What Symptoms to Expect When You Improve Your Diet
by Susan Silberstein PhD
and by Dr. Stanley Bass, ND, DC
[Dr. Bass is a trained naturopathic, chiropractic and natural hygiene doctor and the author of eight books on health. Now in his 90’s, he has over 70 years of experience helping 30,000 patients to detoxify and reverse disease through drug-free approaches. This blog post is excerpted and adapted from one of his articles.]
If I were asked the area of greatest misunderstanding and confusion in the field of nutrition, I would immediately reply that it is the failure to properly understand and interpret the symptoms and changes which follow the beginning of a better nutritional program
What is meant by a better nutritional program? It is the introduction of foods of higher quality in place of lower quality ones. Take proteins for example. Raw nuts and seeds are superior to cooked legumes. Lima beans, lentils or chick peas are superior to flesh proteins like beef and pork. The closer the food comes to the natural state in which it occurs, and the closer to its raw, uncooked form, the higher its quality is. In this condition, all the enzymes are found intact, the amino acids are in their finest form, and the minerals, vitamins, trace elements, carbohydrates and life forces are present. This, in turn, is capable of reproducing tissue which is full of life and long lasting. The quality of a nutritional program is also improved by omitting toxic substances such as coffee, tobacco, alcohol, sugar, salt, much animal products that are loaded with antibiotics, hormones, etc.
What is the relation of quality of foods to recovery from illness? It is this in a nutshell: The higher the quality of food we eat, the quicker we recover from disease – provided we are able to properly digest and assimilate that food. When the quality of food coming into the body is of higher quality than the tissues which the body is made of, the body begins to discard the lower-grade materials to make room for the superior materials it needs to make new and healthier tissue. This is the plan of Nature. The body ALWAYS aims for improvement and tries to produce better health — unless our interference is too great. Only then do we fail to recover and degenerate further into disease. The self-curing nature of many conditions such as colds, fevers, cuts, bruises and injuries furnishes endless examples of how the body ALWAYS tends towards health – unless we do something to stop the process.
How the Body Responds to an Improved Diet
As we gradually raise our food quality, interesting cleansing symptoms begin to appear. The cellular intelligence reasons like this: “Oh! Look at all those fine materials coming in. How wonderful! Now we have a chance to get rid of this old garbage and build a beautiful new house. Let’s get started immediately. Let’s get this excess bile out of the liver and gallbladder and send it to the intestines for elimination. Let’s get this sludge moving out of the arteries, veins and capillaries. These smelly, gassy, brain-stupefying wastes have been here too long – out with them! These arthritic deposits in the joints need cleaning up. Let’s get these irritating food preservatives, sleeping pills and prescription drugs out of the way. Let’s clear out these masses of fat which have made life so burdensome for so long.”
Stages of Detoxification and Regeneration
In the first phase called catabolism, the accent is on elimination, or breaking down of tissue, as the body begins to clean house and remove the garbage deposited in all the tissues. Wastes are discarded more rapidly than new tissue is made from the new food. This becomes evident as weight loss. This first stage persists for awhile and is then followed by a second phase called stabilization.
In this phase, the weight remains more or less stable, because the amount of waste material being discarded daily is equal to the amount of tissue which is being formed and replaced by the newer, more vital food. This persists for awhile and is then followed by a third phase – a building up period known as anabolism.
In the anabolic stage, weight starts to go up because new tissues are being formed faster. This is due to improved assimilation and efficiency made possible by the healthier diet. The body’s need for the usual amounts of food decreases, and it is able to maintain weight and increase energy with less food. Many persons are able to function very efficiently on two healthful meals or even one meal per day.
In addition to weight changes, other symptoms can occur with a superior nutrition program:
Skin rashes – Some people, especially those who have had tendencies in the past to recurring skin rashes or eruptions, will frequently tend to eliminate poisons and harmful drug residues through the skin again. If they go to a doctor who is not familiar with this aspect of nutrition, he will diagnose it as an allergy. The patients ask, “How come I’m eating better now than I ever did before, and instead I’m getting worse?” They don’t understand that the skin is getting more alive and active. It is throwing out more poisons more rapidly and that these discarded toxins are saving them from more serious disease if they remain in the body – possibly hepatitis, kidney disorders, blood disease, heart disease, arthritis or even cancer.
Colds or fevers – With some people, colds which haven’t appeared for a long time may recur, or even fevers. This is nature’s way of housecleaning. Understand that these actions are constructive, even though unpleasant at the moment. DON’T try to suppress these symptoms by the use of drugs. These symptoms are part of a curing process – don’t try to cure a cure! These are NOT disease conditions if you’re eating properly. Here is where experienced guidance is of great value. (Experiencd counselors can help.)
Other symptoms – Headaches, bowel sluggishness, occasional diarrhea, frequent urination, feelings of fatigue or weakness, disinclination to exercise, irritability, and even depression may be temporary reactions to an improved dietary regime. The great majority of people who understand what is going on (and thus eliminate the fear component) find these transient reactions tolerable.
The symptoms will vary according to the materials being discarded, the condition of the eliminatory organs and the amount of energy reserve you have available. The more you rest and sleep when detoxification symptoms are present, the milder they will be and the more quickly they will pass. The severity of your symptoms will certainly depend on how poor your diet was in the past. Those who have poisoned themselves through toxic food choices will experience more severe symptoms if their liver, kidneys or other important eliminatory organs have been damaged. When these have been renovated, they will no longer produce symptoms.
Cyclical cleansing – Don’t expect that improving your diet will make you feel better and better each day until you reach perfection. The body is cyclical in nature, and health returns in a series of gradually-diminishing cycles. Take hepatitis for example: You start a better diet, and for awhile you feel much better. After some time, a symptom occurs like diarrhea or nausea for a few days. Then all goes fine for awhile until you suddenly develop a cold and lose your appetite. After two to three days (assuming you don’t take drugs to treat it), you suddenly recover and feel better than you did for years. This well-being continues for two months, when you suddenly develop an itch or a rash, which flares up and gets worse for a few days, and suddenly subsides. Immediately after this you find your hepatitis is gone and your energy is better than ever before.
This is how recovery happens. You feel better, a reaction occurs and you don’t feel as well for a short while, then you recover and go higher for awhile. Then another reaction occurs, milder than the last. You recover and go even higher. And so it goes – each reaction generally milder than the last and shorter in duration, followed by a longer and longer period of feeling better than ever before, until you reach a level plateau of vibrant health. If you learn to obey the laws of Nature, if you learn to eat simple, pure and natural foods that are mostly raw (80% raw and maybe 20% cooked), your body in return will efficiently cast off all the destructive ways of eating you have taken in during your life.
Note: cooking or heating food destroys all enzymes. We require enzymes for all body functions. Enzymes and proteolytic probiotics are the workers. Nothing gets done unless they are present. Protein does not get utilized, minerals are inactive and vitamins do not function without enzymes and probiotics. This is the order that nutrients work in the body.