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Detoxification and the Detox Diet:
An Important Healing Process

by Elson Haas, M.D.

Dr. Elson Haas is the author of several best-selling books including Staying Healthy with the Seasons, Staying Healthy with Nutrition, The Detox Diet and A Cookbook for All Seasons. For over 25 years he has been devoted to healing through the process of good nutrition, detoxification and cleansing, and has seen thousands of patients transform their health. He is the Medical Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, California.

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The simplest way to understand symptoms and disease integrates Western linear thinking Chinese medicine and its philosophy of yin and yang, and the naturopathic approach to health and illness. Problems in the body (and mind) often arise from either deficiency, where we are not acquiring sufficient necessary nutrients to meet our needs and body functions, or congestion, where we are having excessive intake, both from reduced eliminative functions and the over consumption of foods or non-food substances such as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, refined sugar and food chemicals.

People who are deficient may experience such problems as fatigue, coldness, hair loss or dry skin, and they need to be nourished with wholesome foods to aid healing.

Congestive problems, however, are more common in Western, industrialized civilizations. Many of our acute and chronic medical diseases and dilemmas result from the clogging our tissues and tubes, and the suffocating of our cells and vital energy. Colds and flues to cancer and cardiovascular diseases, arthritis and allergies are all examples of congestive disorders. These medical problems may be prevented or treated at least in part, and often dramatically by embarking on a process of cleansing and detoxification. The incorporation of dietary changes, including consumption of more fresh fruits, vegetables and water, while reducing animal fats and proteins and eliminating any damaging substance abuses is the beginning of the rejuvenation process for the human body. This was discovered long ago and is still true today, even though medical science may make light of it in deference to the quick solution.

I consider the cleansing/fasting/detoxification process (different degrees of the same process of reduced toxin intake and enhanced toxin elimination) to be the missing link in Western nutrition, and a key to the health and vitality of our civilization. In my 25 years of medical practice, in which I have utilized extensively various detox and healing/rejuvenation practices for both myself and literally thousands of patients, I can tell you that I truly believe that cleansing/detoxification is virtually one of the most powerful healing therapies I have seen. (That is, real healing of ailments and not just suppression of symptoms.)

I have written extensively about detoxification, and have examined both the medical and health factors of the cleansing process. In truth, what I attempt to do in my writing and practice is to place your health and that of your family into your hands, because so much of it is up to you. It really matters how you live-what you do and what you eat, and what you think and feel. Take hold and do what you can to be vital and healthy. It is really worth it!

The basics of The Detox Diet I have developed are listed here to give you the general idea of what is involved.


Special Guidelines for THE DETOX DIET
1.) Chew your food very well and take enough time when you eat.
2.) Relax a few minutes before and after your meal.
3.) Eat in a comfortable sitting position.
4.) Eat primarily steamed fresh vegetables and some fresh greens.
5.) Take only herbal teas after dinner.

Morning (upon arising): Two glasses of pure water, one glass with half a lemon squeezed into it.
Breakfast: One piece of fresh fruit (at room temperature), such as apple, pear, banana, grapes or citrus. Chew well, mixing each bite with saliva.
15-30 minutes later: One bowl of cooked whole grains, specifically millet, brown rice, amaranth, quinoa, raw buckwheat or buckwheat. Flavoring can be two tablespoons of fruit juice for sweetener, or use the "better butter" mixture mentioned below with a little salt or tamari for a deeper flavor.

Lunch (noon-1 pm): One-two medium bowls of steamed vegetables. Use a variety, including roots, stems and greens (e.g. potatoes & yams, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, asparagus, kale, chard, cabbage.) Chew well!

Dinner (5-6 pm): Same as Lunch
Seasoning: Butter/Canola oil mixture-make this "better butter" by missing a half cup of cold-pressed canola oil (or olive or flaxseed oil) into a soft (room temperature) half-pound of butter, then place in a dish and refrigerate. use about one teaspoon per meal or a maximum of 3 teaspoons daily.

11 am and 3 pm: one-two cups vegetable water, saved from steamed vegetables. Add a little seasalt or kelp and drink slowly, mixing each mouthful with saliva.

Evening: Herbal teas only, such as peppermint, chamomile, pau d'arco or blends.

NOTE: You may feel a little weak or have a few symptoms the first couple of days; this will pass. Clarity and feeling good should appear by day 3 or 4, if not before. If during this diet you start to feel weak or hungry, assess your water intake and elimination. If needed, you can eat a small portion of protein food (3-4 ounces) in the mid-afternoon. This could be fish, free-range, organic chicken or some beans.

For more information about the Detox Diet and Dr. Elson Haas, please call (415) 472-2343 or visit

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Raw Food: Quick and Convenient Energy
The Role of Pure Water in Detoxification
Toxins In Your Home
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Detoxification: The Fast Lane to Vitality
Ann Louise Gittleman on Detoxing the Healthy Way

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