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21-Day Seasonal Detox FAQ’s

Will the detox plan be too challenging for me?
Anyone at any level can engage in this detox.  It’s simple:  you’ll be eating real food and drinking juices and warm tea. You’ll be guided to participate at the level that’s right for you.  Why wait?  Begin now.



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1) A suggested seasonal cleanse for 1-3 days
2) Simple seasonal recipes for a 21 day period. Blend the 3-day cleanse foods in with these for optimal results.
I am adding, just this time ….
3) Three somatic awareness questions to answer everyday. Email me how you are doing. I will try to answer any/all questions, briefly.
4) Two follow-up meeting times at Eight Elements on Monday Oct. 5 & 12, 6:30-7:00pm
to check-in in person. Following at 7-8pm, I teach yoga class, and will gear the class
toward the somatic awareness exercises from the workshop. Your membership, class card or single class pass will cover the yoga class.

What is the goal of the detox diet workshop?

The first goal is to teach you how to eat better every day.  You’ll learn to incorporate seasonal changes with less effort and less time – it’s not a drastic regimen.

The second goal is to improve the functioning of your organs, including those in the digestive tract.  In class you’ll learn how the quieting of body-brain-heart sensitizes you to your daily choices of food.

In removing conditioned habits, you have space to re-calibrate what’s right for your body, and what’s not.  Foods that don’t work for you irritate you physically and emotionally and cause inflammation that inhibits the life force.

Excuses or procrastination to take action result FROM muted pulsations in the body’s organs.  Low functioning organs drain your mental and emotional energy.  Each time you work with the detox, more and more you’ll become attuned to the negative and positive effect particular foods – and amounts – have on your mood and motivation.

By listening to subtle cues from your body’s interior of a natural desire for lighter foods, you’ll dramatically improve your life force and therefore your ability to be effective in life.   That means for the rest of your life.  Permanently.

The third and ultimate purpose is to expand your ability for “self-leadership” – to KNOW what is right for you, and to move into pure action.  As a sensory and spiritual awakening, the detox sensitizes you to listening deeper within at ALL levels to fuel your  creativity.

With expanded self-awareness you enhance your physical and emotional wellness so you can accomplish what you came here to do in this life.   Few changes are as powerful as shifting how you nourish yourself. Exploring the felt-sense of how you arrive at wise choices is an entry point with high potential to fortify your creativity.

Responding to an inner message without hesitation is a skill.  The skill builds over time. To base your choices upon what you sense within is a process.   But you can do it, with a little help.

How does PULSE 21 work?
Physical imbalance is a symptom of rhythm waiting to return.  Pulse 21 helps you re-set your body to a consistent beat, like that of a metronome, to function rhythmically, smoothly, more balanced.  It’s a tune-up.  I recommend a seasonal tune-up, that is, five times a year, every year.  Learn to do this for yourself this year, next year, and the year after.  Learn to tune in to the season, connect, and respond with healthy choices.

Biologically, the body is not designed to eat / digest all the time.  Eating whatever we want, when we want, is a modern invention.  With the detox you allow 1,000 digestive factory workers to go home and have a few days of rest.  Historically, the digestive system has evolved around periods of fasting.  After the rest, your digestion returns with stronger rhythm and more energy for metabolism.  Your digestive factory will get more of the right work done.

Proper nutrition is the medicine of the 21st century.  The future of medicine will take into account factors we discuss in the detox – how the communication of the craniosacral (nervous) system, the viscera (organs), your mind, emotions, foods, and environment interact to regulate your body’s interior through the nervous system.

Can you say more about the art behind PULSE 21?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) teaches us about the cycles of our lives, daily, weekly, annual and for many lifetimes.  The sun goes up, and the sun goes down.  That’s one cycle.  It’s winter, then it’s summer.  You are 20, then 40, then 60.  These are lifetime cycles.   Organs interact with each other to create mental and emotional balance, and their patterns tell us the story of our lives, both on a personal and archetypical level.  TCM teaches us to not ignore these cycles, and to assist them even more deeply to get satisfying completion.

Somatic Awareness is a form of self-mastery, defined as the art of attentional refinement (Iyengar).  That is, learning to apply attention on both a broad, inclusive (feminine) as well as focused, penetrative (masculine) level will determine your ability to respond.  It’s like putting your hand on a hot stove – focused attention tells you there’s no mistake of the need to attend to a potential burn, while broad attention tells you the range of options you have for tending to this concern.

