchen gadgets like a dehydrator, food processor…at the time I didn’t even have a high powered blender. In her booklet Nubia presented thoughtful, easy to follow guidance on how to transition from cooked to raw and suggested a 21-day commitment. Many cleansing programs follow this model as it is said that it takes 21 days to break a habit. I decided to dive in without much thought to how it would all work. I had a basic blender, a mini food processor that I used to chop onions and a tiny garden just outside my front door. I was in the thick of summer and I knew with the warmth of the sun I could do this. I started the day with warm lemon water and a green kale smoothie, moved through the day munching on fruits and handfuls of raw nuts and had a big salad for lunch and dinner. I drank lots of water and more green smoothies when I felt the need for additional nourishment. I gently began to release, mucus came from my eyes, my nose… clearing was happening and I loved it. Day 21 arrived and I was going strong with a very basic regimen…I ate as much and as often as I wanted as long as it was raw. Over time my desire for food started to change, I was not so mentally consumed with when I would eat next and my appetite lessened. Day 38 arrived, day 52, day 73… I continued to move clear through to the end of a third month (90 days) and I felt amazing! My elimination was frequent, my skin was glowing, my energy was through the roof, my thoughts were clear and focused, my intuition was sharper than ever, daily omens and messages were coming to me, joy and bliss were far more accessible, letting go was almost effortless, I was vibrant, and full of life…literally. I shed weight and “waste” which worried some people around me but there was no denying I was beaming.
At the close of the 3 months I made a new commitment to myself to continue to cultivate a wellness practice that would nourish me and allow me to follow my heart and manifest my dreams. Within 7 hours of making this declaration of renewed commitment to myself, my family’s life was turned upside down with the sudden passing of my older children’s father. At age 39 he passed of a massive heart attack. My older children had lost their father, I lost my co-parenting partner, we gained a big sister, and I shifted into a new role of “do it all and then some”. I knew my renewed commitment to self-care would take a back seat to caring for my family and I was clearly willing and able to accept that without a moment of hesitation. I was filled with such clarity or as I now realize a “grounded daze” and was moving though this loss with a certain lightness which I attribute to 3 months of consuming only raw, living, high vibration food. Although, with our lives being turned upside down and changes coming very quickly I did not maintain a 100% raw lifestyle, I did continue to drink green smoothies, eat salads and meet this new life transition with strength and grace. I am in awe of the human spirit, my human spirit, the spirit of my children, the spirit of my family and the support they offer and the clear knowing that their fathers arms were wrapped around us and carried us through as we came to accept his passing. I find gratitude for things unfolding the way they did and am grateful for the clearing out that I did prior to this major, unexpected life change. I feel like it prepared me mentally, physically and spiritually to be able to handle such a profound loss.
There are many benefits of detoxing with raw, live foods. They can include but are not limited to the list below. Each person will have his or her own unique experience.
* improved digestion
* identify emotional eating triggers
* promote weight loss/management
* address health issues (high blood pressure, inflammation, diabetes, eczema
* reduce pms and menstrual issues
* reduce stress, depression
* eliminate toxic build up in the cells, tissues and organs of the body
* serve as illness prevention, boost immunity
* promote more energy
* promote mental clarity
* create more balance in your life, allowing things to flow more easily
* give you the tools and stamina to more mindfully deal with life challenges
* invite growth and abundance into your life
* improve sense of overall well-being
I now practice a seasonal 21-day live food detox along with maintaining about 70-80% raw, live food thoughout the year. I like to take a wholistic approach, meaning addressing and treating the whole body when looking at detoxing. Not only am I looking at detoxing the physical body by what I put in through clean, whole foods like fruits, veggies, water, fresh juices, oxygen (through deep breathing)… but I also look at ways to detoxify by what and how I allow toxins to come out through the skin via yoga, sauna, bathing, trips to nature. It is also important to address the emotional and spiritual body as well. Reducing stress and taking rest when needed is key to detoxification. When one is under stress the body releases stress hormones and in large amounts this can create more toxins in the body along with slowing the organs functioning that assist in detoxifying the body. It is also important to begin to recognize the “toxic” environments and relationships that one allows and invites into ones life. Part of detoxing is stepping back from these toxic interactions and nourishing ones self with life and health affirming people, words, thoughts and actions along with all of the nourishing food and drink.
If you would like more information I have created a 'wholistic live food detox guide' to support one in moving through a 7, 14 or 21-day detox. I also offer detox groups and individual consult. Check out the 'services' section of my website.
*This information is shared to provide insight into some of the benefits of a raw, live food detox. This information does not take the place of council or treatment that has been prescribed by your physician or health care practitioner.