Author: Lily Mazzarella
I’ve never been a hardcore detox person. For the past 15 years I’ve seen scores of people “cleanse” and become depleted and feel worse, or feel great for 10 days of juice and rice cakes and then rebound—hard—into (dis)comfort foods and crappy habits.
But we’ve all heard it: there’s flame retardant in our breast milk, PCBs in our subcutaneous fat, and pesticide accumulating in our thyroid glands. Our fingers absorb BPA from store receipts, and our livers are being wrecked by Tylenol. There’s rocket fuel in our organic greens. These exogenous toxins can make it difficult for the body to clear its own waste products—natural by-products of digestion, cellular metabolism, and processes like inflammation.
Since our world is, undeniably, filled with toxic substances, it helps if we don’t add insult to injury by self-inflicting. So often we get caught up in our habitual comforts and shortcuts around food, self-medication and self-care, and we suffer for it. The body starts to squawk, and we experience digestive distress, brain fog, low energy, anxiety, joint pain, allergies, frequent colds, hormonal swings, blood sugar dysregulation, weight gain and skin inflammation.
There’s actually a lot we can do to offset the toxic onslaught. The body knows how to cleanse: it has myriad detoxification capacities, from microscopic enzyme systems inside our cells, to specialized organs like the liver and kidneys, and systems such as the lymphatics. We just need to get out of the way.
And this is how I came around to cleansing: I love the idea of getting out of my own way. As I get older (and hopefully wiser), I have come to realize that more often than not, it is my own entrenched thinking that can hold me back. The same applies to our bodies, and the patterns of disharmony and dysfunction that arise. Cleanses can help nudge us out of our physiological ruts.
I realized, too, that I had helped hundreds of people through the “cleanse” process without necessarily thinking of it in those terms. And that this process prompted profound and lasting shifts in my clients’ health—some quite surprising! The shifts included resolution of insomnia, joint pain, depression, anxiety, skin itching, PMS, and reductions in both pharmaceutical and natural medicine use. Cleansing can clear the way for multisystem reset.
Cleanses are a time to let go of what’s not working for us, physically and emotionally.
They are not about deprivation, but rather giving your body what it needs to flourish. When people ask me about my “restrictive” diet (I’m allergic to dairy, wheat, soy, and eggs, and I don’t eat sugar), I counter that I felt more restricted when I was covered in itchy, unsightly eczema, bound to a 20-foot bathroom radius due to an inflammatory GI disorder, and plagued with anxiety, episodic depression, and terrible PMS. (Fun times!)
It’s about empowerment. It’s about giving your hardworking glands and organs a break. It’s about plumping up your tissues with nutrients. It’s about getting in touch with plants, as food and medicine, and getting regular protein to stabilize your nervous system and adrenals. It’s about a new experience of your mind, new filters on your everyday outlook. It’s about ease in your body, and an engagement with your own natural energy and rhythms, which so often we mask/accelerate/counter with sugar, alcohol, caffeine, meds, and a crazy plugged-in lifestyle.
We are rhythmic beings. I mean this in the most practical, down-to-earth sense: our bodies pulse with daily (circadian) rhythms, as wells as cycles that are shorter, and much longer. For example, our livers are more active at night, and the gallbladder tends to empty naturally in the morning. Spring is a time when these organs face the challenge of accumulated winter stagnation and excesses. Eating and cleansing with the seasons allows us to tap into rhythms that support us, and give us a place in the larger context of nature. Each season presents gifts and challenges, and has correspondences to different body systems. The way we cleanse in each season should reflect that.
This is an exploratory mission, a pathway to discovery and becoming healthier so you can enjoy life more. (I think about my client L., who discovered that her beloved morning pain au chocolate generated looping negative thoughts, and attendant self-criticism).
People have different cleansing needs. That is why we’re offering the Seasonal Cleanse in 3, 7, and 21 day formats. Perhaps you only want or need a 3 day Spring liver/gallbladder-focused cleanse, but look forward to a 21-day Fall nourishing immunity cleanse because you typically spend all autumn and winter plagued by a relapsing cold.
We’re not fanatics here. I’ll provide information on how to socialize, what happens when you want a cocktail, how to approach the caffeine and chocolate issue, and Detox Takeaways—that is, simple practices, foods, or herbs that can be incorporated for the long haul to keep you feeling good after your cleanse is over.
Over the past 10 years, I have helped hundreds of people through this process, accumulating insight and pearls of wisdom along the way. It is my pleasure to share this knowledge with you, and I look forward to hearing how it goes!
For more details about the Cleanse visit: www.farmacopia.net/theSeasonalCleanse, call 800.896.1485 or, if you’re local, visit us in-store at Farmacopia – 95 Montgomery Dr. Ste 90 Santa Rosa, CA
Certified Nutrition Specialist & Clinical Herbalist
Owner & Head Practitioner of Farmacopia