At the beginning of the year, did you do what everybody hates to admit but secretly does anyway? Did you fall into the trap of making a list New Year’s resolutions? And have you – but a third of the way into the year – fallen into your old traps?
It’s time to offer a gentle reminder to revisit your health and beauty goals for 2010 and evaluate just how well – or how badly – you have been doing in keeping them up.
So lets embrace the D word: detox. While it works wonders any time of the year and at any phase of your life, there’s no better time than the present to get back into shape. It’s just as important to give your mind the same amount of TLC as your body, which is why you should also evaluate your emotional well-being. After all, what good is a healthy body without a healthy mind?
Let’s begin, as always, with the basics. What does detoxification entail?
“Detoxification means removing environmental and dietary toxins from the body to achieve optimum health,” says Dr Archana Ainapure, senior dietician at the Health Factory in Dubai. “Health is measured by the body’s ability to not only assimilate nutrients but also its ability to limit the accumulation of potentially harmful toxins. The body is protected from xenobiotics (compounds foreign to the body-toxins) by its natural barriers, which includes the GI system, lungs and the skin,” she explains.
The purpose of detox diets
According to Dr Ainapure, detox diets help to cleanse and rejuvenate the body, improve circulation, speed up the metabolism and strengthen the immune system. “A detox diet will also improve the condition of your skin, hair and nails. It will slow down the ageing process too,” she says. “Detoxification improves your ability to cope with stress, and you will find that you feel a lot more relaxed and energised after the diet.”
There are many types of detox diets, says Dr Ainapure. “Generally, a detox diet is short-term. The goal is to minimise the amount of chemicals ingested. By keeping your food intake controlled during the diet period, the body will receive the vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants necessary to enable the cleansing process.”
Dr Ainapure advises that your diet should contain high fibre foods. You should also drink a lot of water in order to eliminate toxins quickly.
“The two major detoxification pathways in the body are the immune tissues in the gut and the detoxification enzyme system in the liver,” she says. An individual’s nutritional status will affect the functioning of these systems.
Different detox plans will vary in length and can range from one day to a few weeks. A two-week programme is required to detoxify the liver. “There should be a proper plan in place before you begin,” she says.
What foods to include or ignore when on a detox diet
“You should always include plenty of fruit,” says Dr Ainpaure. This is because fruits are the powerhouse of vital nutrients and will recharge the body’s battery. “Fruit pectin binds with heavy metals and eliminates them. Dried fruits can also be eaten and are an invaluable energy boost when on the go. Fresh juices are easy to digest and flush the system quickly and easily, thereby speeding up your metabolism.
The antioxidants present in juices help fight off illness and will reduce the signs of ageing. Vegetables are vital and are the mainstay of any detox plan in that they are packed with minerals, vitamins, bioflavonoids and other phytochmicals. Vegetables are known for their calming effect on the body and balance acid and alkaline levels.
“Grains are fibre-rich and so they must be a part of the diet plan. Beans and sprouts are also good foods to include as they are high in fibre.” She recommends that you buy organic fruit and vegetables.
Dr Ainapure says that although making changes to your diet is the most effective way of eliminating toxins, complementary therapies such as reflexology, shiatsu, acupressure, yoga, Pilates, brisk walking, stretching, dancing, swimming, cycling and low-impact aerobics will help tremendously in the detoxification process. Choose one and have fun with it!
Other relaxation techniques like hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, saunas, steam baths and bathing with Epsom salts will also greatly help in the cleansing process.
Cathy Darnell, life energy management practitioner and holistic healer at the Synergy Integrated Medical Centre in Dubai, agrees with Dr Ainapure’s key points and says that these can be enhanced through emotional detoxification.
“When we make an emotional shift – for example, from anxiety or resentment to appreciation or forgiveness – about 1,400 biochemical changes occur in the body instantly.
Think about all the emotions you experience during one day – the highs and the lows. You can have up to about 100,000 conscious and unconscious thoughts a day. If we take responsibility for our thoughts and are aware of how we process our emotions, we will be healthier. We will find ourselves feeling calmer and governed by a greater sense of purpose.”
