Understandably, it can be really frustrating to start eating better and still not feel your best. You might feel confused, discouraged or even angry that you are trying so hard and not seeing the results you want.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
What happens if you start a new cleanse, supplement or detox product and find yourself feeling worse? Doesn’t feeling bad mean that you are having a detox reaction and you should “suffer through it?” And doesn’t foggy brain, fatigue, sugar cravings and rashes always mean you have candida? Definitely, no, or at the very least, mostly no.
I’ve been in this field for a long time and I want to share with you one of the biggest mistakes that people are making today in the world of detox and natural health: They are calling everything a detox reaction.
In my opinion, the most “over-diagnosed” and incorrect problem that people get labeled with when they’re eating healthy (especially high raw food or vegan) but still feeling bad is: 1) They have candida or 2) They are still detoxing. I’ll address the candida issue in another post, but I can tell you that in my experience of seeing well over 4,500 clients, 95+% of the time, both of these assessments are false.
Did you ever consider that you might actually just have a food intolerance or sensitivity to a food additive? Believe it or not, this happens much more than you could ever imagine. And, when you take the suspicious food out of your diet, you can feel better in a matter of days. Finally, you can start enjoying some real healthy bliss! Read on to understand the difference between a real detox reaction and a potential allergic reaction or an intolerance to a food or food additive.
What is a Detox Reaction
When your start to do a detox, as old, excess toxins flush out and unwanted bacteria, microbes and viruses die off, you can actually experience a temporary detox or cleansing reaction. Based on the work of Dr. Karl Herxheimer in the late 1800s, this temporary feeling of illness is known as the Herxheimer effect and is actually an intense sign of healing. These reactions can indicate that your body has started to cleanse itself as it quickly tries to catch up on the overload of toxins being released.
Symptoms of a Detox Reaction
- Mild headaches, nausea, chills, sweating.
- Fatigue, aching muscles.
- Mucous, body odor, rashes.
- Dizziness, weakness or even foggy brain.
Typical Length of a Detox Reaction
A detox reaction will last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. If you are experiencing a real “healing crisis,” normally that will last from 1 to 3 days total. Usually after the detox reaction, you feel amazingly better, and you will not have that symptom again. For example, you could feel chills or nausea or intense exhaustion, then a few hours later (or after an enema), feel totally energized.
What is an Allergic Reaction or Intolerance
True allergic reactions are much more rare than intolerances but they’re definitely on the rise (thank Monsanto and GMO foods for that). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there’s been a continued rise in allergic diseases in the industrialized world for over 50 years.
An allergic reaction occurs when your body sees a food such as shellfish, peanuts or wheat as a foreign body or allergen, and starts to attack it by creating antibodies and inflammation.
Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction or Intolerance
The symptoms of an allergic reaction can vary from mild to severe. If you are exposed to an allergen for the first time, your symptoms may be mild. These symptoms may get worse if you are repeatedly exposed to the allergen.
According to the Mayo Clinic, The most common food allergy signs and symptoms include:
- Tingling or itching in the mouth.
- Hives, itching or eczema.
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body.
- Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing.
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting.
If you have a food additive intolerance, such as an intolerance to Monosodium Glutamate, you can experience:
- Headaches, chills, fatigue, aching muscles, dizziness.
- Insomnia, sensitivity to light or sound.
- Heart palpitations.
- Fatigue (especially the following day).
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
- Hives, itching or eczema.
- Swelling of the lips, eyes, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body.
- Wheezing, nasal congestion or constricted breathing.
Typical Length of a Food or Food Additive Allergy/Intolerance Reaction:
An intolerance or allergy can last indefinitely, especially if you continue to eat the food or use the product that you are intolerant to. The problem with “intolerances” is that they usually have a delayed reaction time and they don’t give nearly as severe a reaction as an “allergy.” That’s why they can easily go undiagnosed for years. After a reaction, you may feel temporarily better, but if you eat the suspect food again, you will have the exact same symptoms over and over and never find yourself feeling better.
As you can see from looking at the above lists, it can be easy for a novice to label a food allergy or intolerance incorrectly and call it a detox reaction – the symptoms are almost exactly the same! In rare cases when someone is taking too many detox supplements or doing too many detox protocols at once (far infrared sauna, colonics, zapper, parasite cleanse, heavy metal detox etc.), I recommend to slow down the detox itself and determine the best order and pace of detox for the individual.
In the old days of detox, almost 20 years ago, no one was doing this stuff and the people who were really knew what they were doing. In the world of detox today, there is a TON of misinformation out there. Someone who made 1 green juice or fasted for 3 days is suddenly on every forum as the guru of detox. As with everything, this is a blessing and a curse at the same time. It’s a blessing because more people are getting out there and trying a fast or cleanse for the first time and that is simply awesome. And I no longer get booed out of a room for talking about coffee enemas, lol! But it’s a curse because people are being misled down the wrongs roads.
What kind of foods can you be intolerant to?
You can react to certain fillers in supplements (like malodextrin); chlorella in your green powder blend, Miso soup, seaweed snacks, vegan butters, vegan mayonnaise, and pesticides. I’ve even had clients react to whole foods like tomato paste, sesame seeds or celery. Once we get that food out of the diet, the reaction goes away and then we know for sure that we’re dealing with a classic food intolerance and not a detox reaction. How does it work? I can usually identify which foods you need to remove after 25-30 minutes of Q&A about your symptoms, current diet or recent detox.
If it is a detox reaction, then a few things to get you through a healing crisis include: a castor oil pack, detox onion socks, epsom salt baths, activated charcoal, liquid bentonite clay, extra Vitamin C, magnesium, distilled water, prayer/meditation (to maintain an alkaline pH) and rest.
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For more on how to do a detox at home or how to navigate through your detox symptoms and start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.
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More on Detox Reactions:
What are the symptoms of a Herxheimer (Detox) Reaction?
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