By Priti Hiranandani
March is an excellent month for inner spring-cleaning. Follow this detox program for a new rejuvenated you.
Now that winter is waning and all the festivities, marriages, parties are tapering off, it is time to do some inner spring cleaning. Just as dust builds up in our homes, toxins build up in our bodies. Our environment and food are full of additives. Even food with no additives can have toxins. Eating carbohydrates that are too refined like white bread and white flour is like eating glue. They stick to your intestines. Fecal matter begins to decay there, creating toxins and bacteria. Blood capillaries pick them up from here and distribute them throughout our body. Toxins are a result of emotional stress, unbalanced diet and the consumption of too much rich food. They build up over a period of time and eventually spill over, leading to a health disaster. A body overloaded with toxins can result in constipation, bloating of the stomach, poor digestion, gas, fatigue, weight gain, excessive mucus, poor concentration, poor memory, headaches, poor skin, depression, body odor and bad breath.
Our body’s main detoxifying organs are liver, digestive system, kidneys, skin, lungs and lymphatic systems. They do their job devotedly but when overburdened, they crash. Here is how to nurse them back to health
Drink plenty of water as it flushes waste out of your body and transports nutrients to all the parts. You must have 8 to 10 glasses per day. Starting your day with one glass of lukewarm water is a great start.
Baths and Saunas
Hot water baths increases blood flow and capillary action in our skin, promoting good blood circulation.
Lavender Oil Baths
In its pure form, lavender is one of the safest oils to use with virtually no allergic reactions. Adding a few drops in your bath water moisturizes your skin while soothing away stress. It induces sleep. Lavender oil can also be sprinkled on your pillowcase before ironing to induce sleep.
Lemon Grass, Coriander and Clove Baths
This is an excellent treat for stiff, overworked limbs. It stimulates circulation and relieves suffering from joints and muscular pains. Boil 5 to 6 sticks of lemon grass, coriander leaves and cloves each in one liter of water for 5 to 10 minutes and add it to your bath water.
Mint Foot Soak
You will need 12 large sprigs of mint, a tablespoon almond oil and one teaspoon of rock salt. Boil all this in 1 liter of water for five minutes; dilute with cold water until the water is pleasantly warm, pour into a basin and soak your feet. After a long day on your feet, it comforts and moisturizes them luxuriously.
Since too much of the wrong food is the chief villain in the toxin game, cut down your diet and eat as light as possible. Try this:
The Three-Day Khichdi Diet
One cup moong dal; one cup brown rice; five to six cups of water; one tsp jeera; a pinch of hing; a pinch of haldi; salt to taste; a tsp of ghee.
Pour ghee into a pressure cooker or kadai, wait till it smokes lightly, add jeera, haldi and hing. When browned, turn in the dal and rice. Fry for a few minutes, add salt and water and cook till done. The khichdi should have the consistency of thick porridge.
For the next three days, this is all you eat. No tea, no coffee, no fruits and, of course, no other food. Have the khichdi for breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. Easy to digest, this regimen will eliminate gas and other digestive problems. You will return to normal food, considerably rejuvenated.
For three alternate days, down a tablespoon of ginger juice as soon as you have brushed your teeth in the morning. The searing juice may cause momentary discomfort but it will be a permanent cure to worms brought on by over-indulgence.
Remember you are what you eat. Balance your food with your body energy requirement. Getting the right balance is what healthy eating is all about. It is important not to crave any kind of food so balance intake of good and bad food. All food can be enjoyed as a part of a healthy eating plan in reasonable amounts. Here are a few pointers:
o A good thumb rule to follow is to have plain food – often lowest in calorie, fat and price.
o Batters add calories.
o While buying veggies, buy an assortment of colors. The more colorful the vegetables, the better the mixture of nutrients.
o Eat healthy varieties of food using the food pyramid as your guide.
o Don’t overeat.
o Limit the number of alcoholic drinks you have to not more than two glasses per week and preferably only with your meals. Alcohol is the main contributor to calories and weight gain. If you are having salty snacks with your drinks, try and substitute salt with paprika, crushed black pepper, chilli powder, sesame seeds and mixed dry herbs. Try diluting your drinks, including your wine, with plain soda.
o When you go grocery shopping what you buy determines yours and your family’s intake and health. Always read what goes in packaged food.
o Eat varieties of fruits and vegetables and nuts.
o Eat four small portions of meals a day.
o While making your shopping list choose lots of whole wheat or mixed wheat breads, oats and cereals, brown or unpolished rice, pulses, whole wheat or buckwheat pasta, veggies, fruit, skimmed milk, cottage cheese, tofu, yogurt, fish, chicken, eggs, red meat, bean sprouts, mixed nuts. Breads and cereals give us energy for all our physical activities. They also act as laxatives, giving you clean bowel movements and detoxifying your system. The soluble fibers from cereals and oats may help reduce cholesterol and heart disease. Fruits and veggies are high in fiber, nutrients and vitamins, hence they keep your body clean and healthy while being digested. Cakes, chocolates, crisps and fast food items should be only bought as treats. For snacks, choose low-fat alternatives like popcorn, roasted khakra and salads with yoghurt dips.
o Replace butter with olive oil. Groundnut oil and olive oil are regarded as the safest mediums of cooking, as they have unsaturated fat. Measure oil in tablespoons while cooking. Try grilling, steaming and baking as opposed to deep frying. Don’t overcook vegetables as it destroys all nutrients from them.
o When cooking meat, trim off the visible fat, choose low fat meat.
o If you are buying tinned fish, choose fish tinned in brine or tomato sauce. If tinned in oil, drain it well before consuming. Red fish like tuna and salmon are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, known to be good for your heart.
o Replace salad dressings of mayonnaise and cream with Greek or natural yoghurt and olive oil. Use tofu or cottage cheese as topping with crumbs of toasted whole wheat bread.
o Fruits can be great treats as desserts and between-the-meals snacks. They also help you combat sugar pangs.
Fasting has been used for centuries by yogis and saints. It relieves and gives rest to your system, giving it time to rejuvenate and detoxify. However, it should be done in moderation.
Exercising stimulates the body and steps up your metabolic activity. It strengthens your body and mind and helps you to discipline yourself.
It is when we sleep that all the damages done are literally undone. Sleep is the best form of de-stressing your mind and body. Get a minimum of six to eight hours of sleep every day.
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