The Biology of Neuroscience is a field that will grow in leaps and bounds over the next 10-20 years.  In the movie 10 questions for the Dali Lama he is asked, “why is there so much stress in the world?”  The Dali Lama answers simply “too many people in a small space.”  As we move into a relationship era, where, because we are in smaller spaces getting closer together, we have a need to learn to get along better with ourselves, so we can get along with each other more easily.  The dynamic of life is changing from a focus on our basic survival, to a focus on thriving at all levels.  Our brains and nervous systems are adapting to better neural connections that produce more empathy and ease in relationships. The growth of our need to relate to each other is outpacing and at odds with the percepetion of our need for basic survival.

Said another way, survival real estate in the brain is expensive.  It eats up the investment that normally goes toward wiring ourselves up for thriving in relationship to ourselves and others.  The more we allow survival circuits to fire together the more they wire together (Hebb’s rule).  The cues for survival are insidious and subtle.  It takes keen awareness to release them, to complete the issues that are at the root of that firing, and to move on down the river to a wonderful thriving life.  In fact, your body has the mechanisms for letting go. Let the body be your guide, a mirror reflecting self-mastery.

Say more about the science behind the Biology of Neuroscience?
The nervous system is more complex and has more specific responses than was once thought.  The autonomic Nervous System (ANS), which is part of the peripheral nervous system, controls many organs and muscles. In most situations, it functions in an involuntary, reflexive manner, regulating the heart, intestines, pancreas, blood vessels and other visceral tissues.

Most people are familiar with the fight or flight sympathetic branch of the ANS and the rest and digest parasympathetic branch, but are unfamiliar with the enteric branch.  This branch includes the lesser known freeze dorsal vagal complex, the 10th cranial nerve.  When this nerve’s function becomes dominant, it can contribute to a myriad of physical symptoms including depression, fatigue, weight gain, dizziness and light headedness, low blood pressure, low heart rate, poor digestion, constipation, and auto-immune conditions.

The body’s response to this dominance, in an attempt to re-balance, may send it into sympathetic overdrive at the same time, bringing about simultaneously symptoms such as anxiety, panic, hypervigilance, loose bowels, restlessness, emotional surges, reactivity and sleeplessness.

This IS a dilemma – where the brake and the gas are operating equally.  The modern medicine of sensing the body’s pulse can help you become your own best “inner physician” as Dr. John Upledger calls it.  Who better than you to know what’s going on inside your body?

I have included the teachings of the doctors of modern times in the detox – like Dr. Upledger, Dr. Levine, Dr. Porges and Mr. Barral, D.O. Their techniques honor the doctor/practitioner and patient relationship, where mutual participation creates the safety to access dysregulation and to restore coherent regulation in the nervous system.

The ability to access dysregulation in your body’s interior is a skill.  Imagine taking off a a cast on your right arm that you’ve had for 10 years.  The arm will be dulled to both movement and feeling.  With the support of a good practitioner, a guide, you can bring about normal function to your tissues again.  Movement that has been dampened in your abdomen and organs can return to natural inherent self-regulation.

One more thing.  An even lesser known aspect of the nervous system, the Ventral Vagal Complex (a compadre of the DVC) also plays a big part in self-regulation.  Bigger subject …. so I’ll wait to touch on that when I see you in class.

Wrapping it up, it’s good to know that the enteric nervous system is independently intelligent.  It evaluates situations on its own based on sensory input, resulting in lightning fast conclusions and gut responses for your survival.  The bold determination of enteric nervous system processing remains unmatched by the slower pace of cognitive analytical examination.

What’s even more important to know is that your enteric nervous system is highly trainable.  In other words, it can learn, and re-learn.  That’s good detox news.  It learns every time you pay compassionate attention. Your job as an “enteric trainer” is to be willing to show up and to bring attentional refinement to your body, mind and emotions.

More science, please.  I’m not sure about this “holistic” stuff.
What most people don’t understand is that the brain’s most basic appraisal system, the limbic system, codifies its information in the form of emotions and feelings.  The limbic system says “this is important to pay attention to” in order to build neural networks and resources.  Centers such as the amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) converge here to assess “is this good or is this bad?”

