DETOX DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A DIFFICULT OR PUNISHING EXPERIENCE. LIGHTEN YOUR BODY’S TOXIC LOAD WITH A FEW GENTLE CHANGES THAT PROMISE INNER AND OUTER RADIANCE
Our Short piece on Kat James (“TheTruth About Kat lames,” February, p. 68)-passionate natural health expert and well-known author of the newly rereleased book The Truth About Beauty-left us craving more details, particularly concerning her gentle approach to detox. From juicing to fasting to herbal cleanses and colonies, lames shares her personal detox regimen in this question-and-answer format, and reveals the best way to cleanse your body and improve nagging health issues using natural products.
Q: You say that your first experience with detox not only changed your life, but may have also saved it. Please explain how.
A: The first half of my life was my “toxic accumulation” period. I grew up on processed foods, soda and the occasional salad from a salad bar (complete with artificial bacon bits, orange-dyed cheese and hydrogenated croutons). I developed an eating disorder at age 13, which progressed to bulimia by high school.
By age 24, along with horrible rashes, bladder infections, and increasing heart palpitations and mood swings, came a scarier symptom: I started to pass undigested material. A doctor said my liver was inflamed (sky-high enzymes, but no viral hepatitis). Amazingly, he made no nutritional recommendations, but was quick to prescribe an immuno-suppressive drug that was notorious for causing side effects. That was the day I stepped into a health food store. I set out to learn about alternatives.
A few months of reading, a few blood tests and a few bottles of milk thistle, fish oil and alpha-lipoic acid Liter, my liver enzymes returned to normal, which shocked both my doctor and me. But the real revelation for me was the unexpected positive changes in my digestion, skin (rashes and painfully dry skin were gone) and improved mood. Suddenly I was a believer in nutrition-this also helped put me on the road to freedom from my eating disorder.
Q: What is the role of detox in beauty?
A: I learned personally that detox, and its counterpart, nourishment, are the dynamic duo that creates vitality-the harmonious, effortless radiance nature intended everyone to achieve.
But when most of us think of beauty, we think of the countless products on our bathroom shelves that we’ve been convinced are necessary to achieve acceptable personal hygiene and grooming. Detox strives for the ultimate hygiene-the pursuit of a thriving inner ecology that makes us glow without makeup. I’m living proof that fixing that internal ecology can turn back the clock and give us far greater beauty rewards than any makeup tricks or skin-care regimen ever can.
Most of us were born with near-perfect body ecology, but things like too much sugar, chlorinated water, air pollution, prescription drugs and even the synthetic grooming products present constant challenges to our internal balance. Until they’re addressed, we can expect a steady onslaught of consequences ranging from blemishes, bloating, under-eye circles, itchy scalp and weight gain to deeper health issues, such as fatigue, depression and autoimmune syndromes.
Halting continued toxic assaults is part of the solution. Detox is pan of the recovery.
Q: Do you recommend seasonal cleanses?
A: I think people just starting out might find a seasonal detox ideal. For most people, it can take several years to phase out challenging foods and vices. You may have to go through several evolutions before reaching a point at which you no longer want to return to your old, toxic lifestyle habits. Seasonal cleanses can then become a way to focus your efforts.
For me detox is not seasonal, but rather a way of life and a way of caring for myself on autopilot-both defensively and assertively- year-round. Once you come to desire the very choices that rejuvenate you and have phased out most of the toxic assaults you can control, there is little or no conscious effort required in continuing the process. I would never have thought that to be possible, and I affectionately call the state “beauty nirvana.”
Q: Are you a fan of harsh fasting therapies?
A: Some experts advocate fasting and some do not. I was overweight and insulin-resistant. For people with these issues (who now comprise at least two-thirds of our country!), fasting can be a problem.
Restricting food intake or skipping meals can worsen unstable blood sugar issues and even lead to bingeing. However, a small percentage of people who do not have blood sugar or weight issues (typically people who didn’t consume much soda or white flour growing up), can usually fast and/or do all-day “juice” fasts (drinking fruit and vegetable juices only) without harm.
Q: What do you think about cleansing programs?
A: I think everyone should get informed about liver, gallbladder and other cleanses, and educate themselves with the teachings of detox pioneers Bernard Jensen (author of Dr. Jensen’s Guide to Diet and Detoxification and many other books) and Elson Haas (author of several books, including The New Detox Diet). Your gut (literally), will tell you where to go from there.
It was from Brenda Watson, CT, author of Gut Solutions and other books, that I learned about the seven channels of elimination and the proper order for detox. (Hint: keep a clean colon, no matter what!)
I use cleansing products myself because I live in New York City, a toxic big city, but I avoid products with harsh ingredients, such as those containing the laxative herb senna.
Q: What are the benefits of detox?
