The sample yearly program provided here is designed for a basically healthy person who eats well. It
would not be appropriate for those with deficiency problems such as extreme fatigue, underweight people,
those who experience coldness, or those with heart weakness. There are even more contraindications for
fasting, which releases more toxins than this program does. Releasing too much toxicity can make many
sick people sicker; if that happens, they will need to increase fluids and eat again until they feel better.
People with cancer need to be very careful about how they detoxify. Prior to or just after surgery is not a
good time to detoxify, but after healing, say about four to six weeks later. Pregnant or lactating women
should not do any heavy detoxification, though they can usually handle mild programs.
SAMPLE YEAR-LONG DETOX PROGRAM
For 7-21 days between March 10 and April 15, use one or more of the following plans:
- Master Cleanser (lemonade diet).
- Fruits, vegetables, greens.
- Juices of fruits, vegetables, and greens.
- Herbs with any of the above.
- These plans can be alternated and even include a 3-5 day supervised water fast.
- Remember to take time (about half as long as the fast) for the transition back to the regular diet.
- Elimination and food testing can also be done at this time.
3-day cleanse at new moon time in May as a reminder and enhancer of food awareness.
One week of fruits and vegetables and/or fresh juices to usher in the warm weather sometime between
June 10 and July 4.
3-day cleanse of fruit and vegetable juices around the new moon time in August.
7-10 day cleanse between September 11 and October 5, such as:
- Grape fast--whole and juiced--grapes, all fresh.
- Apple and lemon juice together, diluted.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, raw and cooked.
- Fruit and vegetable juices--fruit in the morning, vegetables in the afternoon.
- Juices plus spirulina, algae, or other green chlorophyll powders.
- Whole grains, cooked squashes and other vegetables (a lighter detox).
- Mixture of the above plans.
- Basic low-toxicity diet with herbal program.
- Colon detox with fiber (psyllium, pectin, and so on) along with enemas or colonics.
- Preparing and planning new autumn diet, enhancing positive dietary habits.
3-day cleanse on juices or in-season produce around new moon in late October/early November.
A lighter diet in preparation for the holidays (can be done between December 10 and January 5):
- Avoidance of toxins and treats, with a very basic wholesome diet.
- One week of brown rice, cooked vegetables, miso broth, and seaweed. Ginger and cayenne pepper
can be used in soups.
- Saunas or steams and massage--you deserve it!
- Hang on until spring!
Where Can We Detoxify?
During basic, simple detox plans, most of us can maintain our normal life functions. In fact, energy,
performance, and health often improve. For some though, detox may produce symptoms such as
headaches, fatigue, irritability, mucous congestions, or aches and pains; any of the symptoms of toxicity
may appear, though usually not. According to naturopathic theory, any symptoms that have previously
been experienced may also be experienced transiently during detox/healing, and I have seen this occur.
However, sometimes it is hard to know what is actually happening. Should we treat the problems that
come up or simply watch them? Since my basic approach in medicine is to allow the body to heal itself
and support the natural healing process whenever possible, that is what I try to do unless the person is
For many of us, especially the new or inexperienced, it is wise to begin any special programs, diet, or
lifestyle changes with a few days at home. In time, experience will show what is best for us. Most of us
can maintain a regular work schedule during a cleanse or detox program (we may likely be more
productive), but it may be easier to begin a program on a Friday, as the first few days are usually the
hardest. This is because some people may be more sensitive during cleansing to their work environment or
to chemical exposures, for example. Also, certain individuals may be faced with temptations or the
influence of other workers or family members challenging their decisions, and for this, knowing and
trusting what they are doing and having the support of a professional or group will add to their comfort
At the end of the first day, at around dinnertime, symptoms may begin to appear, with headache and
fatigue the most common, and it is good to be able to rest and spend time in familiar surroundings without
a lot of outer demands. By the third day, we usually feel pretty stable and ready for work life. However,
many people like to start new programs on Monday and just know that they will do fine, using willpower
and visualization to see it through. People often feel better than ever and are able to accomplish tasks and
meet challenges more easily than usual. In fact, experienced fasters may fast during busy work periods to
improve their productivity. Preparation and projection, clearing doubts and fears, and keeping a daily
journal are all useful during this vital process and are crucial to any successful undertaking.
We detoxify/cleanse for many reasons, mainly to do with health, vitality, and rejuvenation--to clear
symptoms, treat disease, and prevent further problems. A cleansing program is ideal for helping us to
reevaluate our lives, to make changes, or to clear abuses or addictions. It takes us through our withdrawal
and reduces cravings fairly rapidly, and if we are ready, we can begin a new life without the addictive
habits or drugs.
