You gotta get your exits working. Elimination is going to happen, and it would be best if it happened in the way your body is meant to do it.
Our bodies are constantly detoxing. That’s how they’re built. Our livers are working 24/7 cleaning our blood. Our skin is sloughing off and creating new layers underneath. We cough and get junk out of our lungs. We excrete a bunch of junk out of our urine and poop. We don’t have to think about it. It just happens. Well, unless our bodies are full of junky stuff like years of medications, poor eating, and living a sedentary lifestyle. If that’s the state our body is in, then we probably aren’t getting as much toxic material out as we need to.
You’ve got four main elimination avenues: Urine, poop, breath, and skin. If you’re female, you’ve also got a bonus with vaginal discharge.
If you start doing a heavy detox without making sure your elimination avenues are open and functioning, you could get a buildup of toxins inside with nowhere to go, which means they will come out of your skin, because that’s your back-up elimination when something else isn’t working. Cue from stage left – acne, boils, rashes and more.
I’ve heard and read the information that tells a very sick person to go on a big detox cleanse to rid their body of toxins so they can get well. I see that as a really great way to end up in the hospital or at the very least render them unable to do anything else in their lives but feel terrible for a very long time.
If your body is really ill, you are full of toxins. If you’ve been taking a lot of medication, you’re full of toxins. If your body could figure out how to get them out, you wouldn’t have the buildup. Therefore, your exits are not working well. To suddenly start a cleanse or detox of some kind that will stimulate a huge exit of toxins will just create a bunch of poison with nowhere to go. That will put an incredible amount of strain on your liver and adrenals when we know they are already exhausted and can’t do their jobs. So the poison will get stuck in an organ or tissues, causing more inflammation, until it works its way out of your skin. So.
Step 1 – open the exits. Step 2 – start a gentle detox and reduce toxic load. Step 3 – when all is going well, step it up incrementally and then finally, Step 4 – bring out the big guns if you so choose.
To open the exits, support the body system. For urine, that’s hydrating for the liver and adrenals. For pooping, that’s your digestive tract and promoting bacteria that’s on your side. For breathing, that’s practicing deep breathing exercises and doing oxygenation of the blood. And for skin, that’s doing dry brushing, increasing baths, cutting out chemicals and eliminating things that encourage your body to not sweat i.e. antiperspirants.
Supporting your urine elimination is the most gentle way to get started. Up your intake of water and add lemon wedges. These things make the liver’s job easier, which means it has the space to take some toxins out instead of just trying to survive. When you feel like you’re urinating about every 90 minutes, that’s the max amount of water you need. If you’re going three or more hours without needing to urinate, that’s not helping you detox. If you’re going every 45-minutes to an hour, that’s going to really interrupt your day and you might have the urge to “hold it” for awhile before going. That’s counterproductive to what we’re trying to do. Getting too much water can also hurt you. It’s called hyponatremia.
You can check your urine color against a chart to see where it falls in toxicity. You want a pale yellow color all throughout the day with a slightly darker shade first thing in the morning.
If you have discomfort in your bladder or feel burning when you pee, these are signs of an infection and need to be addressed immediately. 48 hours after infection sets in the urinary tract, it’s possible the infection will reach your kidneys and that’s a big issue.
Keeping pro-biotics going into your body will help ward off UTIs before they start. Eating blueberries, fresh pineapple, fermented foods, kefir and yogurt and drinking unsweetened cranberry juice are all natural ways to keep the balance right. But if you’re in pain after 2 days, consider seeing a doctor. They will prescribe you an antibiotic if your urine sample comes back showing an infection. If you choose to take the antibiotic, increase the amount of probiotics you are eating daily to counteract the death of the beneficial bacteria in your gut that happens with antibiotics, but remember to take them at least 2 hours after you take the antibiotic so it doesn’t cause interference. You could also research oregano essential oil and supplements.
Do this successfully with no infection or pain for 2 weeks before moving on to the next level of detox. Consider adding in some salt foot-soaking, which is debatable as far as hard science goes for whether it’s actually helping you detox via your feet or not, or whether it helps you absorb magnesium, but at the very least, it’s relaxing and gives you a chance to meditate with some good essential oil smells and relax with some warm water.
Let’s talk about poop. Most people poop about once a day, some a little more, some a little less. During a gentle detox, you will probably poop more than your normal. If you are pooping all the live-long-day and it’s uncomfortable or painful, you’ve moved out of gentle and hit the Power Cleanse button. Back off and reset.
