Fight flu season by cleansing |

Fight flu season by cleansing

Summit Daily/Kristin SkvorcDetox type pills help fill the shelves in Alpine Natural Foods.

FRISCO – What are you willing to give up to have more energy and mental clarity?Sugar? Alcohol? Tobacco? Fried and fatty foods?Holistic health care professionals have seen hosts of ailments clear up after patients eliminate unhealthy foods from their diets and eat more organic whole foods. Kim Nearpass, a Frisco naturopath, has seen women with menopausal symptoms of anxiety and hot flashes go away after a cleanse. She also has seen patients’ allergies, emotional issues and digestive difficulties disappear.”In an ultimate world, I’d have patients do a cleanse before they do anything else because I’ve had patients who do a cleanse, and all of their symptoms clear up,” Nearpass said. Lacey Story, a Frisco acupuncturist who also specializes in detoxification, agrees, saying people who cleanse their bodies first spend less time getting treatments because each treatment is more effective. Justin Pollack, a Frisco naturopath, uses fall and spring cleanses to avoid winter viruses and spring allergies.

Yes … you’ve probably heard all of this before. Eating healthy is good for you.But it’s those restrictions – sugar, alcohol, tobacco, red meat, your favorite foods – that hold you back from your optimal health. But take heart: An effective cleanse only needs to last seven days. After that, it may be much easier to continue on a healthy path, because most cravings subside after three or four days, Pollack said.”Part of a cleanse is to get people to the state where they can experience optimal health with an optimal diet, and then they can choose from there on out what they want to do,” Pollack said.And for many people, such as Audrey Benecke, one week is enough to see improvement. Benecke started a cleanse under Pollack’s supervision last spring because she felt exhausted. She didn’t think she was “strong enough” to go longer than a week, but after a week’s cleanse, she learned about her bad eating habits – such as eating when she wasn’t really hungry – and found she could maintain better habits and drink teas to help cleanse her system regularly.”I felt great after it,” Benecke said. “The overall tone and texture of my skin improved, I had a leaner physique and my energy was much, much better. I think it will enhance anyone’s performance in anything.”Pesticides, antibiotics and hormones in food tend to create toxins in the body, which often cause fatigue and other ailments. Pesticides interfere with insects’ neurological and reproductive systems, and now humans have more neurological and reproductive problems. There’s no proven link, but it’s something to be concerned about, Pollack said. Ingesting hormones increases the risk of cancer – particularly breast cancer – and girls are now reaching puberty at younger ages because of exposure to external sources of estrogen, Nearpass said. And taking unnecessary antibiotics could increase humans’ resistance to antibiotics and create stronger bacterial strains, Pollack said.

So what can you do?Most practitioners recommend cleansing in the fall and spring because seasonal changes put different stress on the body. In fall, people tend to eat heavier, sweeter and more fatty foods as they move into the cold, dark season of winter. Colder weather can cause the body to stagnate, which provides more opportunity for virus and bacteria to settle and grow.”A cleanse helps keep the flow going in the body by clearing out systems of detoxification – the liver, digestive tract, kidneys, skin and the lymphatic system,” Pollack said.There are a variety of ways to cleanse the body. The most extreme involves fasting, which is best done when a person can rest a lot. The most gentle is simply eating whole, pure foods. Pollack and Nearpass offer a package of supplements and instruction, which incorporates a day of juicing and eating simple, whole foods. Their cleanse includes taking herbs and supplements that help the liver detoxify, keeps the colon moving and adds digestive flora and necessary nutrients. Story offers both Western and Chinese herbs, as well as a homeopathic detoxification kit and hyperthermic treatment. A new healer in Frisco, Layla Duran, is an Apache woman who uses Native American herbs and ceremonial detoxification she learned from her ancestors to cleanse and purify the body. She uses a variety of oils and herbs, including warm prickly pear cactus, cedar, lemon balm, sage and lavender. Summit County also has a host of other qualified practitioners.

Though Nearpass says a person doesn’t necessarily need supervision during a gentle cleanse, she says those who have never tried it or people who don’t know where to start can benefit from guidance. Story, on the other hand, has seen too many people get sick doing a cleanse, so she recommends medical supervision. Both practitioners agree the body needs assistance to clear toxins out of the system, and sometimes drinking a lot of water just isn’t enough.There are two primary phases in the detoxification process. Phase I releases toxins from whatever they are bound to, such as fats. Sometimes people stop the cleansing process at this phase because they start to get headaches, stomach aches or fatigue. But Pollack says breaking a cleanse can be worse than not doing a cleanse at all.Products released in phase I can be highly reactive and more harmful than the original toxin; phase I causes an increase in oxidative stress and free radical generation. That’s why it’s important to take supplements that bind up the toxins and help release them naturally, Story said.And detoxification doesn’t have to cost a lot; for example, the Frisco naturopaths offer a package for $95. And you’re not expected to turn into a perfect eater.”It’d be nice to make a lifestyle out of a really clean diet, but even I can’t do that. It’s really nice to stay in that for awhile, but inevitably, there’s going to be cookies in the office,” Pollack said.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at

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