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To Cleanse or not to Cleanse?

Posted Sep 07 2008 8:36pm

I am not a naturopath or a doctor, but I have noticed that doing a cleanse or detoxification is a pretty popular practice in the health and wellness industry these days. The idea being that our body absorbs all kinds of toxins from the environment and our lifestyle that are stored in our body. These toxins cause damage to our organs, expedite the aging process, and decrease our overall health and well being. I read a lot about the harmful effects of toxins, and the "need" to do a detox all the time but wasn't sure if it was a legitimate health concern or not. I mean, sometimes the "natural wellness" world can seem pretty silly to me. That being said, I figured I should I try a detox and see what happens. I had heard all kinds of crazy stuff like I would be living on the toilet, I would bust out in acne, or I would feel like crap. All this stuff sounded like a challenge so off to the local naturopath I went.

After giving her a basic run down of my lifestyle, diet and supplement protocol, she suggested I try the Garden of Life, Perfect Cleanse. This is a three stage cleanse that has a Purify formula, a Capture formula and a Removal formula. Each formula is ingested separately by pill or powder. I started the detox that day and was pretty excited to "see some shit hit the fan" so to speak. Well, at first I was disappointed. No acne, no bathroom issues, nothing. I guess I should have been happy but I wanted to "feel something". Then came day 3.

At first it was no big deal, I was a little congested and felt a little run down. I figured this was normal and went about my day. I opted to skip a training session, which is a big deal for me, and took it easy instead. Thank God I did because the worst was yet to come. The next day I felt like I was beat up by pack of stick wielding midgets! I was achey, tired, super congested and felt sick as a dog. Always being the type who "pays when he plays" I went to work as this was self inflicted. At work I was disturbing everyone with my constant sneezing and nose blowing and overall malaise. I refused to go home and trudged through the day. As soon as I got home I went to bed.

During all this I kept taking the cleanse figuring that a good night's sleep would cure all. Unfortunately, Day 4 I thought I was going to die. I was totally sick, and went to work anyways! My boss promptly sent me home after 45 minutes of total sinus drama. I went home and straight to bed, but still I stayed on the cleanse!

Days 5-10 became progressively better and I finally returned to normal soon after the cleanse, but what a trip. Would I do it again? Yes, but this time I would use a bit more strategy. I went back to the naturopath after all this and spoke to her about the craziness I experienced. At first she was really surprised at how sick I became. Then she asked if I stopped taking the cleanse when I got sick, of course I didn't, so she suggested I should have. Next she said that a general cleanse may have simply been too much for me. I am 28 and it was my first cleanse so I probably should have started with something more specific like a liver cleanse.

I will do another cleanse but am waiting until I am mentally prepared again. I am interested to see if a second cleanse would cause the same illness the first one did. Overall it was a learning experience that I thought I should share you readers. Should you do a cleanse? I think so, but consult a professional first and then choose the lightest, easiest one to start with.

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