According to Darnell, emotions and thoughts have the power to create many changes in our physiology. It therefore makes sense to start paying attention to our emotional and mental diet as well as our physical diet, as this is one of the keys to our well-being.
“Strong negative emotions degenerate us while positive emotional states regenerate us,” she continues.
“By choosing to feel more love, care, appreciation, compassion and forgiveness, your health has a better chance of maintaining itself. How you feel affects your cellular regeneration and consequently, your immunity.
Your biography – or how you choose to live your life – really does influence your biology.”
If you feel constantly tired, find it difficult to get to sleep and equally difficult to get up in the morning; if you suffer from headaches or indigestion or generally feel below par, you could be suffering from a toxic overload. To achieve optimum health, consider the following detox plans:
Step-by-step two week detox plan (Prepared by Dr Archana Ainapure)
DAYS 1, 2 AND 3
Drink a cup of hot water with lemon juice. Do simple stretching exercises to stimulate your lymphatic system. Stimulate your skin with a dry skin brush to increase circulation when bathing. Drink a glass of fruit juice (apple, melon or fruit cocktail).
Have a massage, reflexology or acupressure session. Eat a fruit and drink herbal tea. Go for a short walk before lunchtime.
- Drink one of the following energiser fruit and vegetable juices:
- Apple, orange and carrot
- Spinach and beetroot
- Cabbage leaves, fennel and apple
Eat one of the following light lunches:
- Spinach and roasted garlic salad
- Date, orange and carrot salad
- Mixed green leaf and herb salad
- Crudités with hummus
- Crudités with pea guacamole
- Stuffed vine leaves
Relax after lunch. Gentle exercise such as yoga, Pilates, walking or cycling are encouraged. Have some tea. Drink a glass of juice for an energy boost.
Eat your evening meal between 6pm and 8pm. Choose from:
- Steamed vegetables with couscous
- Raw vegetables with organic brown rice
- Braised barley with vegetables Meditate or practice a relaxation technique. Have an aromatherapy bath and an early night.
DAYS 4 TO 8
Add Epsom salts to your bath water every day.
Eat a fruit salad made with apple, orange, pear and papaya and add natural yoghurt. Alternatively, eat stewed dried fruit such as raisins,
dates, apricots or mangoes with slices of fresh ginger and serve with yoghurt.
Have a snack of fresh or dried fruit (apple, pear, grapes or raisins). Drink herbal tea. Go for a walk before lunchtime.
Choose one of the following meals:
- A large green salad sprinkled with sunflower seeds drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice
- A jacket potato with hummus and salad
- An apple and beetroot salad with a jacket potato and hummus
- Stir-fried bean sprouts or broccoli with soy sauce served with brown rice
Rest after lunch. If you can, do some gentle exercises later in the afternoon such as yoga, Pilates, stretching, body-conditioning, swimming, cycling or walking. Drink a cup of herbal tea.
Drink one of the aforementioned energiser fruit and vegetable juices.
Alternatively, snack on
some crudités, a handful of mixed sunflower and pumpkin seeds or a small amount of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts.
Choose one of the following salads:
- Apple and beetroot salad with red cabbage leaves
- Summer vegetables in a nutty hazelnut dressing
- Japanese salad made from buckwheat noodles or organic brown rice
- Finish your meal with a detox dessert:
- Fruit salad with the delicious passion fruit dressing
- Figs and pears in honey
- Strawberries with the tangy yet sweet passion fruit dressing
DAYS 9 AND 10
Drink a cup of hot water with a
squeeze of lime juice. Do some stretching exercises to stimulate your lymphatic system. Run a bath and stimulate your skin with a dry skin brush. Drink a fruit juice.
Have a massage, shiatsu, reflexology or acupressure session or try another relaxation technique. Eat an apple or
Drink an energiser vegetable juice.
Eat a large salad comprising tomatoes, cucumber, fennel, carrot and beetroot with a dressing of olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.
