Coming clean

February 2017

By Meher Castelino

An intense ayurvedic detox programme helped Meher Castelino get rid of excess fat, gain improved metabolism and plenty of fresh energy


Servicing your gadgets is a must if you want them to work well. Cars, air conditioners, and other gadgets are cleaned from the outside as well as inside. Then why not service our bodies? We bathe, dress, put on makeup, care for our skin, hair and body from the surface but never think of cleaning/servicing our bodies from the inside.

My ayurvedic doctor Hemang Parekh explained the benefits of detoxing the body both from the inside as well as outside, a concept that is radically different from the usual detox programmes which focus mainly on a diet plan such as consuming water, juice, fruits, and lime for days.

The Dynamic Detox programme at Ayushakti was a closely monitored one, suited to my particular needs and requirements. I had done it in 2014 and felt great (it should ideally be done once a year) but skipped it in 2015, due to time constraints (you need nearly 21 dedicated days) but did it once again in November 2016.

A rude shock

There is a time in one’s busy life when one eats everything that is on the table, gets lazy and does not care about what one puts into the body. This happened to me for the past two years, but a slight jolt woke me up from my slumber. Having kept my sugar level and cholesterol under control, I was rudely awakened in October when my last blood test showed a high fasting sugar and even a higher one post two hours after meal. My weight was a heavy 70 kgs and my clothes didn’t fit too well.

My photos revealed a plump face and my energy level was low – climbing a few steps got me breathless. My first step was to start moving and stop gorging on chips, wafers, chocolates, ice-creams, sweets, lots of buttered toast and Punjabi samosas. I am a foodie so whenever I travelled, I loved to sample all the local dishes. But now it was time to battle the bulge.

Out came my trusty Jane Fonda workout CDs and on October 20, 2016, I started a daily 90-minute regimen with almost regimental devotion seven days a week.

Detox was the next step. Dr Parekh chalked out a programme especially suited to my needs and requirements. I wanted to bring down my sugar and cholesterol levels, lose weight and feel energetic.

The favoured menu


The 30-day detox plan started on November 2, 2016, when I prepared my body by going off sugar, milk and wheat (vegan diet). As per the detox plan I could eat any amount of rice and moong dal khichdi which has 70 per cent dal and 30 per cent rice cooked in cow’s ghee. I could add spices like cumin, coriander, fennel, saffron, black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and all fresh herbs like coriander, garlic, onions and ginger. Asafoetida, which reduces vata (air) was added to combat the gaseousness caused by moong dal. I ate vegetables like bottle gourd, padval, ridge gourd (turai), tindli, fenugreek, palak, carrots, capsicums, French beans, fresh green peas, white and red pumpkin, bitter gourd, and okra. Papaya was the only fruit allowed to me since it cleanses the system. For snacks I ate puffed rice and for sugar cravings, jaggery. Green, herbal or black teas along with soups were a favourite of mine. I never felt hungry since I could eat as much as I wanted of the above foods.

Taboo foods

Certain foods were prohibited since they produce toxins and affect the three doshas namely vata, pitta and kapha. So I stayed away from milk, coffee, all rotis and chapattis, deep fried, left-over, readymade, tinned and microwave-cooked foods. Sweets, bread, biscuits, cakes, and chocolates too were deleted from the menu along with fermented foods like curd, idlis, dosas, cheese, and paneer. Salads and raw vegetables were also out and so were pulses like chick peas, dry mutter, rajmah, val and mataki dals, all non-vegetarian foods along with sour foods like lime, tamarind, vinegar and pickles. Tomato, cabbage, potato, cauliflower, brinjal and cucumber were also removed from the kitchen. This was as far as foods were concerned. When it came to overall lifestyle changes, the following were avoided – sun bathing, excessive travelling, thinking/talking too much, sleeping during the day, anger, and suppressing natural urges like urine and stool. What was recommended was a normal life and positive thinking.

The treatments

Two days before the treatments, I started taking before lunch and dinner, a quarter teaspoon of hingastak churna which stimulates the internal fire, and half-a-teaspoon of supachak churna after, as it helps digestion. Every night I had two vaca oil capsules before bedtime which keeps the vata normal.

The first two days Meena, an expert therapist, started the siddha massage with a paste made from herbs, which was a great exfoliation for the skin, and dry pind swed hot pads, which contained herbs that help to absorb the paste into the full body. This stimulates the agni (digestion) and metabolism. All these are done on an empty stomach so I picked the 8.30 am slot.

On the third day, besides the two treatments there was internal cleansing with bhedan basti (enema) after eating a little khichdi two hours before, for removing the blocks and air in the system. From the fourth day I was given a slim lotion massage with steam for external oiling, while three types of Grut (oils with medicines) were to be taken in the morning and before bedtime, for lubricating the inner channels and helping the toxins move to a single place in the stomach. On the fourth and fifth days the regimen changed to two teaspoons of each grut in the morning and one teaspoon each at night. On the fifth day I also underwent slim lotion massage with steam and bhedan basti; on the sixth day I was given an oil massage, steam with three teaspoons of each of the three gruts in the morning, and two teaspoons in the night. The seventh day included oil massage and steam with four teaspoons of gruts in the morning and two teaspoons at night. For the eighth day it was an oil massage, steam and bhedan basti but no gruts in the morning or night.

The detox day

The ninth day was the all-important detox day for which I had prepared for the last eight days. I started at eight am from home after having followed prescribed rules like no treatment, yoga, or talking, no cell phone, TV, computer, reading, or afternoon sleeping. On an empty stomach I powdered 10 Virechan and two Virechan Plus tablets and swallowed them with water. A flask of warm water, black tea and ginger tea was ready which I had to drink after every visit to the washroom. Through the day I was on SMS with Dr Parekh who was monitoring my progress. After 10 visits to the wash room and several cups of the warm water, black and ginger tea, I realised there were no toxins left. After 30 minutes, I took two gasmukti tablets and 15 minutes later had some watery khichdi. After some more visits to the washroom and a few stomach cramps which were quickly relieved by drinking a cup of jeera tea, I rested.

Post detox treatments

The 10th day was for resting but from the 11th day I had to undergo anuvasan basti after eating khichdi. This is a nourishing basti and has to be kept inside for one to nine hours and I could only eat after three hours of the process. On the 12th day I was given niruh basti on an empty stomach, which is a deeper level of cleansing and comes out within five to 15 minutes. The next few days were alternated between slim lotion, dry pind swed for the full body and oil massages along with steam and bhedan basti.

The final result was a drop in weight from 70 kgs to 65 kgs; my measurements dropped from one to three inches in various parts of the body, making me feel lighter and more energetic.

The follow-up programme

As a follow-up programme all fermented foods, sour dishes and chapattis of rice, jowar, bajra, dals of channa, masoor and vegetables and fruits like radish, orange and mosambi were prohibited. I could have nachni flour along with soya milk, and chunk sand tofu. All other fruits were allowed within limits. Coconut milk and water were welcome additions and for that sweet tooth jaggery was permitted. In nuts _ cashews and peanuts were out, while almonds and walnuts could be had. I could have bhel and paani puri without the sour chutneys.

You realise the changes only after you have undergone the full treatment. There is a glow on my cheeks, twinkle in my eyes, lightness in my steps and body and a general sense of well-being which I don’t think I could have enjoyed had I not gone for the intensive cleansing treatment.

I look forward to a fantastic 2017!

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