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Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Annual Autumn Cleanse

I like to think of a cleanse as a tune-up for the body.

Fall and spring are perfect opportunities for detoxification because they are natural times of transition. As the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, our internal clocks are shaking off summer and anticipating winter. The weather isn't too hot or too cold, and fresh local foods are still available.

I started my detox in mid-October, anticipating a 2-week program. But I've been feeling so fantastic that I plan to continue until the end of the year. I may ease the restrictions occasionally, making it easier to eat in restaurants and celebrate holiday meals, but for the most part I plan to keep up the routine: exercise, hydrotherapy, detox supplements, and food free of sugar, starches, grains and processed foods.

Why is detoxification important?

Every day we are exposed to toxins in air, water, food and our environment, from carpet and upholstery to shower curtains and personal products.

According to the Cancer Prevention Coalition, residues of more than 400 environmental toxins have been identified in human blood and fat tissue.

The National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), routinely measures chemicals in people as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Their most recent report found environmental toxins in every single sample.

Our bodies begin to accumulate these chemicals before we're even born. The Environmental Working Group analyzed umbilical cord blood from babies born in US hospitals in 2004. Researchers found 287 different chemicals including mercury, multiple pesticides, more than a dozen different flame retardants, and industrial pollutants called polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs. Most samples contained 100 or more different PCBs

For most people, small doses of environmental toxins cause cumulative damage rather than immediate symptoms. Continued exposure and/or reduced liver function can compromise natural detoxification systems, causing the body to store toxins rather than eliminate them.

Accumulation of toxins in the body can lead to general malaise or chronic health problems including hormone imbalance, metabolic disorders, decreased mental acuity, skin and digestive conditions, and food and chemical sensitivities.

Clearing toxins from the body can relieve symptoms and renew wellness and vitality. Ask your naturopathic doctor if you would benefit from an autumn cleanse.

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