A: If you have been consuming a lot of sugar, then generally speaking, your face could look “de-puffed” one or two mornings after getting off sugar (inflammation goes way down).
Other benefits: Energy dips start to disappear soon thereafter, though there are about three days of craving sugar, which can be greatly reduced by incorporating blood sugar-stabilizing supplements. [Editor’s note: To help you detox from sugar, look for a combination formula designed to balance blood sugar at the health food store.]
In a few days, abdominal bloating decreases as yeast and gut fermentation from processed flours and sugar are halted. In a week, cravings are all but gone and this affects your shape and mood dramatically. Within the month, skin looks healthier, eyes are clearer and weight loss is substantial. Best of all, no fasting, or even calorie deprivation, is required to achieve these results.
3 SHORTCUTS TO DETOX (THAT YOU CAN DO EVERY DAY!)
At her Total Transformation retreats (for schedule, see informedbeauty.com), James helps people detoxify their systems. In addition to the exploration of effective nontoxic beauty and personal care practices, the following three steps represent the most critical elements of James’ regimen:
1 Get the sugar out. Weaning off sugar is central to her approach. This not only starves yeast in the gut, which improves body ecology, it is the fastest step toward conquering cravings and weight issues, and achieving younger-looking, healthier skin.
2 Eat nourishing foods. She serves lots of organic greens and berries, as well as hempseed (an amazing grain substitute rich in omega fats), nuts, and grass-fed or wild meats and fish.
3 Cleanse naturally. She also incorporates her daily Beauty Detox Elixir, which is a whole juice rather than a conventional sugary juice, and therefore free of added sugar and preservatives (see p.49 for recipe). Certain detox products can help, especially in the beginning. James recommends the following nutritional supplements for cleansing and energizing the body:
* CleanseSmart by Renew Life-helps support the body’s key channels of elimination.
* 4Fiber by Genesis Today-a nutritive fiber that helps provide blood sugar support and offers a source of probiotics for intestinal/ gut health.
* LiverCare by Himalaya-a powerful liver detoxification formula that does not contain milk thistle but rather a blend of cleansing Ayurvedic herbs.
* PectaSol by Source Naturals (or another manufacturer)-this is one of the ony forms of modified citrus pectin shown to be effective at removing mercury and other heavy metals from the body, says James.
DO YOU NEED TO DETOX?
Some signs that your body is full of toxins include:
* Blemishes, eczema, psoriasis, hives
* Bloating, water retention
* Under-eye circles
* Itchy scalp, as well as itchy skin, eyes, ears
* Weight gain
* Fatigue and disturbed sleep
* Depression, foggy thinking, anxiety, poor memory
* Autoimmune diseases
* Bloodshot eyes, swollen or inflamed eyelids
* Constipation or diarrhea, belching or gas and/or heartburn and indigestion
* Uncontrollable food cravings
* Aching or painful joints
* Headaches or migraines
kat’s beauty detox elixir Makes 2 10-0z. servings
Made from 100% whole juice, this elixir is an uncommonly tasty way to detoxify and reveal vibrant skin. For best results, use a heavy-duty blender or juicer. You want to retain as much fiber from the fruits and vegetables as possible. Fiber-rich foods are particularly ideal for diabetics or those with blood sugar issues, as they help maintain blood sugar levels.
1 cups cold water or aloe juice (aloe juice helps digestion and regularity)
1/3 cup of fresh parsley (alkalizing and detoxifying)
cup of fresh dark greens, such as arugula, kale or watercress (rich in detoxifying chlorophyll and enzy\mes)
11-inch wedge of cabbage (helps heal the stomach lining)
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled (for enhanced circulation and digestion)
lemon, scrubbed hut not peeled (alkalizing and tastes great; peel is rich in bioflavanoids, which make the fruit’s vitamin C more effective)
small beet (for its blood-cleansing properties)
Pinch of cayenne or -inch slice of small jalapeno pepper (a digestive aid that tastes great, reduces pain and even compulsive behaviors)
2 tsp. xylitol or packet “de-bittered” stevia (these natural sweeteners smooth out the taste and have their own health benefits)
Bonus: Add a sprig of fresh herbs, such as cilantro (a great heavy metal detoxifier), rosemary or thyme, for added cleansing and antioxidant effects
Combine ingredients in machine (reserve cup of water or aloe juice) and run for 15 seconds on a medium speed and then on high for another 15 seconds. Taste and add remaining water, sweetener and a handful of ice cubes, if desired. Process on high until the mixture is very thin-it will thicken quickly once the fiber expands and absorbs liquid,
PER SERVING: 101 CAL; 3C PROT;
Above, author Kat lames talks about detox at one of her Total Transformation retreats.
Copyright Active Interest Media Mar 2007
(c) 2007 Better Nutrition. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.