Monday, October 15, 2012

Island Health Trends, List of Cleanses and Detoxes

If you live on Maui long enough, regardless of whether you’re local or from the mainland (or from another island, which is at times like being from the mainland), you may find that you start having friends who do yoga, which means that you will end up doing yoga, even if you’ve never been much into yoga before. And the more that you hang out with people who do yoga, and the more that you end up shopping at Mana Foods or Down to Earth or Alive and Well or Whole Foods means that you’ll be rubbing elbows with other shoppers who do yoga… or somatics or body work or massage or qi gong or meditation. The point of all this, is that it’s very easy to hang out with people who are on a health quest even if it was your intent to eat potato chips and hot dogs and McDonald’s for the rest of your life.

Yoga at the Hotel Wailea... stretch, stretch, stretch. 

Now there are exceptions to this trend. 
For instance, some people have such large and extended families that they only associate with other people in their families or work in a family-run business, and if no one in that family does yoga or shops at the above stores, then chances are they are eating heavier foods and are not into health.  

Another exception is people who work two or more jobs and there are many people in that boat. They work so many hours each week that the last thing they are doing is getting enough sleep or eating healthy.  Locals are especially prone to working multiple jobs – because the cost of living is so high on Maui, and because they come from a work ethic of working all the time. We met a woman who works at Safeway full time and also works for the County of Maui full time and only gets 3 hours of sleep. I didn’t ask, but she probably also has children and a husband, and maybe supports other relatives. Overwork is all too common, and why some people in paradise have such bad moods. 

The last exception is people with such low incomes that they are struggling to survive and they are spending money on only the cheapest, least expensive food – that means high calorie, high carbohydrate and highly processed food. 

But if you’re not one of these exceptions (and there may be others), you may find that you develop friendships with some really healthy people – there are a lot of health-focused people on Maui, and by consequence, over several years, you may find yourself getting healthy despite yourself.  You may get healthy despite occasional vog and cane burning on the island. 

Where does this all lead?

Well, what may happen is that you end up doing a cleanse or detox program, which are very popular on Maui. Every other week, I meet someone who is doing a cleanse, about to start a cleanse, or has just finished a cleanse. Even my boss is doing a cleanse! Given enough time, the most resistant person will do a cleanse if he/she is surrounded by health advocates. Even DH has done a cleanse despite his best intentions to avoid one.

The general idea of a cleanse or detox program is that you let the body rest by eating more lightly and or doing a fast, without eating any solid food. It can be physically difficult because the body wants to eat and you may get tired or have headaches. The detox part usually involves detoxing from sugar, alcohol, junk food, processed food (not the same as junk food), wheat (which some people think is very unhealthy), dairy (often has growth hormones and antibiotics in it), caffeine, nicotine or pot. I tend to use detox and cleanse interchangeably, but detox implies removing toxins from the body, and cleanse implies cleaning out the body of buildup of excess fat and intestinal gunk.

Are there side effects? You bet! Headaches, fatigue, grumpiness, nausea… which usually pass and are followed by incredible energy and a feeling of lightness and calm. It’s hard to explain, but your body can feel really good, fully alive and absolutely fantastic, like you haven’t felt so good in years. It’s like a physical high without drugs and without a crash afterwards.  Oh, and it’s shocking how much intestinal gunk, aka poop, comes out. You can lose a lot of weight by just getting rid of excess poop clogged in your intestines. When DH cut out dairy, not completely but was about 99% dairy free, he lost 30 lbs. That weight and extra fat is still gone several years later even though he eats some dairy now. 

What kind of cleansing and detox programs are available on Maui?
Too many to mention, but here’s a few off the top of my head:

Grace Parusha’s Radiant Aliveness – This is a cleanse DH and I participated in a few years ago. Mostly fruits and veggies, raw or lightly cooked, some fasting and special broths. Plus several exercises to check in with one’s emotions and mental state. Oh, and how could I forget the enemas? You can learn how to do your own enemas.  The program was very effective, but rigorous. Grace continues to offer hourly health coaching. About 2-3 weeks long. 

