‘Spring Clean’ Your Body

by Alice Cherbonnier
7-Day Detox Miracle

by Stephen Barrie, N.D. (that’s for Naturopathic Doctor)
and Peter Bennett, N.D.
Published by Prima Health
320 pages. $12.76
ISBN: 0761514228

     DON’T LET the book’s title scare you away: Naturopathy is a medical specialty recognized in 28 states and Canada; ten states--and D.C.--license them; Maryland does not.
     The premise of naturopathy, says Dr. Barrie, is “to start with the least harmful remedy and progress. There’s much that you can do before you resort to taking drugs.”
     Using detoxification--ridding the body of substances that may be poisoning it--is a way to give the body’s immune system a chance to rest. The “7-day detox miracle” consists of only two days without food (but with water, lemon water, herbal teas, and maybe even some fresh juices), followed by a five-day regimen of fresh fruits, vegetables (cooked or not), and brown rice--as much as you want.
     If you feel a lot better--and Dr. Barrie says “odds are you will, even if you weren’t sick”--this tells you your diet needs permanent fine-tuning. The book provides guidelines for diet change. He suggests buying organic foods where possible; if too expensive, “scrub and wash produce with Safer [a nontoxic soap], and eat a lot of rice and beans.”
     “Our bodies are designed to feel good,” says Dr. Barrie. “We shouldn’t need to take a lot of medicines. But in our culture we suppress rather than deal with problems--painkillers, antacids. People lose their motivation to make a change because they can get this temporary palliative [ease without curing] relief. Western medicine doesn’t look for causes.”
     One piece of advice everyone can use: As we age, we lose our ability to manufacture digestive enzymes. “You have to chew more, until it’s a slurry in your mouth,” says Dr. Barrie. “Digestion starts in the mouth. That’s where food starts to break down. If you chew more, your stomach has to work less.”
     “Unless we go to the Australian Outback or southern Chile,” he says, “we have to accept we’re exposed to toxins. We have to work at what we can do.” He also recommends setting aside five minutes a day just to relax and think about nothing.
     The “miracle” in the book’s title, he says, is that the body is often capable of healing itself.
     Call 1-206-298-0125 for information about naturopathy.

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This story was published on Apr. 7, 1999.