On Monday I started a detox. I decided to use a commercially created form of the Master Cleanse program. This includes a complete solid food fast with a lemonade made of lemon juice, palm/maple syrup, cayenne and water plus a laxative tea in the evening. My plan is to do 5 days, so I'm halfway through. Apart from a bit of spaciness and the expected hunger pains that come with any fast I haven't had any detox symptoms, though I have done many detox programs over the years. The lemonade certainly helps the hunger - especially if enough cayenne to burn your throat a little going down is used.
Why do this? First off, I'm a proponent of thinking about our physical bodies in the primordial state of early cave dwellers. If we spin time backwards to before all the environmental, chemical, and dietary issues that modernity has injected into life and consider the lives of early human beings before the agricultural revolution and all, I think we pick up a few hints for our health today. There were times before Safeway or QFC when there might be a few days without food. Hunters and gatherers might not find food. So they lived lives with nature-enforced fasts. Their digestive systems got a rest. I think it does not hurt us to rest our digestive systems, even for a day once a week. (Most of the world's spiritual disciplines recommend fasting for spiritual health as well.)
The second reason is modernity has exposed us all to a huge array of toxins that mess with our body chemistry something fierce. We don't really notice too much except that a lot of symptoms we might blame on "aging" nag us all the time. We live in a cauldron of modern chemistry. Like the frog swimming in a pot - if the water temperature is raised gradually the frog doesn't notice it's about to get cooked. Throw one in a pot already at boil, and it will do it's best to leap out instantly. We're living in the chemistry pot with the toxicity of it gradually increasing. Our bodies are adept at adapting even while they are simultaneously and invisibly being slowly poisoned. Detoxing is a good way to turn down the effects of the toxic soup in which we swim daily.
Finally, there is a very good feeling that comes from the knowledge that you are putting a great deal of intentionality into your health. A lot of introspection and reflection on what all your body's responses to the absence of food mean. If detoxing makes you terribly sick (something I will talk about in the next blog) you know you have work to be doing. When it makes you feel better toward it's end, you find a new resolve to change your diet and ways you want to interact with your environment. A detox/fast helps you to build resolve to avoid many of the sins to which you've been subjecting your body. So weigh the fasting and detoxing options. I'm happy to answer questions and give advice.