Detoxification is the term used for the process
and the symptoms, both physical and mental that may
appear when you alter your lifestyle by starting
something new, such as a new diet or exercising, or
discontinuing a current habit, such as eating
chocolate or drinking coffee. These symptoms can
include headaches, stomach aches, cough, diarrhoea,
skin eruptions or rashes, sinus congestion and fever
as well as muscular aches and pains and generally
feeling run down and irritable. The symptoms may be
of short duration and the irritation slight or may
cause considerable discomfort and last longer.
Because these symptoms are the
same as show up in certain illnesses, changing your
diet or lifestyle can result in misunderstanding: If
I am doing something that is supposed to be good for
me, why do I have these symptoms? Why do I feel worse
instead of better? Understanding this apparent
contradiction is perhaps the first and most important
hurdle you must understand when making a dietary or
If you consider this carefully,
it is easy to understand. Think of how you may have
experienced this on a short term basis. If you do not
regularly exercise, and then play some sport, then
the next day you may feel bad, tired, sore muscles.
This is your body reacting to something that it is
not accustomed to. You can see the same thing if you
stop a regular activity, if you are a coke drinker or
cigarette smoker, and you stop for a while, you may
notice that you have less energy and may even get
headaches and other symptoms. When you change your
diet or lifestyle your body reacts to the change.
Why Does This Happen?
As we live toxins accumulate in the body tissues.
(These are waste products and poisons that the body
is unable to utilise or eliminate). Some of these are
from our diet and others are from the environment
around us. Of course your lifestyle and environment
is also an influence, if you smoke or use alcohol or
if you live in or adjacent to an industrial area then
you are likely to be accumulating even more toxins.
When you make a change in diet
of lifestyle either through stopping a bad habit,
exercising or eating better, the cells of your body
begin eliminating toxic substances. To exit the body
they are released into the blood stream and are
carried through the circulatory system to be expelled
from the body.
This process of release,
transportation and elimination can produce the
symptoms such as head aches diarrhoea, or
constipation and often as some toxins are released
through the skin, some rashes or eruptions may occur,
especially if you are prone to such problems. You may
feel a lack of energy, especially if eliminating
meats from your diet as the proteins found in meat
are more stimulating than those found in vegetables.
You may also find that with the absence of toxins in
the body that you absorb substances more easily so
that the sugars and caffeine taken again may trigger
a strong reaction.
A simple way is to say that the
body always goes for quality. When the food coming in
is of a higher quality than that which made up the
present tissue, that the body will replace the old
with the new higher quality food, and as the energy
of the body is raised then also the body will clean
How Severe are the
symptoms and how long do they last?
This largely depends on
your lifestyle and diet before the change, and how
quickly you have made the change. for example if you
have a diet have that is heavy in red meats, alcohol,
cigarettes and you are exposed to lots of chemical
pollutants and then overnight you go on an
elimination and live in a pristine or controlled
pollution free environment, then you may expect more
severe symptoms for a week to ten days. If changes
are more gradual then the symptoms will also be less
but likely spread over a longer period of time.
The duration of symptoms may
not be linear; there is a chance that they will come
in cycles. At first you may feel great and then feel
some detoxification symptoms. After the initial
release or cleanse, you will feel good again and
probably better. However as you maintain the change
the body goes deeper and finds more toxins to
eliminate. The symptoms may reappear again and you
will continue to feel better and as this process
continues you'll find that the periods of symptoms
will be shorter and the periods of well-being
What Can I do during this
period? Do realise that you are not sick and that the
body is cleaning out. Once you get over this
psychological barrier the rest is easy. The most
important thing to do is rest when you feel the need.
Reduce your worldly responsibilities as much as
possible and eat lightly foods that are nutritious
and easily digested. Focus on fresh fruits and vegies
and drink plenty of water.
Need to flush your
system fast? Then talk to your natural health
consultant and arrange a managed detox program.
Find a health professional.