The Detoxification Process — Does it Really Exist? : Guest Author Nomi Shannon

Thursday Apr 12 | BY |
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“Having long been a believer in the concept of detoxification, I was surprised recently when a friend questioned its very existence.”

Believe it or not, most of us have experienced the symptoms of detoxification, or what I like to call a “healing crisis.” We just stayed home from work because we thought we had a cold, the flu, or a stomach bug.

I could tell you stories! In fact, I think that’s just what I’ll do—tell you some true stories that illustrate why I strongly believe that cleansing and detoxification are the answer to all of mankind’s woes. Well, that they’re huge pieces of the healthy lifestyle puzzle, anyway.

My Story of “Raw”
I have been some version of “raw” for almost 25 years. I worked at the world-renown Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida for several years, running their Health Educator Course and interfacing with the guests on a daily basis as a Program Counselor. And I have been writing about and teaching raw food and alternative health for 16 years.

Oh, and I’m going to be 70 pretty darn soon. But I feel like a healthy, energetic, vibrant, busy 40-something-year old. Back in my 20’s-40’s, however, I dragged through life with never enough energy and all kinds of maladies, including undiagnosed celiac disease, fibromyalgia, sinusitis, digestive disorders, allergies, depression, and did I mention hardly enough energy to get through the day let alone be joyous and creative?

I took pills by the handful, and went well past “recreational” in the use of a still popular illegal substance, initially to quell the constant stomach pain I had (undiagnosed celiac will do that to ‘ya). To say the least, I was not Living the Dream. Then, in 1987, at the age of 44, I found out about raw food and never looked back.

1. The Story of Nathan
Nathan is the son-in-law of a very dear friend. When he was about 19, he had cancer on his upper thigh, or groin area, and was treated with surgery and radiation.

Flash forward a few years. Nathan’s mother-in-law was telling me about how this young couple decided to do a juice fast. But, she told me, Nathan got “very sick.” She didn’t have to say another word. I instantly knew what had happened. You see, they were “on trend” with the juice fast, but they had no understanding about cleansing or detoxification reactions and mistook his dramatic reaction for illness.

When the area where his cancer had been became inflamed and opened up (the body in its wisdom finally having a chance to rid itself of toxins that had been there for years), they panicked and he was rushed to the hospital and treated conventionally with massive antibiotics, etc.

Naturally, I am worried about this young man. I feel it is inevitable that he will be gravely ill again.

What they “should” have done: His symptoms were scary and dramatic, far more so than the “usual” cleansing reaction. The only way to have dealt with it was to have gone into this cleanse with a great deal of knowledge, and in Nathan’s case, supervision by a person trained in all aspects of cleansing.

What Nathan’s reaction was all about is a perfect and dramatic example of Hering’s Law of Cure which states that healing occurs from the head down, from inside out, and in reverse order as the symptoms have first been acquired. (Constantine Hering lived in the 17th century.)

So if you have a cough, the cough gets worse, you wind up with pneumonia, and then a month or two later you begin to fast, guess what? Chances are you will briefly re-experience those symptoms of pneumonia.

When we take drugs to suppress symptoms (sometimes necessary), we’re not curing the cause; we’re pushing that cause deeper in or suppressing it. Sooner or later, all that suppression takes a heavy toll on us.

Because Nathan’s cancer was suppressed, many years later, at the first opportunity his body had to cleanse (when he was juice fasting), symptoms reoccurred, in the order that he was ill, last or most recent, first.

2. The Story of the Young Man in Sedona
When I lived in Sedona, I regularly attended a raw potluck nearby. That is where I met a tall handsome man. He was more than handsome, this guy was literally glowing with good health. Radiating, even. I wanted to hear his story!

He said when he was in his early 30’s, he had cancer all over his body for the third time. For his first two times he had used conventional methods. He said he was in so much pain all he could do was lay down on a couple of bean bag chairs. He told his young daughters that he wouldn’t be able to stay with them for too much longer.

Right around then, a thought came into his head. He remembered reading about the Gerson Institute a long time ago. He found the book still in his bookcase! He attended Gerson in Mexico and upon his return home, followed their program exactly. This involved hourly juices, a strict diet, and daily coffee enemas. Friends ran his business for him and his wife made his food and juices.

At the time that I met him, it was his one-year mark from lying on the bean bag chairs saying goodbye to his 8- and 6-year-olds. He was on a two-year program, so he was at his halfway mark. It was just unbelievable to see this strapping, glowing, strong guy who 365 days ago was dying on a bean bag. He was so wise to stay on his program. You have to release ALL the toxins/poisons in order to become permanently well.

3. My Own Story
And then there is my own story, and what happened to me at the end of a 7-day water fast. But first I have to go back in time 25 years.

