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WellBeing: May 2014

Have you ever opened your mouth and said something that you later regretted?

April 24, 2014 
By Mike Vilneff

Have you ever opened your mouth and said something that you later regretted? This recently happened to me when I was part of a panel discussion at a health and safety seminar. The topic of discussion was cancer in the fire hall. We discussed ways that we felt we could reduce exposures to known carcinogens in our business.

Well, I kind of went outside the lines and talked about something that I had done years ago after a particularly nasty call. I shared with everyone in the room that I had gone out and purchased a heavy-metal cleanse the next day and started taking the little pills. When I shared this, there were definitely some chuckles heard, and that was OK. I went on to explain that ever since, I have continued to do a full body cleanse twice a year.

After the session ended, I was asked to help re-launch this wellness column by telling my story. That is where the regret (initially) set in. After a day of reflection, I agreed to write this in the hope that it will generate some level of interest in better protecting ourselves.

Before we go any further, I must stress that I am in no way a subject-matter expert with respect to detoxification. Nor am I a doctor, nutritionist or naturopath. I am simply someone who stepped outside of my comfort zone to try something to improve my health.


My wife, Theresa, has been a firm believer in natural healing for many years and had been encouraging me to give some of her remedies and treatments a chance. Naturally, being of the male gender, I snubbed my nose and stayed with my mantra that these options were not for me. I never discouraged Theresa or objected when she introduced our children to some of these techniques; I just did not want to drop the macho façade I had developed in my mind.

Turn the clock back to April 26, 2005, the day after the Horizon Plastics fire in Cobourg. This fire covered an area of 76,000 square feet of plastic fence, lattice and associated parts. The plastics were made of HDPE (high-density polyethelyne) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride). I really did not know what was in the smoke, but figured it probably was not a healthy cocktail, so I went out and bought a cleanse. I did this on my own and did not share this with Theresa; I kept this decision hidden from her as I did not want to admit to her that I may have been wrong about her naturopathic remedies. It took me many months to admit what I had done.

After doing the initial cleanse and following up with the full-body cleanse, I started to talk about it at the lunch table at the fire hall. There were skeptics and a few chuckles – and who knows what was said when I was not in the room – but the interesting thing was that two firefighters actually tried it. One did the pill cleanse that I do and one tried the Master Cleanser program that my wife does. The fellow who tried my approach quit after just a few days and that is OK; it was not for him, but at least he was open enough to try it. The other fellow lasted nine days of the 10-day program. Knowing what is involved in that program, that was a huge accomplishment.

So what does all of this have to do with cancer? Well, as I said, I am not a doctor and I do not profess to know what triggers that horrible disease. What I do believe though, is that if I can get rid of any toxic substance that is in my body, I should have a better chance of dodging cancer or any number of other maladies that could strike.

Where is this leading? You have no doubt been told on many occasions to think outside the box. I am asking once again for you to give this cliché a ride. Stop in to your local health store and see what it has; there is a huge range of products from which you can choose. Find something that works for you. If you don’t have a local store, jump on the world wide web and search “detoxification”. You will be amazed at what is available and what can be delivered to your door.

I was somewhat surprised after the panel discussion at the health and safety seminar when a fellow chief officer tapped me on the shoulder and told me not to be embarrassed, as he has also been doing a cleanse for many years. I was then very pleased when another chief asked me to send him information about the product that I use as he wanted to give it a try.

Writing this has been kind of a mind cleanse for me. Most importantly, I have to thank Theresa for introducing me to a healthier life and for her constant support.

What have you got to lose?

Mike Vilneff is the fire chief for the Ontario; the Cobourg Fire Department in Ontario. The 34-year veteran of the fire service is also a member of the Ontario Ministry of Labour Section 21 committee and is the chair of the advisory committee for the Fleming College pre-Ssrvice program. E-mail Mike at and follow him on Twitter at @84supra

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