Six week detox tools

BODY FUNCTIONS

A practice from the Aryuvedic tradition; consider that our body has three main functions – producing energy to run on, healing itself and growth/regeneration and eliminating waste and toxins from the body. It is said that between the hours of 4am and noon the body is cleansing itself – so many yogis will have only lemon or lime water and nothing else until early afternoon when the first and sometimes only meal is taken. From noon until 8pm is considered to be time to take in food and do things that generate energy for the body, that may include eating, napping, taking sun and fresh air, exercising, and for a practicing yogi it would include a yoga poses or ‘asanas’, and pranayam, or breath exercises. It is recommended that you take your fresh vegetable juices in the late afternoon or early evening as they will then be bioavailable for the healing and regeneration process during the night. From 8pm until 4am the next morning nothing should be eaten so the body does not have to deal with heavy waste elimination processing in the body, and the body and mind should be quiet and resting, that is: no movies or news , early to bed, rising early. Observing these three practices with provide a framework within which to practice a better diet, and a healthier lifestyle.

BODY CLEANSING

Adding a favorite cleansing tea to your daily routine is an easy path to being on a constant detox. Ginger tea is probably one of the most effective. Boil sliced ginger in a pot for about 15 fifteen minutes, drink it hot or let it cool. Dilute as necessary. Whether you use ginger tea or another of your own favorites, cinnamon is also very good, mint is good, the constant ‘washing’ of the internal organs with a cleansing tea will help wash out the toxins that begin to release from your cells. Note: when detoxing is approached in a hurry the risk is that too many toxins get released into the bloodstream at one time. For example if you start with a water fast right away. This places a heavy load on the liver and kidney, causes headaches and ill feelings, and discourages the detox process.

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Niyamas and Mindfulness

There is a lot of talk of practicing mindfulness; being present to who you are with, or what you are doing, and observing the self. It is a good practice. I for one spent many years at least semi-asleep, unaware that my behaviors were not by choice but automatic. Certain things automatically made me unhappy or angry or resentful, and bad behaviors followed. With some work I became more self aware, and more able to choose what frame of mind/behavior I will have, especially when confronted with events or people who create disturbance.

For me the key to doing this was following the Niyamas. These are the practices of daily living, and close variations on these are found in all the Holy books, as a prescriptive guide on how to live life. An interpretive and abridged short the list of Niyamas from the Hindu tradition follows here:

Clearness of mind, speech and body. [Attained through practice of Ahimsa; doing no harm to others through action or thoughts, and being truthful]
Contentment, acceptance of oneself and others
Perseverance in one’s purpose – practiced with discipline and austerity
Self reflection for the purpose of self knowledge
Devotion or practice of worship for connection to the eternal consciousness

For me the pathway to mindfulness was practicing these Niyamas, and cleaning up my behaviors within my family and at work. I studied the Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras with my yoga teacher Charat, and practiced meditation, fasting, pranayam, bhajan, and while I initially started to practice yoga for the purpose of my health and simple peace of mind, I realized along the way there was much more to learn/practice.

These days my practice is limited, focused mostly on the householder duties or taking care of family and home with gratitude and steadiness. Nonetheless, I am never bored. What I have found is that mindfulness in every task, no matter how ‘small’ or ‘mundane’, is a practice in itself, and has developed my ability to be (content) with what is and what is not, to be able to practice non-attachment, (liberated from those strong feelings of needing control in my case), and continue to be present or mindful almost all the time. For me the gift of presence and mindfulness is having a deep appreciation of life and the people in it. Love and connection to others is incredibly present.

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Convergence

Convergence is the extra-ordinary meeting of time, place, purpose, accident, people and so on at one point (in time, in meaning, in heart beats, in the breath). It’s when everything in life suddenly seems to be standing together at the junction in the path. Its when life shows up. It is extra-ordinary in that something about it makes (me) notice. Whereas most of the time life just flows by.

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Compassion

Practicing compassion is a sure path to peace of mind. whether it is for our loved ones who can drive us mad when they do not do as we think they should do, or for the angry driver, who is so unhappy they would endanger others without a thought to the harm they may cause. Compassion for them will allow us to stay calm and undisturbed. Compassion for the suffering of others and practicing ahimsa, or non-violence, towards any other living being, will lead to peace on a grand scale.

