There is a ton of really helpful and insightful information distributed among many threads on detoxing/cleansing/correcting response, maybe one thread could consoldate this info for easier access. Please contribute!
Many people who start incorporating raw food into one’s lifestyle are wondering about different health issues that one is experiencing. If you are asking yourself “I’m supposed to be feeling better and instead why is blah, blab, blah happening?” you might be detoxing, having what is called a correcting/cleansing response. One might experience a variety of health issues as one shifts eating to a healthier content. One’s body might finally be purging one’s past “sins.”
As long as you haven’t picked up a bug or have some other physiological issue what you describe is a good thing. What you maybe experiencing could be a “cleansing”, “correcting”, or “detoxing” response. Some people detox by breaking out in acne, rashes, etc. Some will experience a health issue get “worst” and then get better. Make sure you are drinking lots of water so you don’t dehydrate and help the body to flush. Think of this as your body flushing itself quickly. Here is a document that I give to people who I coach through my supplement biz. Simply substitute “raw food” where it says supplements. When your body starts to get what it needs, regardless if it is in supplement form and/or through food, then it will start seeing stuff that was stored incorrectly and try to get it out as quickly as possible.
POSSIBLE CLEANSING RESPONSE
When you begin to use nutritional supplements that support the endocrine and immune systems, and cell-to-cell communication, your body will begin to make positive changes. For most people, these changes will be comfortable and benefits will be noticed from the start. Common effects include more energy, greater well-being, reduced discomfort, relief from acute and chronic problems, more mental clarity, improved performance, etc. Because everybody’s body is unique in the way it uses nutrients, the timing and nature of the changes that occur will be different for different people.
When metabolism is stronger because of better nutrition, exercise, improved hormone balance, reduced stress, etc., it will start to flush out the stored toxins. This “cleansing response” is part of the body’s natural health building process. For most people, this process presents no problem. They notice only positive benefits or slight temporary discomfort and then positive benefits predominate. A few people find they don’t notice much at all for up to two to four months of taking supplements. For some people, however, the process of eliminating the stored toxins is uncomfortable enough to warrant attention. These are often the people who can gain the most from taking steps to rebuild their health. It often happens that someone who feels worse after starting a nutritional program eventually feels much better after the initial cleansing reaction is completed.
Fatigue, headache, flu-like symptoms, skin reactions, mood changes, changing sleep patterns, digestive reactions, aches and pains, allergic symptoms, etc. may occur or increase during the cleansing process. The type of reaction that occurs depends on the unique body chemistry and state of health of each individual. While most people notice no reaction at all, some do experience one or more of those listed, or some other reaction, according to their body’s own functioning.
WHAT TO DO
These suggestions are good for everyone, regardless of whether you are experiencing any discomfort.
1. Drink plenty of water (purified if possible) every day.
2. Include fiber-containing foods in your diet, especially fresh vegetables and whole fresh fruits. Try to eat mainly fresh, whole foods.
3. Avoid processed food, refined foods, and foods containing toxins and “anti-nutrients” (sugars, caffeine, alcohol, artificial flavors and colors, chemicals, etc.)
4. Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants.
5. Exercise. Pick an amount and type of exercise that’s right for your state of health.
6. Listen to your body and do whatever you need to do to stay within a manageable comfort zone. You may find that a smaller helping of a particular nutritional product is better for you, either temporarily while there’s a strong cleansing response, or long-term due to your individual body chemistry.
7. If a cleansing reaction is too strong, you can reduce or even stop taking the supplements for a few days until you feel better, and then gradually build back up to a regular daily amount. You may need to repeat this cycle more than once.
If a symptom causes concern, check with a health professional. Some symptoms may be unrelated to the body’s healing response, or the healing response may draw attention to an underlying problem.
If you are looking for a detox method, check out the suggestions on the Favorite Detox Method thread. (updated 1/24/09)
More information: How soon should I expect to experience the effects of dietary supplements?. You are “supplementing” your body by increasing nutrition through more veggies and fruits.