Give up the 7 day Narcissistic Cleanse

Give up the 7 day Narcissistic CleanseEver wonder if you are a narcissist, or even where that term comes from? Narcissus was a young handsome Greek God who rejected the love of the nymph Echo and instead fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water.

Today, we know narcissism as the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes. A narcissist may be considered self-loving, self-admiring, self-absorbed or self-obsessed and the definition even goes so far as to include having an excessive interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance. I am sure we can see a bit of all of these in ourselves, and a little bit is completely within what is considered normal.

Guess what I stumbled upon in my own mind recently? I realized that the concept of detoxing for 7 days feels narcissistic to me. We all want to detox to look better and feel better, which are important; however we want to do this all in a short 7 day cleanse. Not possible folks, really.

The toxic burden we all have accumulated has taken most of our lives to get to where it is today. I want patients to start living a life that supports detoxification so you do not have to do any drastic 7 day cleanse, ever.

Detoxification and purification are interests that every culture and religion share. However, what we think we know about the correct way to detox may end up hurting us in the long run. We know our environment is toxic, often this makes us feel vulnerable, and add this to our voluntary exposures to toxins and we want to clean house.

Truth be told, the 7 day detox does nothing to reduce your total body burden and detox you. In fact, most people recirculate and store more toxins when they resort to such drastic measures.

If you want to change what you are eating to eliminate the foods that are not healthy, great, do it! There are numerous herbs, supplements and actions you can take to support detoxification. What I am talking about is living a life that supports the environment and thus a healthy planet.

I know that sounds lofty but look at it this way: if we are making better choices as a consumer e.g. purchasing organic foods, purchasing non-toxic and natural self-care products, avoiding GMO foods, making decisions for your physical environment that are not damaging such as:

1)  Avoiding pesticide use

2)  Supporting local businesses

3)  Engaging in behaviors that are safer for the planet (e.g. riding your bike or walking whenever possible)

These are all acts of detoxification. An act of detoxificationcan look like calling your local representative about spraying pesticides in school yards and public parks when you see that tiny little sign posted informing the public when the pesticide spraying will take place. My point is that it is not all about YOU cleaning up, but instead having a role in cleaning up our collective environment.

Rewind the clock 20 years. The thought of buying organic foods was not on most people’s radar. Now this movement is a multi-billion dollar industry.  The fallout has been increased awareness of the organic farmer who is taking precautions to reduce the planetary load of chemicals which typically degrade very slowly over decades. By not supporting the use of chemicals in agriculture, we are helping to reduce the total toxic burden of the planet. These small changes we all make are acts of detoxification not only for us but also for our larger world.

So if you still want to do a cleanse, I say go for it. This is a great way to increase your awareness of the exposures you have in your daily life that contribute to environmental toxicity. Add this into the juicing, the salads, the sweating, the colonics, and know that we are all capable of massive change but it starts with a 100 small decisions we each make daily.

Dr Mary Shackelton, MPH, ND is a Naturopathic Doctor in private practice for over 14 years in Boulder Colorado. She has a Master’s in Public Health and runs Holistica Integrative Care, an integrative medical practice where she specializes in Women’s Health and the treatment of disorders related to toxicity. She is an avid runner, telemark skier, mountain biker, gardener, a yogi for over 20 years, is married and has 3 children to practice her handstands with. In 2001 She co-founded Insulite Laboratories, a company committed to the treatment of insulin resistance and related syndromes such as PCOS. Currently, she is writing a book on detoxification, is on the Advisory Board Doctor Advises of, is an Organic Twist partner,  and blogs on related topics on