A detox is a process which happens when inflammatory, sugary and processed foods are removed from our diets and our vital organs are able to work at full capacity to remove a build-up of toxins that our everyday lives encounter. It is a necessary practice that dates back in time for health, spiritual or religious reasons. However, detoxing is not just for the everyday smoker, drinker and processed food consumer, even the healthiest of people will feel the magical benefits of a detox.
The soul detox is a simple cleanse for busy people. Although the process is achieved through either fasting, juicing or elimination, detoxing is not solely focused on the foods we are consuming but also on the thoughts, emotions and patterns we are attached to. It is suggested that Jesus fasted only when faced with an intense spiritual need; which is why we not only feel and see the physical benefits of detoxing, but also gain a clarity of mind and are able to make more conscious choices after a cleanse.
Detoxes have recently been highlighted as a fad or a quick fix to weight loss, but once we shift this perception of it being good for one’s health and instead see it as a full mind and body reset then the benefits become one of self-discovery. Whilst it is not always practical or accessible to everybody due to the demands of modern day life (a sign in itself that we need to eliminate pollutants and daily stresses), a soft cleanse and elimination process can encourage the natural detox process and promote a healthier diet in the long run.
Below is a programme you can practice at home without interrupting your daily schedule and slowly ease yourself in to the process.
HOT LEMON WATER
Start each day with hot lemon water, this is a great energy boost and helps aid the elimination process. It is also high in potassium which is great for the heart. The benefits of hot lemon water are endless and is a practice that is easy to keep up.
BREAKFAST & SNACKS
Try a greens juice or smoothie, make it at home and try out some of your own combinations. The bulk of most juices will consist of apples, so try and add as much green to this as possible, my personal favourite is spinach & broccoli with a bit of ginger for a kick.
Snacks. If you need to snack between breakfast and lunch try to stick to one fruit, apples or papaya is a good choice.
LUNCH & DINNER
Homemade soup. Use a good vegetable stock and add as many green to this as you wish, blend it up and eat hot or cold. Add garlic or chilli for a kick. Eat dinner early and keep it as light as possible so that your body can digest before you retire for the evening. Either salads or vegetables. Dress only with lemon, lime, organic oils or avocado. Remember to be mindful when eating, take small mouthfuls and chew your food thoroughly.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN YOUR CLEANSE
Before starting a cleanse it is important to start eliminating as much toxic intake as possible to reduce the risk of headaches or cravings. Try to remove coffee, alcohol, sugar, meat and tobacco a week prior to the cleanse. You can substitute coffee for green tea or sugar for honey if you feel you need to. If your diet consists of a lot of white starchy products like bread or rice, start switching them to wholemeal and wholegrain, use organic products where possible and eat raw foods as much as you can. Drink herbal teas, hot water and lemon, diluted vegetable juices warm or cold, miso soup and sip two litres of water a day.
PREP & PLAN
The key to a successful detox cleanse is planning and preparation, make sure you have no events coming up that will interrupt the process and ensure that your friends and family are aware of your intentions to offer support where needed. Have a shopping list and meal plans prepared and stock up on everything beforehand so that supermarket trips are minimal. Give yourself a cut off time from the online world and put your phone, iPad and laptop away at least an hour before your bedtime. Limit your time on social media and instead start reading or writing.
Remember this is a total mind and body cleanse, so clear your cupboards of any junk and your living space of any clutter.
It is recommended where possible to include the following practices during the detox programme to help aid the release toxins from the body:
Self-administered colonic irrigation
Enemas are a natural and ancient method of removing waste and toxins from the bowel. Basti is the ayurvedic term for performing an enema and it is considered one of the ancient Shatkarma Kriyas. During a detox program performing an enema on a daily basis helps to ease bowel congestion, removes toxins that are being released as a result of the detox process preventing headaches and other detox symptoms and creates a clean environment in which healthy bacteria can thrive.
Breathing exercises – Pranayama
Through the practices of pranayama, the mind develops stability, and sets up a deep and powerful rhythm to sustain health and strength of the body. Pranayama is most effective in treating diseases of the respitory system, circulatory system and the nervous system and is an important tool for treating psychological and emotional disorders such as grief, depression, sadness, stress and tension. The breath is the link between the mind and the body, and through the breath we take in vital life force, or prana. It is believed that stiffness occurs in the body where prana is blocked. Toxins accumulate in those areas and pain, stiffness or disease set in. Through the practices of yoga, we are removing the blocks so that prana begins to flow which allows toxins to be released and removed.
