So many people have reached out asking what I do to detox. So I decided to share the basic method that I follow. It's at the bottom of this post, called The Cleanse. Keep in mind this isn't for everyone, and there's many, many ways to do a detox. If you aren't sure if this is right for you, please reach out, or ask your trusted healthcare provider.
But first.....more on this detox topic. We can detox from anything like people, situations, and sensory input. We can emotionally detox, physically detox, and spiritually detox. I'll elaborate more on this in my upcoming posts, but in this post we are talking about the actual food cleanse.
So, as you all know, I'm nearing the end of my journey of becoming an Ayurvedic Practitioner. One of my biggest take always from this experience has been that there is so much we can do to take care of ourselves on every level. We have a responsibility to our bodies, and minds. They require care and regular maintenance. A big part of Ayurveda focuses on prevention of disease, and detoxing helps support that. Typically Spring and Fall are the best times to do a detox.
It's so important to set your intention. Cleansing is not meant to be a dreadful experience. Keep a positive attitude towards it. Enjoy the experience! A detox is a change in your normal routine. It gives us an opportunity to look at old patterns with new awareness. It gives us the opportunity to rethink our present eating patterns, food choices, and daily lifestyle habits and helps us re-evaluate them. It's a reboot for the body, the mind, and the spirit. It gives your body a break and a chance to rejuvenate from the inside out. The organs get a chance to relax a little, especially the liver and the small intestine. The small intestine is where most of our food absorption takes place, so it should be clean in order to absorb nutrients. It's often a place where toxins, certain bacteria, and pesticides collect.
If the cleanse down below sounds like it's too much, that's understandable. You may want to try
"The Elimination Method." Eliminating things that we consume daily is a very practical way of introducing the cleansing concept to your body. Try eliminating these things from your body for 1 week. Stick with it as best as you can.
Main things to eliminate:
Caffeine - coffee, energy drinks etc...
Soda - Candy - Chips - Cookies - Junk Food
Sugar, especially processed sugar and artificial sweeteners
Red meat, seafood
Limit egg consumption
Just by eliminating these things for a period of time, you are doing wonders for your body!!
Introduce them back one at a time and observe how your body reacts. This may be a good way for you to determine if something has been causing you bloating or digestion discomfort. Then consider if this item should be eliminated from your diet all together.
This is typically a 7 day cleanse. I've done it for as long as 2 weeks, but not less than 5 days. The trick is getting through the first few days. Listen to your body! It will tell you exactly what you need to do.
You will need the Kitchari and CCF tea recipes found in my previous blog posts.
Drinking warm water is key!!
Morning ~ drink 1-2 glasses of hot water as soon as you wake up. It's ok to squeeze a little lemon or add a piece of fresh ginger. Make sure the water is good quality.
Prep ~ steam a bunch of veggies for the day and save the water. Do this each morning of the cleanse.
Make a batch of CCF tea to sip on through out the day. Put it in a thermos and keep it warm.
Breakfast ~ Between 7-9am ~ One piece of fresh fruit such as apple, pear, grapes or citrus. It must be at room temperature, or even slightly warm. Then about 20-30 minutes later, have one bowl of cooked whole grains. I make Kitchari for this meal. Kitchari is delicious and easily digestible, which is why is a detox "go to." If you aren't feeling Kitchari, use Quinoa, basmati rice, or brown rice. Season with ghee or a little olive oil and add a little salt.
11:00am ~ One or two cups of warm veggie water from the steamed vegetables. Add a little pink salt. Drink slowly, and feel each sip mixing with your saliva.
Lunch ~ Between 12-1:30pm ~ One or two bowls of steamed vegetables. Make sure to use a variety and make it colorful. Include the roots, stems and greens. Buy the best quality vegetables you can find. Nothing frozen or from a can. It's important to use all fresh food for a detox. Include things like, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, asparagus, kale, chard, cabbage, sweet potatoes and okra if you can find it. Season with ghee and salt. You can also add spices like turmeric, a little black pepper, and cumin. Also fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, and basil are great to add as part of the detox and additional flavor.
Snack ~ around 3pm ~ More Veggie water. Same as 11am.
Dinner ~ Between 5-7pm ~ Same as lunch. No other food until the next morning.
Evening ~ Enjoy sipping on herbal teas only. Chamomile, peppermint, or CCF tea are great to have.
Bedtime ~ Do you best to be in bed by 10pm so that you can let your body rest and continue to detox.
