Column: Nature’s Presence


by Marcie Martinez

Nature’s Presence is a column that shares its name with my web site and gives a nod first to nature’s presence all around us and, second, to the gifts (presents) that nature has given us for optimal health. Expect to read about various concepts relating to natural healing and tips for looking to nature to enjoy whole health and well being. For a more detailed look into natural healing concepts you may find my blog at I created this column in the hopes of “getting back to our roots” as well as helping others find ultimate health in this crazy world of pharmaceuticals and fast food. Here’s to your health!

Disclaimer: The information in this column is intended for informational and educational purposes only. If you require medical attention it is imperative that you seek medical advice from a competent practitioner.

My Foray Into Natural Health (Part 1)

You wouldn’t think it today but at one time I was fully rooted in conventional medicine. I used to go to the doctor any time I had an issue. In my defense I would never go just for the common cold – I knew I’d be “prescribed” fluids and rest – but I would go if I had an issue that I thought required antibiotics or some other minor drug, and I gladly received the prescriptions I was offered. Although I rarely, if ever, actually took some of the pharmaceuticals prescribed (muscle relaxers or Oxycodone, anyone?), I took very seriously what the doctors had to say about medications such as antibiotics (alcohol reduces its efficacy; at the time, anyway).

I grew up with allergies. Not just a sniffle here or there but full-on, hardcore allergies. I couldn’t breathe half the time and was constantly rubbing my itchy eyes. As a young adult I would spend months unable to breathe, with the onset beginning later each year but ultimately resulting in complete misery. I would try various allergy medications. One year, in college, I couldn’t breathe the entire month of March. I went to the Student Health Center for some sort of relief. I was given a steroid shot. This did not work so I was back a week or so later and given another. This also did not work so I went back yet again and was told they could give me no more shots. This time they gave me some high dosage Sudafed. It worked temporarily but I would ultimately always return to my miserable self.

After college I was able to get “better drugs” from my doctor, so for a time I was not so miserable. At that time I was on one Claritin and Rhinocort (nasal spray) a day, everyday. At this point I was miserable all year long, even during the winter when there were no pollens. Rhinocort is a steroid as well and Claritin, well, it is just as unnatural as other pharmaceuticals so I was becoming quite disturbed at having to be on these medications constantly. I lacked energy, had digestive issues – possibly related to allergies (but how would I know?), and was generally not feeling great. I was in my early 30s at the time. This was no way to live; something had to give, and it had to give fast!

Luckily I had a wonderful friend, who happens to be my cousin, who was learning about natural healing and health. She introduced me to a pretty intense cleanse called The Master Cleanse (MC). She told me about some local people who had been able to take care of some serious issues, one having even prevented gall bladder removal. I decided to give it a try but, as with anything else, I had to understand what I was getting into. I read the most pertinent books on the subject and got to it. To do this cleanse it was necessary to get off all medications so I got off my Claritin and Rhinocort, as well as the medication I was taking for Acid Reflux. The results were pretty good but I still had allergies. As far as the reflux went it got considerably better. The general recommendation when one completes the MC is to take probiotics beginning immediately after completing the Cleanse and continue at least for a few weeks. I did this for a period of time and felt great for several weeks and even months. Then my generally poor eating habits returned, as did the reflux.

It is important to note that many people are on medications that are necessary for their health and therefore it is critical to always talk to your doctor if you are thinking about doing any kind of cleanse or anything else that would require getting off medications. In certain situations a cleanse would still be beneficial even though the person must remain on meds. Also, although some medications could be replaced with natural alternatives, it is important to determine if one should wean themselves off of those medications as opposed to quitting cold turkey. Again, this is where it would be absolutely necessary to consult with your physician.

After the first cleanse I was on probiotics only for around a month but after my second cleanse I decided to continue on probiotics indefinitely. It seemed this was the ticket. Although I had vowed to change my eating habits to minimize the processed and junk food I also vowed to take probiotics for the rest of my life. This has proven to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.

The MC is an intense cleanse and therefore is not for everyone; however, there are other gentler cleanses on the market, such as those offered in juice form by Jus by Julie and in supplement form at any reputable nutrition store. A little research goes a long way. Here’s to your health!