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Answers to Common Questions About Cleansing

Written by: Dr. Loreen Dawson, ND


What is a Cleanse?

A cleanse is a specific program designed to help your body eliminate waste and toxins more effectively.  A good cleanse improves the function of your systems of elimination including your bowel, liver, kidneys, lungs and lymph.   Even though these systems are perfectly designed to breakdown and eliminate toxins, the astronomical rise in toxins in our environment in the past 60 years means that even the healthiest body will benefit from a cleanse.

What are Toxins? 

A toxin is simply anything that your body has to get rid of.  This can be normal compounds produced by your body as it goes about its day to day functions, and it can mean foreign compounds that come into your body with food, water, air or through your skin, and need to be eliminated.  It includes a whole range of substances such as food additives, pesticides, herbicides, air pollution, fire retardant, residue from plastics, chemicals found in air fresheners, cleaning products, lotions, make-up, hair dye or drugs, as well as viruses, bacteria, parasites and all their waste products.  It can also include the compounds our own bodies make in response to trauma, stress and negative thoughts.

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How does a Cleanse Work?

A cleanse enhances the natural ability of the body to transport, neutralize and eliminate toxins through one or more of the systems of elimination.  By enhancing these processes, and eliminating toxins more effectively, most people will feel lighter, clearer and more energetic.  A well designed cleanse is specific for the individual, and can be altered as you go along to make adjustments for individual response.  Some people think that with a cleanse you have to feel worse before you get better.  While you might feel withdrawal symptoms from caffeine or sugar, anything other than that is a sign that the method that you are using to cleanse is not quite right for you and should be reassessed.

What is involved with Cleansing?

A cleanse can be as simple as a specific diet, or a complicated program which uses a combination of diet and supplements.  In the past, people often did a cleanse by fasting.  The problem with doing that today is that because our bodies hold so many toxins, the addition of appropriate fiber, vitamins and antioxidants from well chosen foods actually improves the outcome of the cleanse.

Diet is a critical part of any good cleanse.  Although there are variations, virtually every cleansing diet involves eliminating sugar, alcohol, and junk food, and greatly increasing vegetables.  After that, there are many variations.  Most cleansing diets also involve eliminating inflammatory foods or common food sensitivities.  Your naturopathic physician can help you choose the specific diet that is best for you, or, you can experiment with one of the many variations found in books or websites.

Are there any other benefits to Cleansing?

In addition to enhancing your systems of elimination and helping to rid your body of toxins, a cleanse can be used help you identify food sensitivities, or to kick start a weight loss program.  It can be used to clear your mind, shift your mood, or, in conjunction with a new exercise program.  A cleanse can also be an important step in creating better eating habits, or motivating you to try new foods and recipes.  A cleanse can be an important part of a program to improve your health, and leave you feeling younger, lighter, brighter and more energetic.

Interested in doing a guided cleanse?  Please call for more information on individual and group cleanses.   

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Hummingbird Naturopathic Clinic

PO Box 770

5684 Mermaid Street

Sechelt, BC V0N 3A0