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Fluid body vs blocked body

Without water things do not flow. In the aryuvedic view of the body there are points in the body through which ‘prana’ or life energy flows, like water. The practice of ‘pranayam’ is breathing to stimulate this energy. Sound vibrations like the sound of ‘Om’  are also used to unblock areas in the body where energy is not moving through. As I go thru my life the impact of harsh events, loss, anger, injury, these all leave my energy channels blocked. Some of these spent years in my body before they got worked out/released. Body work, and yoga asanas, help to open those channels. Water is also key, as it literally helps to move the blood and oxygen around my body. In one deep meditation with my legs locked, asleep (and burning) I could feel (and hear) my heart beat and circulation, flowing like the ocean, with a sound like the waves.

And if the body is not well the mind cannot be well.

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Unaccountable happiness, clarity, connectedness

Unaccountable happiness comes from many practices; for me it comes mostly from the practice of surrender (and acceptance) and non-attachment. I first learnt what it meant for me to surrender during yoga classes with Charat in Singapore. As he instructed us in class, he would ask us to surrender, to the pose, to the body, and to the divine spirit. My mother was ill and was not going to be with us for long. Finding my way to allow the grief to be there, to accept her imminent death and not resist it’s inevitability; this was a huge surrender for me. It did not create unaccountable happiness for me in that moment – but a month later when I travelled all the way back from Singapore to the US to be by her bedside for her last few days, I was able to experience being with her as powerfully in her death as in her life, and moreover, be witness to the miracles in my own family that happened in the space of her passing. As I drove about the city where she had been hospitalized during her last travels, I was able to listen to music, feeling unaccountably happy, while at the same moment, profoundly saddened. That was the first time I noticed this kind of happiness. It could be called something else as well – it could be called ‘fully present and present for life itself’. It is an experience of fullness, being acutely present to the external and physical realm of the world, where everything in life is fully accepted as it is, no matter how things are.

Since then there have been countless moments of unaccountable happiness, and there had been before that too – the difference was in the consciousness of the moment. Its as if the heart, the body and the mind all surge at once, with the experience of love, contentment, some call it bliss… when this happens I take a moment to acknowledge it – that everything is so perfect (perfectly imperfect), that I am so fortunate to be alive and experience it this way. Then I let the moment pass and move on, with the practice of non-attachment, no matter whether the attachment is to something ‘good’, or ‘bad’.

Clarity Purification of your body, your family/social/business relations, and of your thoughts and spoken conversation can lead to elevated states of clarity as the background noises will quiet, worry and compulsion will cease. The mind, when quiet, can perceive clarity.

Clarity seems to have its degrees and its always already there. I would describe it as a range from luminosity to crystalline white light. For me, clarity comes with the absence of mental noise, background concerns and worries, or any compulsive need to take action of any kind. With those things absent, there is a clarity of Being, even quietness in the body, that allows the ‘vision’ of the minds eye to become clearer. There is less emotion and a different quality to perception. It is the condition that allows heightened perception. The ‘luminosity’ is akin to feeling someones energetic vibrations. Some people, especially healers, are able to see or feel that energy very acutely and find the places where there are interruptions or differences in that energy. There is a clarity of perception that goes beyond our typical mental checklist of what we observe, for example, when we are interacting with someone else. It’s like being tuned in enough in a conversation that you address the unspoken questions as you speak, because clarity has them at the surface.

At the other end of the spectrum is the intense vibration of white light.  It is less mysterious than it seems, white light contains all the color vibrations, and when there is sunlight, it is always there. If you practice fasting, prayer, meditation, breath exercises etc. it is possible to perceive and experience the color vibrations in ways that are extra-ordinary. You may experience crystalline white light, where as you look through everything is the same except that it is appears as if through a sharp crystal clarity, and it can occur as something that is more than just visual.

Connectedness It is an experience that words are truly inadequate to describe.

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We are what we eat

When I finally started cleaning up my diet, figuring out what foods were allergens to me, what caused asthma or inflammation in my system – my body was able to communicate to my brain better about what I was eating. Or, my brain was able to get the message better. The messages began to be something like: ‘oh wow, that made me feel really good!!!!’, or ‘geez, you’re killing me here.’

