Can you tell us a little about where you’re from and your upbringing. Was your family health conscious or did your interest in health stem from you, not your family?
I was born in New Jersey and was raised in a small suburban town called Franklin Lakes. I am half Cuban and half Chinese. My Cuban grandparents always lived with us and my grandmother spent her days cooking Cuban food for the entire family. Every meal involved white rice, black beans, fried plantains, and meat. As much as I love Cuban food now, it was always a challenge for me to eat real food (my parents would always have to bribe me with dessert). I never liked the stringiness of the meat and I was a junk food addict. I ate Cocoa Pebbles or Cap’n Crunch with whole milk for breakfast everyday and I drank soda with dinner almost every night (everyone was doing it!). While they fed me some shit, my parents have a very healthy relationship with balance and that, to me, can be more important than what you actually eat. My interest in nutrition began in my twenties for vanity purposes, stemming from the fear of aging and “letting myself go.” Trying every extreme health fad has led me right back to my parent’s philosophy of everything in moderation.
How long have you been a colonic therapist and how in the hell did you get into this crazy career?
I received my certification in colon hydrotherapy in 2009. I learned about colonics reading The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose. The book introduced the concept that waste equals weight and that in order to experience the detoxifying effects a cleansing diet can produce, elimination is imperative. The book promised that I would be glowing in fourteen days, and I wanted what I now call the after-shit glow because I had a crush I needed to impress. So I started seeing Gil Jacobs (the colon hydrotherapist featured and highly recommended in the book) religiously. Gil is known as the Godfather of Colonics in NYC and I just became completely obsessed with him. He taught me much of what I know now and succeeded in encouraging me to consider colon hydrotherapy as a profession.
What do you believe the benefits of colon hydrotherapy are? Can you explain a bit about the gravity method that you practice?
Colon hydrotherapy cleanses the last five feet of our intestinal tract known as the large intestine, or the colon. The colon is our body’s septic system. Everything our body needs to rid itself of, including metabolic waste, gets discarded in the colon. When we are backed up, all of our bodily processes slow down, including metabolism. Additionally, our body overproduces mucous as an immune response to modern day living (acidic foods like dairy, processed food, environmental toxins, medications, hormones, etc). Mucous traps the bacteria and prevents it from entering the bloodstream. Excess mucous sticks to our intestinal walls and prevents absorption of nutrients. The bacteria trapped in the mucous also gets reabsorbed back into the bloodstream.
When there is a backup in our colon, not only do we feel bloated as a result of all of the methane and hydrogen being produced by the proliferation of harmful bacteria feeding off of the fermenting/putrefying contents of the intestines, but much of this garbage gets reabsorbed into the bloodstream looking for the next elimination organ ( your skin). Many skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis and cystic acne are being traced to leaky gut, which results from a shitty diet and poor elimination. Breast cancer has even been traced to constipation and the reabsorption of toxins into the bloodstream.
Scientists are also calling the gut our second brain because our nervous system runs through our intestines. The large intestine is lined with neurons releasing neurotransmitters like serotonin (our happy chemical) that communicate with our brain. In fact, 90% of the serotonin our bodies produce is produced in the gut (not the brain). Depression and anxiety are now being linked to constipation as are neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis.
The gravity-fed method of colonics is the most gentle, yet effective method of colonic that used to be employed in hospitals before pharmaceuticals really became a thing. There is no machine or chemicals involved, just an elevated tank of filtered water, which allows gravity to pull water in and out of the body. The treatment is about 45 minutes to an hour long. I am present throughout the treatment massaging the abdomen and controlling the flow of the water, strengthening your peristalsis and encouraging your bowels to evacuate.
What’s the strangest thing that’s happened during a treatment?
Hands down the strangest thing that’s happened is a male client who kept removing his cover sheet. I can handle a lot of shit, but not perverts.
What are some misconceptions around colonics?
I get asked all the time about whether or not colonics strip the intestines of all the beneficial flora and about perforation. I guess I consider these valid concerns rather than misconceptions. There is definitely a shift in our microbiome after a colonic as the contents of the large intestine get evacuated. Most people suffer on some level from dysbiosis, where there is a greater population of harmful bacteria to beneficial flora. This is evidenced by symptoms such as bloating, allergies, candida, yeast infections, chronic fatigue, joint pain, et cetera, et cetera. Until the harmful bacteria leaves the body, the beneficial bacteria get overrun, resulting in lowered immunity because our beneficial bacteria serve as the frontline for our immune system keeping invaders out of the bloodstream. So as long as you’re replenishing with probiotics and a fiber rich diet, a post-colonic microbiome is a much healthier environment for your beneficial flora to flourish.