A yoga practice will allow you to become more familiar with your body (inner and outer). Through the various practices, the major nerve centres of the body become stimulated and your physical body, our organs, our minds and our habitual thinking patterns are affected. The asanas allow us to connect to and clean out these nerve centers which otherwise might remain untouched. The process of learning how to assist the body in its healthy functioning can be very empowering: we see how we each have the ability to control and maintain our own wellbeing.
Our bodies are made up of 60 % of water, therefore replenishing it with water is the most important thing to do in order to balance the fluids and to enhance the kidney and liver functions. Detox or no detox, we should be drinking a minimum of 2 litres of water per day, this statistic changes but generally speaking this is a good amount to be aiming for. More during the detox to flush out all of the toxins that our liver is working hard to remove.
Our skin is our biggest organ and is the main method for removing toxins from our bodies; sweating is the body’s natural way to expel toxic waste. The use of a herbal steam room or infrared sauna encourages sweat therefore encouraging additional toxic waste elimination. It is a recommended practice to assist in any cleanse programme,just remember to hydrate and rehydrate after each session.
Jala Neti means nasal cleansing with warm, sea salt-water and is a practice of cleansing the nasal cavity and sinuses. Neti is one of the ancient Shatkarma Kriyas, the six yogic cleansing practices that are beneficial to your health. To perform jala neti add a pinch of salt to the neti pot filled with body temperature water and mix well. Next bend from waist to lean over the sink, place the nozzle of the neti pot securely in the nostril, open your mouth, drop your chin slightly and turn your head to the side until the water begins to pour through. Breathe through your mouth. When all of the water has poured through the nostril, remove the neti pot and repeat the process for the other nostril.
Tougue scraping is a great way to remove build-up of toxins and bacteria from the mouth. Simply take the tongue scraper and gently but firmly scrape the tongue a few times from the back of the mouth to the front. Follow by brushing your teeth and oil pulling.
Sea Salt Rub on to your gums, teeth and tongue every morning. It is great for absorbing nutrients and cleansing toxins.
An ancient ayurvedic method of removing toxins and pathogens through the mouth thereby improving health. Oil pulling is especially beneficial for health of teeth and gums. To perform oil pulling, first thing in the morning before consuming anything, take one tablespoon of cold pressed coconut oil and swish it gently around the mouth and through the teeth for up to 15 minutes. Be mindful not to swallow the oil. Through the process, the oil will pick up toxins and become whitish in colour. When you have finished, spit out the oil and rinse the mouth well using salt water.
Dry skin brushing
This stimulates lymph and blood circulation and removes dead skin cells and dried waste products from the skin so that it can breathe and eliminate properly. As your skin is the largest organ of your body it is vital that it is kept in good health. To perform take a smooth piece of loofah or natural soft bristle body brush and gently sweep it across the skin in long smooth strokes in the direction of the heart. Dry skin brushing towards the heart: you will need a natural bristle brush
Be mindful of your thoughts. Throughout the detox process emotions may run high and it is important to put in place a strategy to channel these thoughts. Creative exercises are a great way to express yourself, try journaling, adult colouring or painting and notice how the negative thoughts will disperse. Once we change our thought process the positive thoughts become dominant and there will be less space for the negative ones.
Once your cleanse is complete you will be feeling amazing and alert. Your eyes will be bright and clear and so will your mind. You will have put in place some practices that can become part of your daily life and can continue to further your understanding of self. In addition to the above benefits you may have lost some weight or noticed a decrease in bloating and tiredness. Just remember that in order to continue these benefits, reintroducing any coffee, alcohol, or meat should be done slowly and one at a time. Hopefully your cleanse has enabled you to live without some, if not all, of the unhealthy aspects of your diet, or given you the ability to substitute them for healthier options.
Disclaimer: Information provided on this blog is information only and should not be taken as medical advice. Please discuss with your practitioner or nutritionist before commencing any cleanse or detox programme.