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 Healthy Woman: 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health for Women: Spring Cleaning: Detoxify Your Body 
Kathleen Barnes , Hyla Cass MD ©
We hear the stories on the news every day: we are living in a sea of toxins. Even the polar bears in the Arctic are loaded with mercury from eating contaminated fish.

We like to think of newborn babies as pure and free of the poisons of every type that we encounter in life. The sad truth is that by time they are born, babies are contaminated with a stew of toxins. In 2004, researchers found a total of 287 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood, including pesticides, consumer product ingredients and wastes from burning coal, gasoline and garbage in the blood of newborns. These chemicals were only the ones they tested for - who knows what others were in the mix? We do know that 180 of these toxins cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development and overall health of these children.

The average American consumers 14 pounds of chemicals a year in the form of food additives such as artificial food coloring, flavorings, emulsifiers, humectants and preservatives.

Then beyond the known "bad stuff," that we ingest more or less voluntarily, we are also exposed to environmental toxins caused by everything from contaminated food to air pollutants and second hand cigarette smoke.

No matter how much we try to avoid toxins, all of us are exposed to them all the time.

In addition, toxic overload can actually cause food sensitivities and allergies.

Because toxins are unavoidable, we're recommending a simple detoxification process of elimination and challenge. That means you eliminate common toxins and allergy-causing substances, including foods, from your diet for a period of time. You'll notice how much better you feel. Then you can do some detective work and challenge your body by re-introducing certain foods one at a time, so you can determine exactly which foods are causing problems.

This is the basic program: For the next week, avoid or the following:

  • refined sugars
  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • wheat and other gluten products (barley, rye, oats)
  • dairy products
  • corn and all corn products, especially high fructose corn syrup
  • canned and processed foods
  • food additives, preservatives and artificial flavorings
  • hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, including margarine, shortening and most commercial salad dressings and sauces
You can eat the following:
  • animal protein: skinless organic poultry, eggs and wild game
  • wild caught cold water fish (not more than two servings a week)
  • tofu and tempeh
  • organic sheep and goat's milk products, organic yogurt and organic butter
  • rice, millet, quinoa
  • vegetables (all except corn), organic if possible
  • all dried beans and legumes
  • extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil, sesame or macadamia nut oil for cooking
  • flaxseed oil for dressings
  • bottled spring water that contains minerals not present in filtered water
  • fruit juices (diluted at last 50% with water), vegetable juices, herbal teas, rice milk
This diet will restore simplicity to your eating patterns. While it's not intended as a weight loss program, you are likely to shed some weight.

Note: You won't be eating fruit this week. While fruits contain wonderful nutrients, they are high in sugar and this week is intended to detox your body of the toxic organisms that feed on sugars, so we want to deprive the "bad guys" of their food for this first week.

Your energy levels and general feeling of well-being will probably improve within a few days. Don't worry if you experience flu-like symptoms in the first few days. Among your toxins may be yeasts and parasites. When they are deprived of the sugars that feed them, they begin to die, releasing their toxins into your system and causing temporary discomfort called "die-off." If this happens, drink more water and add 1,000 to 3,000 more milligrams of vitamin C.

Be sure to use our Wellness Journal to document this important journey. You can download the template pages at:

The Wellness Journal will help you get a very good idea of your "good" and "bad" foods.

With the journal as your guideline, you can very gradually re-introduce certain foods, one at a time, and determine your physical and psychological reactions to them. For example, if you re-introduce gluten products like bread and if you sudden find you have gad or other intestinal upsets, you'll know that you are sensitive to gluten products. It won't take more than one or two negative experience with the results of eating these foods to convince you that they are not for you.

Try this little experiment. You'll find it will profoundly change your life.

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