Perforation is another concern of many first-time clients. I believe colonics get a bad rap for perforation, when the real risk of perforation occurs during colonoscopies. Colonoscopies involve a sharp little camera that has to travel through the twists and turns of the large intestine, while a colonic involves insertion only two inches deep. If suffering from acute diverticulitis, it is not recommended to receive colonics. Depending on the severity of the inflamed intestinal pockets, there could be a risk of the water pressure perforating the infected bowel.
What diet do you advocate to support healthy elimination? And what other habits do you believe support good elimination?
Definitely a whole food, fiber-rich diet is necessary for healthy elimination. I always advocate a water-rich, plant-based diet incorporating lots of fruits, veggies, organic grains (quinoa, millet, spelt, wild rice), fermented foods (kraut, kimchee, olives), mineral rich seaweed (dulse is my favorite), herbal teas, green smoothies, green juices and of course, dark chocolate.
Our soil is very depleted these days, so it’s important to take a magnesium supplement. I also recommend taking probiotics first thing in the morning and waiting at least ten minutes before eating/drinking anything to maximize on delivery to the intestines. Many clients benefit from drinking warm water with lemon in the morning and drinking a glass of water with raw apple cider vinegar fifteen minutes before meals to add some digestive acid. (It seems counter-intuitive, but what we consider heartburn, is usually a sign of diminished stomach acid.) Also, not eating when stressed is a HUGE. We are in no position to receive when we are stressed, so instead, our bodies produce cortisol and convert food to belly fat.
Finally, using a squat stool when using the toilet also helps to open the rectum for fuller evacuation and hemorrhoid prevention.
Why is it important to get colonics during and after a cleanse?
A cleanse does not qualify as a detox unless substantial elimination is taking place. Digestion is triggered by chewing as we have digestive enzymes in our mouth that start chemically breaking food down as we chew. Juice cleanses do not trigger digestion effectively and many people find themselves not pooping for the duration of the cleanse. A proper cleanse incorporates water-rich, enzyme-rich foods and/or liquids that literally act as cleansing agents, breaking up matter on the intestinal walls. When matter is cleansed off of the walls, but not properly eliminated, it gets reabsorbed into the bloodstream, which is NO BUENO.
There are a lot of skeptics that don’t believe in colonics and detoxing, what would you say to them?
As long as they’re pooping regularly, Godspeed. It’s not my mission to convert non-believers, but to assist those hopelessly searching for alternatives to medications and to educate the unknowing population on the “power of the poo”, a common blindspot.
What transformations have you witnessed when someone commits to getting colonics?
In conjunction with a fiber-rich, plant-based diet, I’ve noticed dramatic transformations with clients clearing up eczema, psoriasis, chronic migraines, chronic bloating and even anxiety.
If you had to suggest three daily habits for your healthiest life, what would they be?
#1 is to keep a mental poop log (pun intended). We are what we do not eliminate, so let’s try not to be full of shit. #2 Discover your joy and laugh often. Happy people are healthy people. Find something that makes you jump out of bed everyday like it’s freaking Christmas. Stress, anxiety and depression repress the bowels. #3 Adopt a plant-based diet. You don’t have to stop eating animals and breast milk (although you should), but try your best to eat mostly plants. It’s better for you and better for the planet.
What are your guilty pleasures?
BRAVO REALITY TV comes to mind, but I’m not sure that I would call it a guilty pleasure since it is one of the things I love to talk most about! It sounds silly, but I swear BRAVO gossip seems to breed familiarity amongst the unlikeliest of people, creating instant bonds. Basically, BRAVO is making the world a better place by highlighting unattractive behavior that everyone is secretly capable of. So as far as guilty pleasures are concerned, I think listening to Justin Bieber most qualifies.
How long did it take for you to come up with your brilliant name, The Doody Free Girl?
One of my dear friends, Matt Schwartz of She Hit Pause Studios, is a creative genius with personality for days. We were at a fundraiser one night and he exclaimed “You’re Duty Free!” He didn’t really expect me to run with it, but he deserves all of the credit. I tacked on Girl because Doody Free was already taken by a doggie poop bag business in Staten Island. Go figure.
What do your loved ones think of what you do for a living?
Even though some of them are too shy to get colonics and/or don’t really get it, my friends and family lend me their undying support, encouragement and enthusiasm. I am very blessed in this regard and none of this would be possible without the most supportive parents in the world.