Back in the day, long before I was raw vegan, I was terribly allergic to shrimp. It took years to figure out what made me so sick, because I could eat cold shrimp by the bowlful, but when it was served hot it made me very ill.

I had about 10 incidents over many years where I ate hot shrimp and about 8 hours later would experience horrible, dramatic symptoms that were so severe, each time I was taken to a hospital to get shots to SUPPRESS THE SYMPTOMS. That’s a lot of suppression.

Move ahead around 20+ years from my last shrimp episode. By now I am a raw fooder and have been for quite a few years. I am at a supervised one-week water fast, run by a well-known healer, Ray Kent. Now, planning 7 days for a water fast is a bit artificial. It’s really best to let a fast run its course and listen to your body.

But this is the real world and I had limited time to go away. The plan was to end it on the 7th day. I remember looking in the mirror on the morning of the 6th day and saying to myself, “Wow you look 10-15 years younger.” And I did! Days of rest and water only is a very profound way to cleanse and heal. I saw a lot of healing there.

On the last night I experienced the most profound and dramatic healing crisis of my life: ALL THE EXTREME SYMPTOMS OF MY SHRIMP ALLERGY! Okay, I was trying to be lady-like and not actually describe the symptoms, but I see now that I have to. Close your eyes if you’re squeamish.

My Symptoms
My typical symptoms from my old shrimp allergy: Really bad diarrhea, with really bad vomiting, simultaneously. Preceded by hours and hours and hours (and hours) of horrible nausea, shaking, hot and cold sweats, paralysis of the hands, hands closing into little claws. Lasted for hours and hours and hours. Some days from say, 4:00 a.m. all day until shots at the hospital put a stop to it. Most horrible, violent illness. Wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Would easily lose 10 pounds in one day. Become dehydrated. Just like food poisoning at it most painful and awful.

Here’s what happened on that last night at Ray Kent’s fast, who, while it was going on, was a mere 30 feet away from me in his trailer. But while it was happening I didn’t need to call him. Because, you see, I knew what was happening. I welcomed it. It was like a miracle.

I underwent a “healing crisis,” “cleansing symptoms,” “detox.” I shook so violently that an observer might have thought I was having a seizure. My hands clawed up and I went all pale. I perspired. I was cold. I did not have pain; I did not vomit or have diarrhea…it was like a ghost of my symptoms. It lasted maybe 2 hours, could be 3, I don’t remember.

When I woke up the next morning I looked like a truck had hit me. (Remember how I was admiring how young and great I looked a mere 24 hours before?)

Such is the nature of a most profound healing experience.

Why did this happen, especially then, when I had been raw for quite a few years and had done a huge amount of cleansing already? Hering’s Law of Cure: healing occurs from the head down, from inside out, and in reverse order as the symptoms have first been acquired.

I feel the answer is that finally, my cleansing and healing had gone deep enough and far back enough (over 20 years since last shrimp incident) to allow the final last bits of toxicity from the drugs that were pumped into me to drain out. Like Nathan, whose body in its wisdom started to cleanse, my body was ready to release something that was stored deep within from decades before.

Cleansing, detoxification, and healing are very, very real and very, very profound. Our bodies were designed to do this. We just have to get out of their way and let them.

Your Question of the Day: What is your detoxification story?

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Picture courtesy chris8800 via

Nomi Shannon

Nomi Shannon

Nomi Shannon is an award winning author and world renowned coach. Her best selling book, The Raw Gourmet, has sold over 200,000 copies. Her second book, Raw Food Celebrations (with S.Duruz), is flying off the shelves at bookstores worldwide. Since 2008, Nomi has received numerous Best of Raw Awards for: Best Raw Educator, Favorite Raw Chef and Favorite Raw Book (for The Raw Gourmet, Raw Food Celebrations, and best in Media for What Do Raw Fooders Eat) as well as best Blog, best Online Store and her personal favorite, Funniest Raw Woman.

She’s not only a certified Hippocrates Health Educator; she actually ran The Hippocrates Health Institute’s Certification Course back in the early 1990’s. Raw since 1987, Nomi has been featured in Alive magazine, Get Fresh, San Diego North County Times, and Galveston News, as well as numerous radio shows and other media.

Nomi is known for teaching people proven steps to keeping — or regaining — vibrant health. Her website offers breakthrough information, product reviews, delicious recipes, an ezine and an online course — all free of charge. She also offers online coaching courses, her books, raw kitchen equipment, DVDs, phone consultations and live classes. Since there’s conflicting information about what the “best” raw food diet is, many raw fooders wonder what to eat. Nomi shows people a simple path to thriving on raw food and leaving the confusion behind. Just as important, she empowers people to whip up delicious meals quickly and easily, turning newbies into thriving home chefs practically overnight.

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