Temple of Peace – A 10 day cleanse involving lots of liquids, some approved foods, with a series of colonics to move the stuff out of the body. I haven’t participated in this cleanse, but know the people who run it and I have had colonics there. Colonics are very helpful as part of a cleanse program.

Malik Cotter’s cleanse (Malik is a well known acupuncturist who owns Dragon’s Den, an herbal and Chinese medicine shop in Makawao - practically a Maui institution) – Haven’t personally participated in this cleanse either, but know people who are currently doing it or have done it in the past. Usually part of a class that runs a few weeks, two nights a week. Reviews have been favorable. I think colonics are also involved. Several weeks involved. 

Samana Wellness – A cleanse program involving ayurvedic principles in which all food is provided. 5 consecutive mornings of doing yoga and breathwork, classes, and then taking home food for the rest of the day. I haven’t done this program either, but know the person who runs it, and have heard positive reviews. Also, this cleanse doesn’t involve fasting – you can still eat solid food, like kitchadi, but it’s made according to ayurvedic principles.

Lumeria Glow – A healthy warm broth that you can order in advance to drink all day, offered by the Lumeria Retreat Center. The broth is intended to have enough nutrition that you don’t need to eat food, and can let the body rest. Usually people drink broth only for several days or a week. I haven’t done this program, but have had their signature broth and it is yummy, savory not sweet. Read more about my take on Lumeria Maui


Myra Lewin - Yoga and energy work teacher who also offers ayurvedic health guidelines and a detox program which can be done in a retreat setting or at home. Moved to Kauai from Maui, and one of her students now leads Samana Wellness. 

Maka’ala Yates – Of Hawaiian ancestry, Maka'ala offers a program based on Hawaiian medicine and health principles. 60 day cleansing program, of which one portion involves using special Hawaiian salt to do a morning flush drink along with a particular diet and regimen.

Master Cleanse – This is a famous cleanse that you can do yourself, and it’s not suitable for everyone because it involves a lot of discipline and a lot of fasting (many days without solid food). You can get the book and do it whenever you want to. The main liquid is a special lemon drink made with freshly squeezed lemon juice (not store bought lemon juice), purified water, cayenne and maple syrup. Sweet but with a kick. Many versions of this book are available. 

Dr. Schulze – The “poop doctor” cleanse – Again, another self help cleanse and the first one I've ever done. You don’t need to take a class or see anyone. Just order the kit and do it yourself. The basic version is the bowel cleanse and takes about 5 days. I’ve done the bowel detox, the liver detox and the kidney program. These were the first cleanses I have done and I didn’t notice any immediate results or energy but I still use some of the pills for quick mini-cleanses.  

Body Ecology – Offers cleansing, detoxing, supplements and health products based on the "Body Ecology Diet" of fostering healthy digestive flora in your system. Website emphasizes fermented (not fermented in a rotten way) foods like yogurt, coconut kefir, cultured vegetables.

NOT A CLEANSE, but related (changing your eating practices):

Chef Teton - A friend of mine on Maui. Doesn't offer cleanses or detoxing, but offers healthy recipes and classes and dvds to learn to prepare nutritious healthy food, including cultured veggies. I have taken one of her classes. If you need healthy, nutritious food, this is your gal. 

Maui Light Diet - Catherine Blake offers nutritious vegan cooking classes. I have her recipe book and like it, but avoid most of the wheat/seitan ("wheat meat") recipes in it. 

Phew! And that's only the tip of the iceberg... there are cleanses left and right all over the island, if you want better health. 

A related post about health on Maui is Food Matters in the Maui Jungalow.

OH! Wanted to share this too! This documentary just came out - Genetic Roulette... and it's important because Monsanto, the king of GMO, has a huge presence on Maui.  Yes, some people will disagree with the film, but it's thought-provoking and NOT boring... and to those who question the premise, well... follow the money. 

If this video doesn't show up well, go directly to youtube and plug in:

Or go to the closed captioned version of this film, so you can read along.

P.S., If you buy vitamins and supplements, a good mail order source is Health Designs, referral code 4176634. This is where I get massive quantities of things like Dr. Christopher's Blood Stream Purifier which I use a lot during sugar cane burning season and oregano oil capsules for immunity. (Disclaimer: I do get a small referral fee from this.)


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