It's a good idea to detox from too many things that are stimulating at this time, like TV, phones,
video games etc.... Instead, try reading an inspiring book or listen to soothing music.
You can swap out the veggie lunch for more Kitchari.
Limit eating raw veggies and salads. They are harder to digest and the whole idea is to eat things that are easily digestible to give the body a break. If you are feeling the need for a crunch, a handful of raw veggies is ok during the day, or a small side salad at lunch, not at dinner. Warm, cooked foods are easier on the digestive system.
NOTE ~ Use Olive Oil instead of Ghee if you are Vegan.
It's not unusual to feel a little tired or weak for the first few days. This will pass. Energy will start to come back around day 3 or 4. During this period if you start to feel weak and/or hungry assess your water intake and your elimination. If needed you can eat a small portion of protein, about 3-4 oz. This could be lean chicken, lean white fish, one egg, lentils, or mung beans. If you incorporate this, have it at lunch, when your digestive fire is strongest.
Sip CCF tea or herbal teas throughout the day!
For a spring detox include more pungent, bitter and astringent vegetables such as:
artichokes, bean sprouts, bell peppers, broccoli, asparagus, chicory, brussel sprouts, fennel, kale, mustard greens, radishes, snow peas, spinach, swiss chard, turnips, green beans, collard greens, dandelion, endive, leeks, cauliflower, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, okra and cabbage... just to give you some ideas. Greens contain essential properties for eliminating waste and increasing energy on a cellular level.
Include fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, ginger, rosemary, and basil.
Apples, pears, plums, papayas, strawberries, blueberries, pomegranates.
Squeeze lemon and lime on your food for additional flavor.
Eat fruits by themselves. When combines with other foods they may interfere with proper digestion and promote gas.
Basmati rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, brown rice
Things To Remember:
~ The simpler the better. That's the name of the game here. Be realistic! Do what you can realistically manage. The idea is to give your body a break, so as long as you do that, you are doing your body good!
~ Chew your food very well and allow enough time to eat without feeling rushed. Ideally eating in quiet with no distractions is best.
~ Relax for a few minutes before and after your meal.
~ Avoid eating if you are upset, angry, or are in a tense environment. This will change how your food is digested. Get yourself to a relaxed state first.
~ Eat in a comfortable sitting position, ideally at a table so you aren't slouched down or standing up to eat.
~ Drink a lot of water, and CCF and herbal teas.
~ Eat only until full, not overfull. Eating slowly will help you determine this feeling. It's s subtle feeling.
Lot's of times we are so distracted, we only notice when we are way too full. We eat past our full point.
~ Be patient! It didn't take one day for the toxins to build up in your body so it will not take one day to get
them out. It's a process.
~ Your normal routine changes during a cleanse. Use this time to experience other things that you
normally wouldn't think of. Maybe take a long walk, bring back an old hobby that you love, or take up a new hobby that you haven't made time for.
~ Listen to your body! This is super important. Listen for the signs of true physical hunger vs. phycological
and emotional hunger. It's normal to feel a little hungry during this time because you have changed your typical eating patterns. Sometimes the emotional hunger signs can be viscous..lol! Try not to let them take over.
~ A cleanse does not mean starvation! Listen to your body! A cleanse is one thing but starvation is not the
the goal here. The purpose of a cleanse is literally to clean out and give the body a break, not to starve it.
~ Keep in mind that the body can't separate impurities from vitamins and minerals as it's flushing things out. This is why it is so important to listen to your body and keep eating and drinking during the cleanse.
Elimination will occur in a few different ways. Most obviously, it will occur through your urine and bowel movements. It will also occur through the skin, through sweating. It's good to sweat during this time. We release a lot of toxins through the skin by sweating. We also release toxins through the nose, by blowing the nose and through the lungs by doing breathing exercises. If you experience increased mucus or congestion, or more frequent bowel movements or urination, this is the body eliminating the sludge. Don't be surprised if your elimination smells different. That can happen too.
Moving your body during a cleanse is very beneficial for toxin removal. Keep it on the lighter side. Try things like biking, swimming, yoga, stretching, pilates, walking, or easy dancing. These are also great for the lungs.
After you decide how many days to do your cleanse, and you see it through, it's time to start the next phase. The post cleanse phase is really important too. After all the work you put into cleansing your body, it's not a good idea to run out and binge on fast food the the minute it's over. Take it slow! Add things back slowly and notice how your body reacts to things as you re-introduce them. Think about what you may want to permanently eliminate, or have less of, going forward. It's a process!
My next post will include cleansing self-care techniques!