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By Shirley Vanderbilt

Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Spring/Summer 2007. Copyright 2007. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.

Your body can heal itself from skin and digestive disorders, as well as a host of other maladies, if you just give it a chance. What does it take?

According to Scott Ohlgren, holistic health practitioner and proponent of nutritional cellular cleansing, it's as easy as changing what goes from hand to mouth. What's difficult, he says, is living with the diseased state your diet has created and the rounds of pharmaceuticals that never quite cure what ails you.

If you're filling your body's fuel tank with processed, or even fake foods, the machinery will eventually clog up and break down. The symptoms that result, whether a mildly annoying acne or more life-threatening colon condition, are a reaction to this toxic overload and dysfunction. Ohlgren says the first thing you need to look at is your diet. Change to a clean, nutritional intake and you can eliminate the symptoms.

To get you started on that path, Ohlgren has published, along with coauthor and whole foods expert Joann Tomasulo, a user-friendly guide for nutritional cellular cleansing--The 28-Day Cleansing Program (Genetic Press, 2006).

At the heart of this approach is the principle of cellular regeneration, a process our bodies go through on a continual basis. Cells are constantly renewing themselves, sloughing off used-up matter and regenerating with fresh matter. The materials they use for replacement are derived directly from what you ingest. What have you been giving them to work with lately?


Unwrapping Our Habits
The evolution of our eating habits from a nutrient-rich diet to processed grocery foods has led to a genetic breakdown, Ohlgren says, with each generation influencing the next. It's not likely your body will have the same fortitude and disease resistance as that of your great grandparents, or even your next-door neighbor who comes from different stock. But rather than pointing a finger at someone in the past, he says, we need to focus on personal responsibility in the present. "I am in trouble. I have these conditions. Now what are the steps I need to take in order to strengthen my genetics, my well-being, my immune system?"

Ohlgren suggests we start with "unwrapping our habits of eating." The cleansing foods he recommends are basically what our ancestors ate--foods in a more natural state. Each has an important role in allowing the body to regenerate as nature designed and, in turn, support its innate healing power.


Get With the Program
Ohlgren's first rule of thumb for cellular cleansing is to stop the body's toxic load by eliminating processed food items and replacing them with a variety of grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, and fruits, along with healthy oils, soy products, and, of course, lots of water. To maintain hydration, divide your body weight in half and drink that amount of ounces of pure water every day. Eliminating animal protein is a personal issue, depending on your level of physical activity, but dairy products are out because of their mucus-forming properties.

Next come the three Rs--remineralize, rebacterialize, and reenzymize. Organic vegetables and sea algae grown in mineral-rich environments can provide these essential nutrients. Maintaining a healthy level of friendly bacteria is important to proper digestion and impacts other functions such as immunity and detoxification of harmful substances. Restock your gut-friendly bacteria with fermented cultured foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, and miso, but make sure the products are not pasteurized (a process that kills the bacteria and enzymes you need.) Ohlgren's guidebook offers two hundred recipes, but as he points out, if you don't have time to cook you can still find much of what is needed at your local whole foods deli. Flexibility is the key, and he'll be the first to tell you there's no dogma in this approach.

To complement the diet, Ohlgren encourages including what he calls "physical transformers" such as skin brushing, saunas, alkalinizing baths, and colon hydrotherapy. He also recommends getting a few sessions of cleansing bodywork--deep tissue, Thai massage, and acupuncture, for example--and adding a cardiovascular workout three times a week. These active supplements will support the internal and external cleansing process, aid in lymph system circulation, and revitalize your energy level.

After completing the four-week program, you can go back to eating as you did before, Ohlgren says, but chances are you won't want to. The results of the cleansing program will give you cause to pause and consider the direct relationship between your food choices and your health. "It really comes down to self-empowerment," Ohlgren says. "I want to get people to pay attention to an incredibly powerful action that we do every day and have done since the first day of our life."

For more information, visit www.howhealth works.com.

Shirley Vanderbilt is a staff writer for Body Sense.




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