The limbic system shares this information with other parts of the brain such as the hippocampus and even higher structures of the brain like the orbitofrontal cortex, which is responsible for cognitive processing.  Remember, what fires together wires together.

In How God Changes the Brain, Pennsylvania University neuroscientist Andrew Newberg affirms the vital role of these evolved structures and connections:

To bridge the gap between the “old” and the “new” brains, a special structure appears to have recently evolved – the anterior cingulate. It connects our emotions with our cognitive skills, playing a crucial role in emotional self-control, focused problem-solving, and error recognition.

One key to reducing stress and eating well lies in understanding how the brain modulates behavior through structures like these. From this, perhaps we can develop greater attentional ease in the realm of the brain’s connection to thoughts, feelings, emotions and empathetic connections.

Holistic treatments may not directly address the science of the body.  These methods often AVOID scientific vernacular in order to not stimulate the part of the brain that labels and SEPARATE in favor of methods that utilize parts of the brain that experiences the WHOLENESS of life. My take:  both languages are needed.

What if I have health issues?
In all cases a physician’s clearance is advised, but not required.  Most people do a cleanse or detox to reduce inflammation that contribute to imbalances. Clearing toxins and restoring proper nutrition nourishes the body’s tissues, immune system and nervous system to support normalized function.  Common foods sensitivities: wheat, corn, dairy, certain grains, soy, yeast, citrus and other fruits, nuts, chocolate.  And of course, to improve health conditions we also recommend reducing the obvious:  sugar, fried foods, and processed foods.

Eating is a multi-layered physical, psychological and relational / social event.  Making choices can finally become simple when you are given time to sense a new integration of the complexity of your body, mind and food. If you have health issues that appear to be contraindications, we advise that you attend the detox largely for the information. Then apply the detox nutrition guidelines at a time that is right for you.

The detox experience helps you integrate the complexity of proper nutrition and eating: embodied awareness, an improved sense of what’s right for your digestion,  greater responsiveness to the importance of your feelings and emotions,  a sense of making choices from a state of stabilization, and an increased alertness to your seasonal environment and interactions with other people.

Attention to these factors, and others, are a part of learning to honor your health and your individuality.

Will I be able to do it on my own?
Every detox is straight-forward.  You can learn enough to do it on your own each year, definitely.

Support yourself with a 2-year commitment to to give time to learn to listen to the signals that your body gives you at all levels – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – so that you can make the right choice in type, amount and timing of food that you eat.  This changes with each season.

This is my first time.  Will I be too hungry, or faint?
You can eat as much food as your body needs – it’s important to not override signals of a true need for raising blood sugar levels or other nutrients the body may be calling out for.

At the same time, many detox-fans have come to enjoy not feeling full, dulled, or heavy from eating foods they don’t really need.  It actually becomes enjoyable to fully experience hunger.  The next bite of food taken has never tasted so good.  As you integrate the openness to have a more intense experiences of lightness, your senses become more heightened.  It’s the fullness of these experiences that is truly satisfying in a lasting way.

So it’s not about if I “cheat” – but rather, through “Somatics”, it’s about how I can become more present to myself.  
That’s right.  In becoming present to oneself, you can free the nervous system to do what it wants:  find its way back to regulation.  Somatic attention means:  am I alert to the (nervous system) cues in my body? The root issue is an “attentional deficit” – we neither pay attention to nor respond to body signals. It’s time to begin processing information more fully, to stop giving half-attention. In being more present, receptors in your brain, body and heart will re-attune to re-coordinate information. Tuning in is the goal, not perfect habits.  Tuning in is a process of re-learning how to give full attention.  And full attention means the ability to accomplish more of what you want in life.

Will my body be stressed before or after the detox?  What else is helpful to know ?
• Two to three days before the detox you will begin to eat more fresh food, with smaller portion sizes, especially late at night.

• After the 3-days you cautiously re-introduce foods back to your diet over the 21-day period.  The 21-day period regulates eating in such a subtle way that you may find you eat lightly this way for the rest of your life.