I cleanse because it makes me feel more productive, creative, and open to subtle and spiritual energies.
Many people detox/cleanse--or, more commonly, fast on water or juices--for spiritual renewal and to feel
more alive, awake, and aware. Christ, Paramahansa Yogananda, and many other religious figures and
teachers have advocated fasting for health and for spiritual attunement. It really does help move our
energies from our lower centers of digestion and elimination up into our heart, mind, and consciousness
centers. Fasting will be discussed more in a later program.
Detoxification can be helpful for weight loss, though it is not a primary reduction plan; I think it is more
important as a transition. However, anyone eating 4,000 calories a day of a fatty, sweet, and poorly
balanced diet who begins to eat 2,000-2,500 calories of more wholesome foods will definitely experience
detoxification, weight loss, and improved health.
We also cleanse/detoxify to rest our overloaded organs of digestion and our
liver, gallbladder, and kidneys and allow them to catch up on past work. Most often
our energy is increased and more steady. There are many reasons why we may want
REASONS FOR CLEANSING
|Prevent disease ||To be more:
|Reduce symptoms || Organized
|Treat disease ||Creative
|Cleanse body ||Motivated
|Rest organs ||Productive
|Weight loss ||Clear
|Clear skin ||Conscious
|Slow aging ||Inwardly attuned
|Improve flexibility ||Spiritual
|Improve fertility|| Environmentally attuned
|Enhance the senses|| Relationship focused
How Do We Detoxify / Cleanse?
I have touched on ways to detoxify throughout this section; the remainder is a discussion of general and
specific diet plans, other activities, and supplements, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and
herbs, to aid us in this healing process.
There are many levels to this part of the program. The first is to eat a nontoxic diet. If we do this
regularly, we have less need for cleansing. If we have not been eating this way, we should detoxify first
and then make permanent changes.
THE NONTOXIC DIET
- Eat organic foods whenever possible.
- Drink filtered water.
- Rotate foods, especially common allergens, such as milk products, eggs, wheat, and yeast foods.
- Practice food combining.
- Eat a natural, seasonal cuisine.
- Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and, for omnivarians, some
low-fat dairy products, and fresh fish (not shellfish) and organic poultry.
- Cook in iron, stainless steel, glass, or porcelain.
- Avoid or minimize red meats, cured meats, organ meats, refined foods, canned foods, sugar, salt,
saturated fats, coffee, alcohol, and nicotine.
Another aspect of the nontoxic diet is avoiding drugs--over-the-counter, prescription, and recreational
types--and substituting natural remedies, such as nutrients, herbs, and homeopathic medicines, all of
which have fewer side effects. Other natural therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic
may help in treating some problems so that we will not need drugs for them. Avoiding or minimizing
exposure to chemicals at home and work is also important. This lessens our total toxic load. Substituting
natural cleansers, cosmetics, and clothes is helpful. There are many suggestions for these areas of life in
The effects of the detoxification diet may vary. Even mild changes from our current plan may produce
some responses, while more dramatic dietary shifts will produce a profound cleansing. Shifting from the
most congesting foods to the least--eating more fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes and less baked
goods, sweets, refined foods, fried foods and fatty foods--will help most of us detoxify somewhat and bring
us into better balance, with more vitalized cells, organs, and body.
Maintaining the same diet but adding certain supplements can also stimulate detoxification. Fiber,
vitamin C, other antioxidants, chlorophyll, and glutathione, mainly as amino acid L-cysteine, will all help
(see the end program following this discussion). Herbs such as garlic, red clover, echinacea, or cayenne
may also induce some detoxification. Saunas, sweats, and niacin therapy have been used to cleanse the
body. Simply increasing liquids and decreasing fats will shift the balance strongly toward improved
elimination and less toxin buildup. Increased consumption of filtered water, herb teas, fruits, and
vegetables and reducing fats, especially most fried food, red meats, and milk products will also help
detoxification. This is a more structured, basic diet, but for most average Westerners, it will be a major
shift to a cleaner diet. A vege-
tarian diet would also be a healthful step toward detoxification for those with some congestive problems.
In general, moving from an acid-generating diet to a more alkaline one, as discussed in earlier sections in
Chapters 10 and 12, will aid the process of detoxification. Acid-forming foods, such as meats, milk
products, breads and baked goods, and especially the refined sugar and carbohydrate products, will
increase body acidity and lead to more mucus production and congestion to attempt to balance the body
chemistry, whereas the more alkaline, wholesome vegetarian foods enhance cleansing and clarity in the
body. The right balance of acid and alkaline foods for each of us is, of course, the key.