By Naini Setalvad
Detox helps you to eliminate the stores of toxins and waste products that create illness and aging. detox and win back your health, youth, and beauty
Much has been said about detoxing as a means of maintaining good health. What is seldom dwelt on is its transformational effect. It gives you a positive direction, and heightens self-awareness. There is a huge spiritual logic to detoxing, besides its scientific rationale. For a spiritual person, this period can be a very refreshing time as it improves self-discipline, and encourages introspection.
It’s a dirty world out there – and inside our bodies too! We acquire toxins from our environment by breathing, eating, or through physical contact. We are exposed to strong chemicals, air/water pollution, radiation, smoke, and lack of sleep, causing untold stress. We consume too much sugar and refined foods, and abuse ourselves with various stimulants and sedatives.
Stress triggers your body’s fight or flight response, a primitive biochemical reaction that puts your body on red alert. If stress continues, your body reaches the ‘alarm stage’ and the deteriorating physical and mental health disrupts the functioning of the immune and circulatory system. Your body becomes less efficient at eliminating toxins, increasing your toxic overload. This, in turn, generates depression, irritability, poor performance, anxiety, mood swings, acidity, constipation, cardiovascular problems, and degenerative diseases including cancer.
Signs of the above are dry, blotchy skin, headaches, fungal infections, lack of energy, joint pain, allergies, bloating and constipation.
The most important way of strengthening your body’s natural defences is to improve your diet. Here is where detoxing comes into play. According to naturopaths, detoxifying removes toxic materials and waste products, opening the pathway to natural self-healing and spiritual enlightenment.
On a purely practical level, detoxification takes the strain off our physical bodies.
Anything that supports our elimination helps us detoxify. By drinking only an extra quart of water a day, and eating more fruits and vegetables, turning organic, eliminating refined flour and sugar, we can throw off more toxins and create less congestion.
Prepare to detox
• Go organic as much as possible as it lessens chemical loads, saves the environment, helps mental well-being and is the best form of charity you could do to Mother Earth
• Shop for plenty of fruits, leafy greens and vegetables
• Whole grains (bajra, jowar, nachni and brown rice), sprouts, cold pressed oils, rock salt
• Keep chopping board, blender, knives or food processor to reduce chopping time
• Buy steamer
• Buy herbal infusions
For the bathroom:
• Skin brush with natural bristles, which should be firm but not too stiff or they may irritate your skin
• Exfoliating scrub or salt
• Your favourite essential oil, added to suitable carrier oil
Detoxifying your kitchen
A key step to successful detoxing is to clear your kitchen of all the fatty, sugar-laden comfort foods that you reach for in times of emotional crises so that, if you do go through a stressful time, there won’t be anything bad in the pantry for you to eat. Set aside a day to go through your cupboards and throw out all the white flour, white sugar, packaged, processed and refined foods you find there. Then restock your kitchen with nutritionally sound food, using the shopping guideline given alongside for guidance. Where possible, choose locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables; they retain more nutrition, and cause less chemical and environmental damage because they do not have to be preserved or flown across the world to you. Once you are set this would be easy. Remove aluminium and plastic containers from the kitchen.
Count down to detox
Either go completely cold turkey and begin, or do a countdown to detox.
Both ways check your CBC, vitamin levels, lipid profile, thyroid function and blood sugar (fasting), so as to reduce unpleasant side-effects due to minerals and vitamin deficiency.
• Drink more water
• Eat more fruits and vegetables
• Cut down on carbohydrates
• Reduce dairy as it increases mucus
• Keep a food diary
• Start exercising
• Wean yourself of alcohol
• Cut down on caffeine
• Add deep breathing.
In pure detox, supplements are not taken but if your blood reports show a deficiency, supplements can be taken as a safeguard.
• Try to cook your food as little as possible; steam or lightly sauté.
• Sprout your pulses as the vitamin and mineral content increases. Steam and add to your vegetables.
• Use organic cold pressed extra virgin oils in minimum quantities.