• During this time do healthy things for yourself: movement, moderate exercise, meditation, good movies, baths, and visits with good friends.  One of the best detoxes I ever experienced included lots of shopping for my new patio garden – new favorite pots for my plants, choosing the right kind of soil, fun new gardening tools.  I had a lot of extra creative energy that wanted an outlet.  What a great metaphor, the firing and re-wiring of my brain to what truly nourishes and grounds me – plants !  This was a heightened sensory experience of movement of accomplishing what I want in life.  I still have and thoroughly enjoy that garden.

Why an initial 3 day detox?
It’s a time frame most people can manage well – begin on Fri/Sat, and end on Mon/Tue.  Adjust your intake at any time as needed. The initial 3 day detox is a concentrated awakening of the senses.  The 3-day focus allows for the distinct awareness of habits which no longer serve you.  You may find foods that you have considered “healthy” in the past may actually not be working for your personal digestion.  The initial detox can also be 1 or 2 days only, or you can skip it, depending on the level of available energy you have.

Why 21 days in total?
Your needs can change noticeably week by week.  New signals of digestion and metabolism pop up every day. 21 days allows plenty of time for you to explore psychological and physical adjustments you need that move you to becoming lighter, stronger and more vibrant.

21 days also gives plenty of time for spiritual integration.  With my own first few detoxes, I was almost shocked at how much extra time I had because of the lessened need to focus on food and eating. The awareness of deeper needs past the physical can loosen the grip of immediate gratifications that is habitual and unconscious.

Then, as you can become aware of your whole self, you have more energy to ask what I am here to do in this life?” You have the profound opportunity to become clear, to listen, to find solutions.  As Elson Haas says in Eating with the Seasons, you can listen to your deeper self and ask that you do the work you came here to do, with love.

You mention you’ll provide options for foods during the 21 days.  
Yes, that’s right.  Since this learning experience re-trains your senses to lighten up your regular routine, the 21 days will remain simple, but will add foods according to seasonal Chinese medicine principles.  They’ll move you toward a day-to-day way of cooking and eating.

I recommend you eat at least one daily meal during that time.  You will learn to incorporate foods that support not only your physical health during that season, but also the emotional, mental and spiritual wisdom which each particular season offers you.

Are there supplements to take?
You’ll be given a few options for healing with essential oils and tonic herbs for the 21 day period.  May plant and herbal tonics act as adaptogens, meaning that they respond homeostatically to bring balance to your body’s needs.  The supplements support the Chinese medicine meridian systems and dominant organs and emotions of the season.

What if I have events during the 21 days that serve food?
You have many options:

1)  Find out what will be served before you go – will they serve fish and veggies?
2)  Inform your host of a special request for your meal.
3)  Eat half of your plate, leave the rest.
4)  Bring your own.
5)  If it’s a banquet, peruse the tables, then make your best selections.

Life is not neatly packaged.  You can ‘break’ the detox at any time during the 21 days, then hop back in.  During that time, eat as freshly as you can – we are reaching for progress, not perfection, and for more clarity, more ease, more awareness, no matter where you are and who you are with.

Will I need to purchase special or odd foods?
No.  The detox emphasizes that eating well is not a special event.  There will be a few modifications and exciting new seasonal choices.  The fact that you can detox by eating normal foods is exactly the point.  Eating well and light becomes natural, easy, and you can do it anywhere, any time, under any circumstance.

Will I have to make two different meals each night — for my spouse and me?
I’ll give you simple options for “adding to” your detox meals that allows relatives to join in and not feel deprived.

Even after answering all these questions, I’m still hesitant. Are there any other thoughts to help me overcome this?
I used to have the same response.   It’s fear.  Fear of change. Fear of a new experience.  Fear of feeling more deeply.  Fear of letting go.  Fear of potential deprivation, loss of control, going into survival.  I can help you move around this, and through this, if you let me know what’s happening for you.  You may know I always recommend giving yourself “two years” to change an old habit.  The organs don’t like rapid change.  They like to take their time.  They like gentle.  They like whole foods, nourishing foods, eating slowly, and just enough.  They prefer patience.  If you have just enough patience, then show up for the detox.  The group is usually fun, and I’m usually pretty nice.  Give it a try! Face the fear and move through it in order to clear it, and become lighter for life.

Gloria Gonzalez, LMT, SEP
CCO/Founder, Eight Elements West

To reduce risk of injury, in your case, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE BEGINNING ANY HEALTH OR WELLNESS PROGRAM.   The information presented is in no way intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.


Pulse 21 21-Day Detox

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