Change the oil...
So I was on Nantucket visiting my friend Karen and she was telling me how she and her husband had developed a mad craving for mangoes and were able to get some luscious ones, leading to the consumption of three cases of these delectable fruits. Then came the rash that looked exactly like poison ivy. Now mango is amazingly healthy, but it also contains urushiol oil which is the same as the oil in poison ivy and poison sumac which are not so healthy. Which explains why I don't like the smell of mangoes. Because I am DEATHLY allergic to poison ivy and poison sumac. In fact, a number of years ago, I had a terrible attack of poison ivy after spotting some five miles away while on a walk. Ever since then from time to time I'll notice my thumb itches and it will look like a poison ivy outbreak. But in fact, it's from something I would never have guessed is from the same family - ginkgo biloba. That's right, healthy ginkgo contains the same urushiol oil as my deadly enemies. So do pistachios, which explain again why when my sister offers me pistachios at Christmas I decline. In fact, even the pistachio commercials bother me.
One of the basic facts of natural medicine is the chemical relationship between healthy and unhealthy elements in the body. For instance, iodine is essential to the function of the thyroid, breast tissue and stomach digestion. But often exposure to its chemical cousins, chlorine and bromine, take up all the space at receptor sites in the body and all our healthy iodine gets pushed out, so we suffer from iodine deficiency. This is the same concept as the urushiol oil. Which is why natural medicine will say to develop resistance to poison ivy, take Ginkgo. The urushiol oil in the Ginkgo will help you develop an immunity slowly so that the sudden exposure to rolling around in a patch of poison ivy won't necessitate a hospital visit.
This is exactly the idea behind detoxification. Replace unhealthy, toxic and blocking nutrients with healthy, whole food based supportive nutrients. The process of replacement pushes out the toxins and clears the body's pathways for healthy cells to be produced and for the body tissues to work at an optimal level. Swapping out your nutrition is like changing the oil in your car. The oil breaks down over time, and you have to replace it with fresh, healthy oil. And not all car oil is the same! Just as not all vitamins are the same. The vitamin D at CVS is not the same as the vitamin D we sell in the clinic. Vitamin C is NOT ascorbic acid. In fact ascorbic acid is only one component of whole vitamin C. There are numerous cofactors, synthesizing agents and catalysts that are part of the vitamin C molecule in nature. So ascorbic acid is not natural, nor will it produce the same effect as whole vitamin C.
I was even thinking about this during a game of Scrabble. My mother hates Scrabble. She's lovely to agree to play even though she hates it, because she loves the idea of playing ANY game, even one I seemingly squash her hopes of winning by the third word. Now she loves the idea of being able to turn her letters in when she gets in a jam. Those times when she has the Z, the Q with no U, or all vowels. Then being able to form words, the point of the game, becomes impossible except for the very elite (the ones who have memorized all the Q words that don't require a U).
This is the idea of detoxification. When you get to the point that you can't make another word with your letters, you turn in your letters and get fresh new combinations. New foods, new nutrients, release toxins from the liver, kidneys and intestinal tract, boost immunity.
So think about replacing your body's "oil" each year and build up your immunity with healthy options. That way you can roll around in the woods without fear!