• Use condiments, herbs, spices, cumin, turmeric, rock salt, ginger.
• You should use extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil/ groundnut oil, mustard oil (4 tsp) in a day, or 1 tsp ghee or 2 tsp raw coconut in a day. (Use all types of oil in a day).
Eat slowly, chew properly, and eat regularly. Do not skip meals, have plenty of water, avail of sunlight, yoga, walking, deep breathing and rest.
Three-day detox programme
• Start your day with lemon water.
• Have fruits till 11 am
• Have any vegetable juice at 11 am
• For lunch have a salad + vegetable + 2 bajra rotis
• 4 pm any fruit
• Salad + soup at 6 pm
• For dinner you should have vegetables + sprouts with lemon coriander + 2 bajra rotis
Continue the routine, substituting bajra with jowar rotis
Continue the routine, substituting jowar with brown rice
You can continue this cycle for 15 to 45 days
Try these recipes to add some zest to your detox programme
• Cauliflower: 200 to 400 gm
• Tomatoes: 100 to 200 gm
• Finely chopped spring onions: 2-4
• Coriander leaves chopped: 3 to 5 tbsp
• Green chillies: 2 to 4
• Lemon juice: 1 to 2 tbsp
• Salt to taste
• Honey: 1 to 2 tbsp
• Powdered roasted cumin seeds: 1 to 2 tsp
• Roasted Bengal gram: ½ to ¼ cup
• Mustard oil: 1 tsp
• Mix all the vegetables in a salad bowl. Refrigerate.
• Combine lemon juice, salt, honey, oil and cumin seeds together to make the dressing.
• Serve the dressing along with the vegetables on a serving platter.
• Garnish it with roasted Bengal gram.
Carrot and tomato pulao
• Raw brown rice: ½ cup
• Mixed vegetables boiled (French beans, potatoes, green peas): 1 bowl
• Chopped tomato: 1
• Grated carrot: 1
• Cloves: 3-4
• Ghee: 2 tsp
• Cinnamon: 2-3 sticks
• Bay leaves: 2-3
• Pav bhaji masala: 2-3 tsp
• Salt to taste
• Wash and par boil the rice. Strain it and keep aside.
• In a pan, add olive oil, add cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, boiled vegetables, grated carrot, chopped tomato, salt and the pav bhaji masala. Mix well, and sauté for sometime.
• Add the boiled rice and mix well.
• Serve hot.
Minestrone soup (serves 6)
• Olive oil: 2 tbsp.
• Chopped onion: 2 cups
• Garlic minced: 5 medium cloves
• Salt: 1 ½ to 2 tsp.
• Celery, minced: 1 stalk
• Carrot, diced: 1 medium
• Zucchini, diced or 1 cup diced eggplant: 1 small
• Oregano: 1 tsp
• Fresh black pepper to taste
• Basil: 1 tsp.
• Capsicum, diced: 1 medium
• Water: 3 to 4 cups (or more)
• Tomato puree: 2 cups
• Cooked chickpeas or pea beans or kidney beans: 1 to 1 ½ cups
• Dry pasta (any shape optional): ½ to 1 cup
• Ripe tomatoes, diced (optional) :1 or 2 medium-sized
• Heat the olive oil in a pan.
Add onion, garlic and 1 ½ tsp salt. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then add celery, carrot, eggplant (if using zucchini, add it later with the capsicum), oregano, black pepper and basil. Cover and cook over very low heat for about 10 more minutes. Add beans and simmer another 5 minutes.
• Bring the soup to a gentle boil. Stir in the diced fresh tomatoes and serve right away.
Having completed your detox programme, you should feel better, more energetic and healthier than before. The idea is to avoid a buildup of toxins in your body by sticking to healthy eating patterns. Incorporate the main principles into your regular life. The key is stocking up your kitchen and planning.
Detoxing is a perfect gateway towards a healthier and more spiritual life.
Naini Setalvad is a nutritionist. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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