I know it sounds silly – but truly I began to tell the difference between live and cooked foods and was able to feel the difference in energy I would have after having one over the other.

So dead foods, even if they were vegetarian, or vegan, were still energy suckers, live foods were always a source of energy. So that is the bottom line for me – if I really need energy I eat live foods, and way less of it – because it provides so much fuel to the body. If I eat dead foods, I feel, well, less alive…

From another perspective – if one believes we take in the matter we eat into our body at a cellular level then well – as they say – who needs embalming? We are already preserved, polluted, chemicalized, processed, genetically modified, growth hormonized, etc., etc. Not to mention, as Maya Tiwari would say – we consume the anxiety, grief and fear of the animals that are slaughtered for our consumption.

One thing to keep in mind as well is that the body is a highly functioning machine, but if it is constantly dealing with our excesses of bad foods, we are wearing out the machine on waste processing, reducing the time for other higher functions like healing, regeneration and growth.

And, connected to this, we are sometimes HOW we eat. Distracted, absent, over consuming gluttons…I certainly was and still can be. Being fully present for the food we eat seems to go a long way towards having it provide nutrition, curbing the tendency towards overeating, and having the food choices be better.

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Avocado cilantro salad

 

My buddha is from China, his bindhi from India, devotion and gratitude is not particular.

My buddha is from China, his bindhi from India, devotion and gratitude is not particular.

Here are the pix – this recipe is pretty self evident, and you can improvise as you like. The recipe is one of Sri Dharmas that he suggests in the Life of a Yogi teacher training manual.  Its a super food, and if you eat too much of this it wont hurt you! The image below does show this with sprouted bread, if you cannot have gluten then corn tortillas or gluten free vegan corn bread is a good substitute.

 

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f) super foods to live on

From the post on detoxing:

Things to start to have on hand if you want to eat better and get healthy and really have some freedom about when and how to eat them. The more raw food you eat the better, once something is subjected to heat it will lose it’s vitality, and becomes less nutritious. Everything below is just suggestion:

VEGETABLES: Vegetables become super foods when you juice them, eat them raw, or add to smoothies. The best vegetables are local, seasonal, not sprayed or organic. Buy only what you know you will prepare and eat while fresh and minimize waste. This will have your healthy food budget be manageable and have you be compassionate & responsible towards those who do not have. Pick ones you like or ones your body is telling you to eat. Standbys are:

avocado (really a fruit but considered a vegetable by many) (avocado cilantro salad)
carrots great to juice, shred, or steam (Trader Joes sells them organic 89 cents a pound)
lettuce, spinach, bok choi, baby chard, kale etc. and other leafy dark greens – for salads
and for steaming/saute
onions if you love onions, but note onions and garlic are considered by many cultures to be ‘medicinal foods’, so I avoid them on a day to day basis, and then eat them raw when having a cold or other syptoms of a depressed immune system
cucumber – juicing or eating
zucchini spaghetti squash – substitute for pastas and great in vegetable dishes
celery for juicing and adding to many dishes like stir fry vegetables or pots of lentils
and vegan chili (trader joes has great organic celery)
cabbage(s) – not great if you have thyroid issues but fine if eaten in moderation
mushrooms – a great high protein vegetable that is very satisfying
tomatoes (really need to be in season, local and near organic)
potatoes, any kind but fried!

any other vegetable you love and can get fresh – beets, root vegetables, herbs are also excellent, you have to go by what you like or love – that will have you satisfied with your food. If you only love one thing go with that. Some of this is better eaten raw, and some you may feel a need to cook.

