My yearly detox was a bit different this year, exploring and experimenting with Ayurvedic approach.
I try to do 2-3 detoxes every year and some of you have been following these from social media. We need these clean-ups on regular basis, even if we do our best to eat and live "clean and healthy". When toxins build up, one feels tired, almost like sick, digestive issues, brain fog, skin problems....and the list goes on.
In general I am pretty healthy (touching on wood) and do no get sick easily. If I do, it takes much shorter for me to recover and I do not remember fever or staying bed sickness for a long time (another touch on wood plus mashallah!!). Regular detoxing, healthier eating and yoga practice do pay off in these days!
However, after the holidays, with -"not so healthy eating" and not being able to practice yoga regularly- period, I felt almost all of the above symptoms. It was also because there was a major cold and flu virus going around the city. I did not get sick as many people around me but my body resisted and fought a long time and that already sucked!
This time in my detox I decided to use Ayurvedic approach, an area I was longing to discover more! Ayurveda is an ancient Indian holistic health system, combining mind and body. As Deepak Chopra explains here, "More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge). It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vibrant and healthy while realizing their full human potential."
You might have heard about the doshas, which are the mind-body types, and are the foundation for Ayurveda. Doshas express unique blends of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics.
The three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, are derived from the five elements of nature, which are: Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. The best way to identify your dosha is to see an expert Ayurvedic doctor but you can start having a sense by using one of the online tests. I did this one and it matched my doctor's diagnosis.
However, Ayurveda is so much more than that.
The 2 guiding principles are, first, the mind and the body are inextricably connected and second, nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind. Freedom from illness depends upon expanding our own awareness, bringing it into balance, and then extending that balance to the body (Source: Deepak Chopra).
There are very basic and logical principles, like decreasing stress through mediation, eating a colourful-flavourful diet, strengthening digestive power, getting abundant sleep, living in tune with nature, exercising, taking it easy and living-eating-drinking according to your dosha.
I have just started learning and there is soo much more than these about Ayurveda, in the area of healing ailments and living a healthier lifestyle and preventing diseases with a strong body-mind. I have ordered my books and booked my Ayurvedic retreat in Sri Lanka, so you'll hear more about these in the coming months for sure!
I learned that I am mostly vata and pitta person and started the detox that helps balance my doshas.
What is my problem and what do I for it?
The main principle of my detox is the same as last years and you can read the details here.
I avoid gluten-dairy-coffee-alcohol-sugar for 30 days. The first couple of days are painful due to withdrawal effect of caffeine so I suggest you follow the rules I mention in my article.
The body tells you what it needs if you know how to listen!
I am dry all over!
I was having dry skin-mouth-eye-scalp-skin for a long time and I was trying to heal them with drops- oils and creams which is just a temporary relief. So first thing I learned is I have been drying myself for long years, acting against my data dosha, eating lots of dry nuts-fruits and crackers (healthy or not)! I was also drinking too much herbal teas which causes the loss of urine (which is good to detoxify to a certain extent) and when you add my 1-2 cups of coffee to this, I don't know why I was wondering why am I so dry!
My belly is bloated!
Digestive problems are one of the most common issues of our times. Most of my friends and students complain from bloated belly, gas, constipation or even some of the have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This is the result of years of overloading the intestines and all digestive system. In my case, I was also forcing it too hard as I love salads and can live on salads on raw food in every meal! So, my digestive system and vata dosha got tired of it!
I am tired and have sleep problems
I have a very active life and teach about 2 yoga classes per day. With 2 kids, 1 dog and 1 cat, life can be really being "up on feet" all day. So in the evenings I am finished by 21:00! Which could be normal yet sometimes I wish I have more energy to read, meditate, do yoga and relax more in the evening or very early morning. As I approach the menopause my hormones are also playing its tricks on me with sleep and mood swings!
What is new from ayurvedic approach?
Here is what I have started to do during this detox period and hoping that these become habits to continue for life.
- Stretch, meditate and do yoga for about 15-20 minutes
- I drink a glass of lukewarm water (not room temperature, a little heated one) with a few drops of lemon juice or small piece of ginger.
- After shower or bath with epsom salts and lavender oil, I use sesame oil all over the body
- A warm breakfast of omelette (i.e. with mushrooms)and/or gluten-free porridge with apple/pear compote and almond-coconut milk with cinnamon and cloves. I also eat avocado and olives.
- I take my usual supplements and started a new one called shilajit with the advise of my Ayurvedic doctor and due to my symptoms above and plus some inflammation issues. So please do not take it unless you take the advise of an expert. It is a strong supplement made from rocks in Himalaya.
- I drink my lukewarm water all day long and add a small piece ginger or mint leave or a few drops of lemon but I try to make sure it is not a "herbal tea".
- I do not eat raw food during these 1 month or keep it to really minimum only during lunch time.
- I eat a rich lunch with gluten free grains like quinoa, mostly vegetarian protein like mung beans, and steamed or baked vegetables (never over cook or burn).
- I avoid red meat, legumes like chickpeas and white beans.
- I use less salt and spices. Salt=water retention. I use more of cumin and ajwain.
- Made an apple-pear compote with cinnamon and dates and use it for snacking or dessert
- I soak all my nuts like almonds and walnuts and eat them as snacks or breakfast.
- Vegetable or chicken soup for dinners
- Early bed and making sure at least 7 hours of sleep! Regularity, routine and rest are important for vata-pitta dosha mix people.
- Had 2-3 times Ayurvedic and regular massage during these weeks to help the body aches, detoxification and relaxation.
After 2 weeks, I am already feeling lighter and more energised.
My belly is definitely less bloated, flatted and happier! I am craving mostly the good old Turkish yogurt and sometimes feta cheese!! Coffee is also not so easy but I love my lukewarm water and its soothing effects so that is getting easier. I feel a bit tense during detoxes probably due to not being able to eat my favourite yogurt or cheese yet I try to focus on positive effects and sides. That is why meditation is even more important during this time.
A key learning (or reminder) for me
Food should be a pleasurable part of your life.
Eating a meal should be a joy and neither a torture nor a automatic-robotic action.
Yet, if food becomes the centre of your pleasures, that you start to take most of the joy in your life from eating and drinking and when it becomes an addiction that you feel "your must have that cup of coffee to move on", then it is sign of a need of detox.
Every time I detox, I feel I realise the other pleasures in life, I strengthen my willpower, I explore what makes my body happy and disturbed. Sending the toxins away is beautiful process and you must be awake and calm to realise these benefits, hence once more again I advise meditation!
Stay in touch
Join our Retreat to learn more on detox and mindful eating
Me and Mironel are delighted to have you in our "Connection to Core, Detox Body, Mind and Spirit Retreat" on the 28th of June 2019, for 2 or 3 nights. More details are here.