Relax after lunch. Do some gentle exercise such as yoga, Pilates, stretching, walking, cycling or swimming. Drink plenty of water.
Drink a glass of fresh vegetable juice.
Between 6pm and 8pm, have an evening meal consisting of lightly steamed vegetables sprinkled with fresh herbs and lemon juice with a serving of organic brown rice. Alternatively, eat a vegetable stir-fry or a large salad. Meditate or practice a relaxation technique. Have an Epsom salts bath and go to bed early. Drink plenty of water before going to bed.
DAYS 11 TO 14
Repeat the routine followed on days 4 to 8. Eat a wide variety of cleansing foods, including beans, grains (no wheat), nuts, seeds and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. You can also include a small amount of steamed or grilled fish or chicken and a boiled or poached egg on these days, but do not over-indulge. Do not have an Epsom salts bath during this period.
The day after detoxing
It is important to ease your body out of a detox gradually. Over the next few days, return to a healthy, varied diet based on the key cleansing foods. Start your day as you did during the detox by drinking a cup of hot water with lemon juice, followed by some stretching exercises. Don’t overexert yourself and, if possible, avoid subjecting yourself to stressful situations.
Contact Dr Archana Ainapure on firstname.lastname@example.org
THE EMOTIONAL DETOX DIET PLAN(Prepared by Cathy Darnell)
For the next 12 days, create a positive environment to suit your unique needs. This could be:
- Playing tapes of Louise Hay’s self-help material or The Secret or music that takes you to a positive place. How you start your day can dramatically affect how you feel for the rest of it.
- Do at least nine conscious inhalations, breathing deeply to channel the air into the lower belly (where emotions are stored in the sacral chakra area). Pay attention to the duration of your breaths and the length in between.
- Channel your energy into the earth as our energy field is electromagneticand our emotional field is run on electromagnetic energy.
- Set an intention for the day ahead
- Eat and think consciously
- Be more conscious of your environment
- Be conscious of how you feel at every given moment
- Drink a lot of water
- Keep your body moving and your mind clear
- Make affirmations a part of your daily life
- Before you go to sleep, adopt an attitude of gratitude. Think of at least five things you are grateful for in your life.
DAYS 1, 5 AND 9
Emotional awareness and body scanning
Notice what sensations you feel in your body and where throughout the day. Before you can change the way you process energy, you must become aware of your own body.
To scan your energy system, start with your feet and work your way through your body. Scanning your energy system at each centre is called emotional awareness.
DAYS 2, 6 AND 10
Becoming more conscious of mental input
Every choice you make creates an experience for you and for others. Start to police your mental processes.How much of your day is filled with self-judgment or criticism? You can change this by making daily affirmations: “Today I will allow myself to release all negative thoughts”, or “Today I will allow myself to release all self-judgment and self-criticism”.
Feel how this affects your body. Put intention behind these words. This experience can be a little tiring because it may be the first time you have come out of unconscious thinking into conscious thinking. It is healthy to keep a diary of your thoughts – you will be surprised at how your thought processes affect your day.
DAYS 3, 7 AND 11
Exploring the multisensory self
Thoughts and emotions come as a package. When you become aware of both, you will notice that some sensations in the body occur with particular thoughts.
Be aware of your thoughts and emotions in relation to how your body feels. Pay attention to your intuition. Compare your emotional state in different environments.
Take note of how you feel in your body in relation to your thoughts and be cognisant of how your environment plays a part in it.
DAYS 4, 8 AND 12
Intention is about your will to do something. It’s the difference between having a vision and bringing it to the world. Choice is the power to make a difference in your life. Choosing your thoughts and how you process your feelings is up to. Choice is also the application of your will to experience.
People need to take responsibility for their health and to start living consciously. Everyone can reclaim this power by choosing their thoughts.
An intention is also about the quality of consciousness that you bring to an action. How you choose to live this day is an experiment. You could choose to be kinder and friendlier to the people you encounter during the day. Then notice how you feel and what affects you. Take time to observe what is happening in your life.
Contact Cathy Darnell on email@example.com