Because you’ve hopefully already added probiotics to your daily diet and you’re awesomely hydrating for your urine cleanse, this part is easier. I’m assuming you have cut out most, if not all, processed and refined foods by this point, but if not, that’s step one.
Next, add in a full-spectrum digestive enzyme on an empty stomach about 30 minutes before you eat your meal. This is going help your stomach juices work more effectively so you get more nutritional value from the food you eat. It’s also going to help your intestinal tract clean out garbage that’s been stuck in there. The process is going to feel a little gurgley in your stomach and intestines and you might have some loose stools for some amount of days. Keep hydrating, keep eating good foods, keep taking the supplement and your digestive system will normalize in a week or so.
A little tolerable discomfort and an increase in pooping is normal. After all, you’ve got stuff moving around in a way that it hasn’t in years. However, major discomfort that makes you unable to go through the rest of your day is a problem. If your body doesn’t respond in a happy way to what you’re doing, it’s asking you to change your approach. Look at the digestive enzyme you’re taking and consider changing the dose or trying a different brand/type.
A common misconception is that having heartburn and GERD are symptoms of too much stomach acid. This is false. Actually, when tested, about 90% of people who have heartburn are actually low on stomach acid.When a person feels acid reflex, it’s because the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), which should be tightly closed unless food is going down in (or vomiting), is malfunctioning and releasing at the wrong time. This causes your stomach acid to “burn” your stomach and esophagus cells. One of the main causes of a malfunctioning LES is low stomach acid.
Your stomach’s main acid is called hydrochloric acid (HCI) and it’s very strong. If a drop got directly on the outside of your body, it would burn. But, your stomach lining is coated with mucus to protect it from HCI and Pepsin, produced by the HCI, in order to break down proteins so you can get those essential amino acids you have to have to survive. However, the lining of your esophagus is not coated, so when the acid comes up, it feels bad and causes damage.
Taking an antacid might make you feel better in the short term because it’s making the injured tissue feel better by stopping stomach acid secretion, but it actually sets you up for malnutrition, because you need your acid to digest your foods! Side effects of long-term use of OTC antacids and prescription proton pump inhibitors include GI infections, increased risk of pneumonia, osteoporosis and spontaneous bone fractures.
And the sad thing is, just because you aren’t feeling acid leak up through the LES anymore, doesn’t mean something’s not leaking up, and that something is undigested food. So, now you’ve got low stomach acid, which means you can’t break down your proteins, which means you aren’t going to get your essential amino acids, which is going to lead to fewer neurotransmitters in the blood stream, which is going to make you feel depressed.
Food leaking back up via the LES leads to food allergies. Plus now your gut flora is going to be more out of whack because your food is going to sit around in your stomach, while not having enough acid, causing you to feel the burn, until it has no choice but to send it down to your intestines basically undigested, which means it’s going to putrefy and you aren’t going to get your nutrients out of those fermented foods and they are going to cause inflammation, constipation, bloating, gas and leaky gut as it slooooowly exits your body, scraping the intestines as it goes.
Here are some ideas to support your LES in working correctly: Cut out all grains and processed foods from your diet (you want your fiber to be from veggies), cut out anything you are allergic to (refer to your Food Diary), lower your stress and use deep breathing throughout the day, chew your food incredibly well before swallowing, eat smaller meals so you don’t stretch the stomach out and push up against the LES, don’t drink any liquid during your meals, supplement with magnesium (magnesium citrate) because a deficiency can lead to muscle spasms because they are too tight (including your LES), stop wearing tight belts, pants or support garments that squeeze tightly around your middle, and take a full-spectrum digestive enzyme 30 minutes before your meal to get the stomach all ready for action.
After a time, your LES will start working correctly and your damaged tissues will heal.
But, what about constipation? Good question. Eating diets high in fiber has long been the way Americans have thought about targeting constipation. And here I am telling you to cut out all your grains and have your fiber come from fruit and veggies.
We need the soluble fiber found in vegetables and fruits, not the insoluble fiber filled with phytic acid that you find in supplements, cereals, and in the grains themselves while you’re trying to heal your gut.
When you eat grains, they hit your stomach and as your HCI starts to break them down, it releases phytic acid which in turn grabs onto and locks down the available minerals, claiming them for their own. The more “Whole Grain” you go, the worse the issue is. Then, the fibrous material is sent down the poop shoot where it scrapes your intestinal track, wrecking the flora you need to get the rest of the nutrients out of your food. For now, my suggestion is to eat Paleo. Bring back grains after your gut heals.