SEEDS & NUTS
a good small grinder is a necessity
always best to eat these raw but if you want to roast your seeds and nuts it is always better to start with raw and do it yourself in a pan on the stove top or in the oven. if you want a super food you will sprout your almonds, soak your walnuts, and grind your seeds to add to your oatmeal!
sunflower seeds great in oatmeal, homemade granola, by themselves as a snack
sesame seeds, ground in cereals, on salads, or use tahini for salad dressing
hemps seeds – good for milk making, adding to any foods, eating as high protein snack
pumpkin seeds – as above
chia, flax – add to cereals or salads, use in baking
almonds – snack or add to other foods
brazil nuts – high in selenium, good for the sluggish thyroid
peanuts – same, as long as you have no allergies to peanuts!
walnuts – great for desserts
cashews – topping for stir fried veggies – as snack etc, soak raw cashews to make cashew cream, or sauce base for ‘kormas’, mild indian curries
any others you like

GRAINS & BEANS & LEGUMES
I joined a buying club so buy 25lbs bags of organic beans. lentils and oats, getting around the crazy prices for the same at certain health food stores…
Oats, oats are great for detoxing, steel cut or rolled, but preferably organic
corn grits (polenta)
lentils any variety, for soups, in salads, as a side dish
split peas – green and yellow
brown rice
suggested low gas beans:
edamame – frozen fresh
red kidney
lima beans
black eyed peas
aduki or mung beans (mung beans ideally are as they sell them in the Indian stores, skin off, or ‘hulled’ and split, this makes them more digestible)
white or navy beans

FRUITS BERRIES & DRIED FRUITS:
organic, local and in season is best – otherwise whatever is available to you
bananas are great and have some protein
apples are also great
raisins, cranberries, prunes, apricots, goji, mulberry,
any of your favorite fruits
I buy what is on sale, organic and affordable, or really fresh and wash it well/peel if not organic

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y) detox exclusions

The really easy version of this is: no animal/seafood products, no wheat or gluten.

What is the rationale? Well there are many but the most compelling to me from the standpoint of health is that these foods are dead foods. Literally to eat them is too eat a carcass (keeping them in the fridge is like having a mini mortuary in the house) or in the case of dairy an animal by product.  Carcass – even if its ‘white meat’ or ‘fish’ or eggs, and somewhat easier to digest than a big hunk of red meat – all become more toxic within the body than plant based foods. Meats often literally ‘stick’ around on the lining of the intestine decaying inside the body. If your system is not fluid and processing what you eat today by the next day, then whatever you eat sits inside becoming putrid and upping the toxic load on your whole body especially your liver. So – whatever you decide to do in the long run, if you want to DETOX well, you have to leave aside the animal products to do so.

I have any diary and or eggs as an exclusion in this detox regime for a few reasons: animal proteins are often unclean, (added hormones, antibiotics and trace pesticides and herbicides) and are difficult to digest. I am avoiding the whole conversation about cruelty here, I address it elsewhere. The China study has demonstrated that there is a strong link between animal protein, heart disease and cancer.

Its not that big of a deal to leave the animal matter aside- just think about what you are committed to – if you are seeking more energy and better health – going vegan for a month and adding more raw vegan foods to your diet will make a difference. And its really not that hard. I don’t want to say you will also lose weight because it’s not the focus of a detox regime, but I do recommend reading this book, Eat More, Weigh Less, by Dr. Dean Ornish. (I linked to his website recipe page, the book can be found easily online for purchase.) If you want to really move into a hyper drive detox just watch the movie, Sick Fat and Nearly Dead. Then go out and buy a juicer and do what he does! Just be mindful, many of our bodies are so toxic we really have to start with the basics of cleaning the intestine before going into juice fasting and deep tissue detox. Otherwise when we suddenly detox all that toxin releases into the blood stream at once, creating a very heavy burden for the kidney and liver, and making us feel very sick at the same time. You be the judge of how fast or slow you can go – listen to your body and always support detox with lots of water.

With regard to wheat and gluten: many many people have a wheat or gluten intolerance that has not been identified – if you experience bloating, joint pain, or constipation there is a high probability that wheat or gluten is causing some of these issues. If you have anything like Irritable Bowel Syndrome wheat may be at the source of it. Read Wheat Belly for more on this. If you CRAVE wheat products then its likely it is an allergen for you. In a paradoxical twist of body biology we often crave that which is worst for us, other big ones include red wine, sweets, and greasy salty foods.

If you can manage to eliminate wheat and gluten from your diet while detoxing it will speed the clearing of the intestine, as most wheat products are highly processed. When you find gluten substitutes like corn meal, corn tortillas, gluten free breads, polenta, rice, etc you will be adding more fiber to your diet automatically.

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