Vegetable Cleanses

[This is the second post in a series. Check out the introduction post on cleansing diets here.]

Now let’s take a look at some specific cleanses. These are all cleanses I have tried, or a close family member has tried, so what I share is just my personal opinion and experience, is not medical advice, and should in no way replace the recommendation of your trusted physician.

Vegetable and/or Fruit only Cleanses, including:

  • Vegetable juicing: using a juicing appliance to extract the juice from vegetables and fruits. A great deal of vegetable nutrients can be consumed in a small amount of juice, however the tendency to use sweet veggies and fruits (i.e. carrots and apples) can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes and exacerbate candida overgrowth.
  • Raw Vegetables: mainly a raw vegetable  cleanse, can include raw juices. Some people eat “raw” as a lifestyle, and often include nuts and raw dairy, which are often avoided for a cleanse. The idea is to benefit from the live enzymes in the raw veggies, which help to break them down. However, raw vegetables can still be difficult to digest in persons without sufficient supply of enzymes for breaking down fiber and other plant carbohydrates.
  • Vegetable soup cleanses: another variation on vegetable cleanses. More vegetables can be consumed than in a raw cleanse, but enzymes are destroyed in cooking. More fiber than a juice cleanse.
  • Grape cleanse: when only grapes and water are eaten. The high sugar content may exacerbate candida or other fungal overgrowth.
  • Seneca Indian 4 day cleanse: a combination of all the above: day 1 raw fruit only but no bananas, day 2 herbal teas with maple syrup only, day 3 vegetables of all kinds: juice, raw or in soup, day 4 rich vegetable broth only.

Unless you are using organic vegetables, you can forget it as a detox. Other than the detox properties of the cleanse (with organic only), vegetable cleanses seem to focus cleansing on the colon. Since this organ stores and then moves waste out of the body, it would seem a logical organ needing a periodic cleaning. A few days to a week has been more than sufficient in my experience, however every body is different. Note that “cleaning out the colon” does not mean that flora imbalances are corrected: if you have overgrowth of Candida (fungal) or harmful bacteria, this kind of cleanse will not correct that (you will likely need a combination of herbal and/or pharmaceutical medicines and probiotic supplements supervised by a doctor, with follow-up testing to confirm efficacy). Vegetable cleanses are excellent for breaking food cravings.

Cleansing and/or detoxing while pregnant and breastfeeding is not recommended, since toxins will be mobilized and could harm a baby in the womb or at the breast. This can be very frustrating for women in the middle of childbearing years, especially when they plan to nurse beyond a year with each baby, and find breastfeeding and pregnancies come back to back. I have been told by a Midwife whom I trust that the only “cleansing diet” she recommends to her moms is a raw vegetable/salads with lemon diet for one week while nursing (not pregnant). However, this should only be done after the milk supply is well established (perhaps after 6 mo. postpartum of full-time nursing). I did try this with my first baby, but had a hard time feeling satiated/getting enough calories, so I gave it up after 2 days.

There is no doubt: vegetables are good for us. However, I do not advocate vegan or vegetarian diets as healthy: they just haven’t held up to science or to my own experience. And don’t think that only vegetables help us detox; meat protein contains many amino acids not found in veggies . . . amino acids which detox certain kinds of chemicals accumulated or manufactured in our bodies. So (as I state in the intro post on this topic) the best cleanse is a long-term clean balanced diet.

Your body is detoxing every single day, whether you are on a special diet or not! Another way to approach the long-term detox lifestyle is to purposefully include more of the detox powerhouses into your diet:

Foods that enhance liver detox:

  • asparagus
  • grapefruit
  • artichokes
  • all dark leafy greens: kale, spinach, romaine, chard
  • onions
  • garlic
  • olive oil

Foods that enhance kidney detox:

  • cranberry
  • lemon
  • water, water, water (only purified)
  • cucumber

While systematically removing detox blockers from your everyday diet:

  • any kind of heated vegetable oil, such as found in fried chips, baked chips, french fries, box cookies
  • refined sugar
  • conventional dairy

Up next: some fasts and more specific cleanses.

What I’ve Been Up To

My last post was August 1st. Considering that tomorrow is November 1st, this post could be titled How to Let a Blog Die. Instead, I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to these past 3 months.

Thaddeus, at 4 weeks

On August 22nd, I gave birth to my 4th child, this one at home (first time). He was born just before midnight, and after about 50 hours of labor. 9lbs, 5oz was quite a bundle to push out, but I had no complications. My midwife with 2 nurse attendants were on hand, as well as my husband and mother. Little Thaddeus arrived, and was tucked into bed with me about an hour later; what a sweet prize after all that work!

My mom was able to stay for a week after Thaddeus was born, and when she left my 15-year-old sister Johannah stayed for another 3 weeks. Wow! what a blessing they were!

Thad has done fabulously; he gained about a pound a week his first 6 weeks (breastfeeding only), and sleep schedule is going well too.

However, we have had quite a learning experience with Pertussis (Whooping Cough). My three children began to show symptoms the week before Thaddeus was due (we knew we had been exposed) so we all took antibiotics to wipe out any bacteria that would be contagious to others, particularly the baby who was due any day. Unfortunately, the antibiotic doesn’t help the disease process in the patient, so all 3 children had a dreadful, scary cough (worse at night), which has only now begun to subside (11 weeks later). However, I was very grateful that we were able to catch it, and avoid exposing our infant.

But, 5 weeks later, Thaddeus began to have the same funny tiny cough the children had started with…a culture showed that he was now positive for Pertussis! This was outside the window for disease gestation, so we don’t believe that he could have even contracted it from our own family; it is obviously a highly contagious disease for him to have come down with it from casual exposure outside our home. It is quite dangerous in infants, with 87% requiring hospitalization. 8 infants have died in California already this season (it is an epidemic year for this).

However, Thaddeus has weathered Pertussis marvelously, perhaps better than the 3 older children. Many, many people were praying for him: family and friends across the country, and even many people who don’t know us (thank you if you were one of them). We thank the Lord for being so gracious to him and to us, and sparing him from hospitalization or even death. I’m also grateful for excellent and prompt medical care, and for the excellent diet I was able to pass on to him in breast milk.

We found that Vit. C, cod liver oil, and Guafinasin were helpful supplements for the children, as well as eucalyptus chest rub. And the silver lining on this experience is that these 4 children now have lifetime immunity, which is more than my husband and I can boast of through vaccination, which is only about 80% effective for about 10 years, they now believe.

In addition to all this, in September I began the school year with our 2 oldest (1st grade), hosted 2 waves of out-of-town relatives/guests, attended an out-of-town wedding, and experienced mastitis for the first time (probably because I was too busy doing all the above).

October has slowed down quite a bit and we’ve fallen into a good routine with school in the mornings, naps in the afternoons (I try to get one a week!). I’m still trying to cook in healthier ways, and taking pictures of the results to share with you. I think my house is more green than clean right now…hmm.

Yesterday was my birthday, and I spent the whole day with my husband redeeming Chinook Book coupons (green living coupons in Portland); will share all about it soon.

So I’ve been busy…but I’m back to blogging!