On Monday, 23rd April, I went to hear a pianist called Mitsuko Uchida play in the Royal Festival Hall, London. She played the last 3 piano sonatas by Schubert, written when he knew he was dying. Mitsuko became the music; she expressed the anguish of a dying young man. It was unbelievably moving; a transcendent concert. In between movements the audience burst into a loud round of spontaneous coughing. Every time. They also kept up a rousing chorus of coughs whilst she was playing to test everybody’s concentration. Why? Lets look at toxicity.
We live in a toxic world of convenience. We drive cars, we clean with toxic chemicals, we lather them on our skin to keep ourselves young and beautiful, we cover our plants with them to keep nasty bugs at bay, we pump noxious fumes into the atmosphere to make more things for our convenience, our amalgam fillings and vaccines contain mercury and our food is wrapped in plastic. We breathe in, rub in and eat chemicals that are totally alien to our bodies on a moment to moment basis and expect our body’s detoxification systems to cope. So when we go to a concert, it seems we have to cough every 5 minutes in order to clear the build up of phlegm in the throat. And that phlegm can be a sign of uncleared toxins in the body which has 3 lines of defence against toxins, ranging from powerful to weak.
The body’s primary cleaning systems are the liver, the kidneys, the intestines, the gall bladder, the skin and the lungs. Blood, lymph and the digestive system carry the toxins to the clearance sites, and the rubbish gets excreted from the body through the wee, poo, sweat and breath. If we all ate a diet that suited us, was totally natural with no cheese strings in sight, and came from rich organic soil, and we reduce our toxic load to a minimum, then we would not need to cough so much. But, of course, to eat such a diet requires time in the kitchen, more expense on high quality ingredients and for us to make a concerted effort to avoid toxic chemicals in our lives.
So in this toxic, convenient world, our preferred garbage sorting sites get totally overwhelmed and the body resorts to its second line of defence – snot. Unbelievably, the mucous membranes that produce the safety net of snot, cover an area 100 times greater than our skin. They line the mouth, the nose, the stomach, and intestines, the genitals, the bladder, and the prostate gland in men. Our snot both absorbs and secretes toxins. How can we tell that the phlegm system is being overwhelmed? Regular coughing. Other early signs include frequent urination, sneezing and nose blowing and loose stools.
These early signs cause inconvenience. As time goes on, the mucus membranes start to get inflamed. Now any medical word ending in ‘-itis’ means inflamed. So we have bronchitis, sinusitis, cystitis, colitis, prostatitis. Sadly the medical world aids us by using ‘anti-s’: anti-histamines, anti-inflammatories, and, most heinous of all, anti-biotics for long term conditions. Modern medicine rarely looks for underlying causes of long term conditions, rather it seeks to cover them up. That said, modern medicine deals with acute conditions with huge skill; cut off our finger, rush to hospital and our chances of the finger being reattached are high, with slim chance of dying of blood poisoning.
Returning to the coughing – which tends to become bronchitis when we catch a cold. The body has a 3rd, inefficient, line of defence when all else fails: its other membranes; they line the joints, they surround the heart, brain and spinal cord and form part of the cell walls of the body, amongst other things. Because of their inefficient detoxification ability, the toxins build up here and lead to arthritis, heart disease, tiredness, depression, memory loss; all diseases of aging. As we age, inevitably toxicity levels build unless we do something about it. Also the skin becomes a 3rd line of excretion and gets congested, leading to skin conditions such as rashes, acne and eczema.
To sum up: when the primary detoxification system of the body gets overloaded, we are unlikely to notice any effects. Symptoms of excess toxicity start as the secondary system, the bogey producing system, starts to feel the strain which results in activities such as nose blowing, sneezing or frequent trips to the smallest room. None of these would apparently need attention, never mind a trip to the doctor. As this 2nd cleansing unit gets more aggravated, then we start to acquaint ourselves with the doctor’s waiting room as our body presents us with various ‘-itis’ complaints, for example, bronchitis. And finally the body brings its 3rd line of slowly moving dustbin men into play, which, as time goes on result in such symptoms of toxicity as arthritis and memory loss. Finally, it is worth bearing in mind that cancer is not a disease of stress, but a disease of toxicity.
What to do? Eat a clean, unprocessed diet; buy organic, high quality food; take a massage; take a sauna; get sweaty; drink plenty of good water (not unfiltered tap). Only do a detox diet if it contains a good source of protein.1. Don’t ignore the need to cough or blow the nose, rather listen to your body’s signs of struggle and give it a bit of help.
- A good protein will normally be rice protein with plenty of amino acids. The liver has a 2 stage detoxification process and the 2nd stage is protein dependant. Most detox diets ignore this need and blithely remove all or most protein from the diet during the detox period which leads to even greater toxicity in the liver since it has not got the right ingredients to complete its detoxification. [↩]