Instead of upping insoluble fiber, include a comfortable ratio of cooked/raw veggies and fruits for your body and add in more coconut oil. Make sure you are eating your probiotics and if you haven’t started a magnesium supplement yet, this might be a good time. And remember that cruciferous veggies and apples with the skins on will help your body do the smooth detoxing it’s trying to do.
Be successful at this for at least a month before moving to the next step. During that month, add in oil swishing/pulling and salt-soaking to encourage toxins to release. Remove toxic bath add-ins like scented bath soaps and bubbles and replace them with essential oils. Read the ingredients of all your bath/body products and begin to eliminate and swap out what you can. The less toxins you’re exposed to, the less you have to try and get rid of after the fact.
Make sure you are doing deep breathing and oxygenating everyday. Take walks or do yoga. And hydrate!
Dry skin brushing is a great way to help your skin do what it does – detox. You’re using a dry brush to rub against the skin, encouraging your lymphatic system to release toxins which have been laying stagnant and creating inflammation. (Remember, your lymphatic system doesn’t have its own pump, so this helps move your lymph around.) You’re exfoliating the dead skin layers, unclogging your pores and helping your skin breathe. You’re increasing your circulation, which in turn helps your blood flow better, which helps carry the waste to exits in the body, which helps your kidneys and your digestive system.
” target=”_blank”>Oil Pulling is another great gentle detox you can try. Put a little coconut oil in your mouth, let it melt and then swish/pull it between your teeth. 15-20 minutes is the magic number. If you can do it for that long before spitting it out (in the trash, not the drain!) you’ll begin to really get those toxins out. Drop in essential oils after the coconut oil melts in your mouth for a really healing 20 minutes.
Now, if you feel ready and it’s been some amount of weeks/months of steady small progress and you’re feeling pretty good, you could take out the big guns. You’re peeing and pooping like a rockstar. You’re doing some toxic offloading with skin stimulation and baths. You’ve felt the benefits for a few months and you’re feeling a little stronger. Now that your exits are open and working well, we can look at doing something a little more intense.
Candida is a yeastlike, parasitic fungus that’s been hanging out in your gut forever. All our guts have it, and it’s not a problem unless it’s not kept in check with the beneficial bacteria in there. Candida has a mind of its own and yells at you to keep feeding it sugar and refined products that turn into sugar because it’s bossy and that’s what it eats. Because you’ve cut those out of your diet, it’s starting to get pretty peeved at you.
You may notice that you have stinky feet or fungus on your nails. Or bloating/constipation/diarrhea in a cycle. Maybe you get some hives or rash or have eczema or itching in your bum or vagina or your UTIs keep coming back. Maybe you get super itchy in your ears or eyes. Maybe you get extra sweaty or have a headache or stomachache often. And right now you’d really like to put an entire pizza and a dozen donuts in your pie-hole.
The way out is to stay the course, my friend, and then add an anti-fungal. You’ve made so many incredible changes over the past few months getting ready for this and it just might get a little uncomfortable for a few more weeks while the Candida yells at you a little louder, that prima donna. It’s going to start dying off and it might get weird. Things might get itchier. This is a sign of progress.
But, you’ve laid the groundwork in your gut already. You’re putting in a ton of beneficial probiotics to correct what’s going on in there. You’re hydrating like crazy to keep things moving all throughout your systems. You’ve cut out the foods that cause inflammation, which calls to the candida to come and soothe it and encourages it to increase. You’ve cut down or eliminated the amount of antibiotics and OTC meds you take. And the only sugars you eat are in small amounts of whole fruits or whole-sugar foods like blackstrap molasses, honey, and dates.
Now it’s time to add anti-fungals and your Candida is not going to like it one bit. Don’t go too fast or you’ll have some pretty regrettable body system issues.
First up, coconut oil. Coconut Oil has Caprylic Acid in it, which is a natural anti-fungal. If you drink coffee in the morning, let it cool slightly and then add in some coconut oil and whirl it in the blender for a frothy latte. Melt some and use it on your cooked veggies. If you want to get even serious-er, just eat a few tablespoons a day, although I could never do it.
Oregano essential oil is awesome for killing off Candida excess, but it’s also awesome at just plain killing. We need all kinds of bacteria in our guts, so if you choose to use powerful Oregano, stop after about 7 days and give yourself a break for a few weeks and see how you feel. Whether you choose to take it internally or apply it topically to the bottoms of your feet, dilute it with a good carrier oil to prevent burning on location or in your stomach.
