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Bahram Akradi, founder, chairman, and CEO of Life Time — Healthy Way of Life

And for good reason: The standard American diet is full of refined flours and sugars, artificial chemicals, preservatives, and other troublesome ingredients our body doesn’t know how to put to good use. Potentially dangerous chemicals also persist in both our indoor and outdoor environments and in a variety of household products many of us use on a daily basis. That’s why, even though I eat pretty clean most of the time, I still make a point of doing a whole-body detox at least a couple of times a year. Spring, in particular, is a natural time to give our bodies a fresh start.

In past issues of Experience Life, we’ve recommended a few very good, safe and sensible detox programs (see the “Demystifying Detox,” May 2004; “Fast Track Liver Detox,” May 2005, both available in our archives at So if you’ve never done a detox regimen before, and if it sounds intriguing to you, I suggest (barring any prohibitive health conditions, of course) that you give it a try.

There’s no need for you to fast, subsist on juice or swallow a fistful of herbs, either. Essentially, doing a detox is mostly just a matter of eliminating all processed, heavy and potentially irritating foods and drinks from your diet for a number of days, and instead, taking in mostly fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, and pure water. You thereby give your body the nutritional support it needs in order to heal accumulated damage and to rid itself of toxic burdens.

Typical benefits?

They include a marked increase in energy; a reduction of symptoms like puffiness, stuffiness, bloating and digestive distress; clearer skin and eyes; and even clearer-headed thinking.

All of this can do great things for your body, and it’s likely to lift your spirits, too. But even if you’re not interested in going down a physical toxin-clearing path, there’s another sort of poison-purging detox that might do you just as much, or even more, good. I call it “emotional detoxification.”

The emotional-detox method doesn’t call for you to adjust your eating habits (although, interestingly, that can sometimes help). What it requires, at core, is a thoughtful, intuitive review of where in your life you are accumulating sour feelings, holding onto fears and resentments, or making harsh judgments about yourself and others. It requires a willingness to let go of the limiting attitudes and assumptions that are weighing you down, and an authentic interest in replacing them with more empowering, respectful and rewarding beliefs.

Another emotional-detox technique that can deliver wonderfully transformative dividends is taking an “integrity inventory.” Where in your life are you living out of integrity with your guiding values and priorities? Where are you giving or spending more time, energy or money than you really have to spare? Where are you saying one thing and doing another? And where are you resisting being your best, most authentic self?

I’m not saying any of these lines of inquiry are easy or simple, but being willing to honestly explore these questions can help us identify huge repositories of bottled-up energy just waiting to be put to better use. They can also dislodge the little lies we sometimes tell ourselves without realizing it. If you want more inspiration and guidance on this front, you might read “Walking Your Talk: The Path of Personal Integrity” (March 2004).

And of course, right here in the current issue of Experience Life, you’ll find plenty of additional tips to get you started on a cleaner, brighter future — from steering clear of toxins and parasites to polishing up your fitness routine and ridding your mind of mental clutter.

However you approach your spring-cleaning opportunities, I hope you’ll take satisfaction in the sense of lightness and possibility that comes from starting something fresh. I trust that both your body and mind will thank you for your cleanup efforts.

Thoughts to share?

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