Candida does not like garlic. Garlic has something called Ajoene in it which kills fungus. Some people can’t digest garlic (me included) so this is not a route I take. But if you can digest it, it’s got a ton of other health benefits, so it’s a great choice.
Remember, if your symptoms of die-off get too intense, it’s best to consider laying off a bit and letting your body recover. We aren’t in a race here, so take all the time you need. You’re going to need extra naps and sleep at night to help your body do all this extra work, so don’t plan any marathons any time soon.
As the yeast is killed off they can release up to 79 different toxins, including Ethanol and Acetaldehyde. Your liver is going to be working overtime to remove them as they die, but your die-off symptoms are worse if the liver falls behind.
There are a few things you can do to support your efforts and encourage the Candida to get in control sooner.
Cut out alcohol. It’s made with fermented yeast and sugar and your Candida absolutely loves it. In fact, if you’re trying to cut down and you just can’t seem to, or you end up drinking more than you had intended, this could be why. Just stop.
Add in Aloe Vera. It’s been proven to slow down Candida growth. Start with about 1/4 cup a day and see how you do. Aloe vera contains anthraquinone, which is a laxative, so along with being an anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal, helping to coat your intestines and get rid of toxins, it’s also really great at helping you poop. Tread slowly.
Tea. Drink chamomile, peppermint, ginger, or licorice tea because they have anti-fungal properties. Also try slippery elm tea because it coats the intestinal tract.
Take a Milk Thistle supplement. It has Silymarin to aid your liver in detoxing by activating protein synthesis which repairs damaged liver cells and restores their functions. It helps make the cell membranes stronger and prevents toxins from entering the cells and it encourages the growth of new liver cells.
Take Vitamin C and N-acetylcysteine supplements because they help your liver manufacture glutathione, what your body uses to safely export toxins to your exits and/or increase your cruciferous veggies to simulate what glutathione does in the body.
Consider taking a Vitamin D supplement to help your body absorb calcium. Whenever you’ve got calcium going in, you need that Vitamin D to help it help you, so that the calcium won’t build up, which would put a strain on your kidneys trying to eliminate it.
Include butter from grass-fed cows in your diet to make sure you’re getting Vitamin K2 from your fermented foods, which is a nice little helper to your Vitamin D, but also helps your heart, brain, bones, teeth and helps prevent cancers and diabetes. So, eat your sauerkraut, cheese and natto.
Eat chard and spinach and maybe soaked pumpkin seeds for the Magnesium, which aids in digestion and elimination by helping 300 different enzymes do their work.
If you cut out table salt, as well you should, remember that you aren’t getting iodine from your salt any longer and consider some sea weed every few days if it smells good to your body.
And remember, this is not a race. It’s ok to go in phases and let your body recover again before tackling the Candida.
An interesting last note about Candida and how much it wants to stay alive in large numbers: The waste product, Acetaldehyde, of healthy, thriving Candida connects with your serotonin and dopamine and creates a numbing affect in your brain like an opiate when you give it fermented sugar. It’s rewarding you for feeding it. Along with that “high,” you’re also getting a somewhat delayed but increasingly serious host of issues like impaired memory, brain fog, depression, lethargy, irritability, anxiety, low sex drive, increased PMS, slow reflexes and increase in the desire to go back to your addictions.
So if you’re the kind of person that looks forward to having a drink at night and you feel a “numbing” effect in your brain, you’re getting the Acetaldehyde from both your Candida and the breakdown of the alcohol itself. It’s a double-whammy. And if you have a hard time stopping because you feel your body yelling at you for a beer, it probably really is.
Niacin (Vitamin B3) and zinc both help break down Acetaldehyde, so as you ease into this change, be kind to yourself and add in some extra animal protein and a half an avocado when you feel the bad cravings come on. The numbing effect of the opiate feeling is something your body has relied on as a coping mechanism, so don’t forget to tell yourself what a great job you’re doing, too. Love your Self through this transition.
Invigorate Something Good
Fix yourself some green or herbal tea instead of coffee when that urge for a second cup hits mid-morning or afternoon. Stand up, breathe deeply in and out and thump your thymus for 30 seconds. You’ll be encouraging new T-cells to form, giving your body oxygenated blood, massaging your vagus nerve and hydrating with much less (or no) caffeine. Finally, swipe some Wild Orange essential oil on your pulse points and take a big whiff from the bottle to lift your mood during this detoxing time.