At one point or another, we have all needed a ‘detox’—whether it’s a physical detox after years of junk food and alcohol intake, or a full lifestyle detox to rid ourselves of the unnecessary weights that pull us down. We’ve all experienced living a ‘toxic’ lifestyle, in varying degrees. We may have hung out with people who turned out to be fair weather friends, trudged on doing a job we didn’t really like, stuck it out in a bad relationship, acted like a sloth, indulged in too much booze and partying, unhealthy eating, and zero exercise—basically getting caught up doing all the wrong things. Suddenly you wake up and feel decades older than you actually are, or you walk around feeling like there’s a gaping hole of emptiness in your heart, or it’s only 8am but you’re already feeling weary just thinking of the day ahead. In fact, even smiling feels like a gargantuan effort. There are physical manifestations too, like your skin acting up, your hair being limp, having dark circles around your eyes, or looking generally sallow. Yup, times like these you need a good purge and a fresh start. Here are some tips for detoxifying your body (and life)!
- Do the Master Cleanse. This works like a charm. A glass of warm water, a little lemon juice, a little maple syrup, a dash of cayenne pepper and bam! Your perfect juice fast/cleansing formula. Take anywhere between 6-12 glasses of this juice throughout the day and a laxative in the evening to purge out all the toxins lurking in your body. But you can’t just do this out of the blue. Prior to this you need 3 days of eliminating processed foods from your diet and training yourself to drink plenty of water before you can do the Master Cleanse. Then afterwards, you also need 3 more days to slowly bring back complex foods into your system. Make sure you read up on this and follow the process properly or you might end up starving yourself. http://themastercleanse.org/
- Juicing/fruity water. Aside from the Master Cleanse, juicing is quickly becoming all the rage for health enthusiasts. There are lots of outlets where you can buy bottled juices (of fruits and vegetable mixtures) which you can consume for a 1-day or 3 day juice fast. I’ve never had the willpower to do this myself, but I hear that it does wonders for cleansing the body of nasty buildup and also boosts your energy. Other than juicing, people are also trying out steeping slices of fruits like lemons and cucumbers in jars of water as it also helps flush fat away and give you the anti-oxidants that you need.
- Colon Cleanse kit/colonic. If you want a more dramatic form of detox, a colon cleanse kit may also work for you. You need to prep for a few days as well by eliminating food slowly from your diet, then taking a flavoured colon cleanse shake every few hours for 2 or 3 days, and the ‘results’ after that simply speaks for itself. A colonic, however, involves a medically supervised procedure wherein water is pumped into the colon, loosening up any debris in your large intestine, and gets expelled out of your system. This procedure is a little bit risky though as it can damage the colon if done improperly, and can cause electrolyte imbalance. You would be better off doing a juice fast instead.
- Oil pulling. This simple process gained lots of attention recently when Gwyneth Paltrow mentioned in her Goop site that she does oil pulling every day. Here’s the deal—you wake up in the morning, and before doing anything (drinking water, brushing teeth, eating breakfast), you are supposed to take 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil and swish it in your mouth for 20 minutes. So while you’re in the shower, or picking out your clothes for the day, just keep swishing the oil around your mouth and by the time you spit it out, it should have already taken with it all the toxins and impurities your body manufactures as it heals itself when you sleep each night. It supposedly also helps in clearing out your skin and whitening your teeth. What have you got to lose, yes?
- Use a sauna. This feels really good—a high impact workout followed by sitting in the sauna for a few minutes to sweat the toxins away. Make sure you are hydrated well and are not prone to fainting in hot places before doing this! And don’t be embarrassed to ask for help if you feel the least bit dizzy or you’re not sure what to do. After the trip to the sauna and a nice cold shower, you can curl up in bed feeling absolutely great. Guaranteed!
- Get a massage. Getting a regular (once a week) massage also has ‘detox’ benefits, because it stimulates blood circulation. Lots of people are fans of the ventosa process where a heated glass cup is used as a suction device all over your back, removing ‘cold air’ from inside your body which causes muscle pains. Some prefer the hot stone treatment in smoothing out your kinks. And almost 100% of the time, you feel calmer and lighter after a good massage, literally feeling your exhaustion and your cares melting away.
- Practice yoga and meditation. Oh, the joy of yoga. I never thought I would enjoy it, but I did, and I still do. It clears your head of issues you don’t really need to dwell on, uplifts your body, and gives you a sense of peace no matter how chaotic life might be. At least, for that 1.5 hours, all you have to focus on is yourself and your yoga practice. Now if yoga is just not your thing, maybe meditation can work. Just learn to quiet down your swirling thoughts and other troubles, be still, and regain your sense of calm. If you practice this regularly, you will learn to naturally filter out distractions that you don’t need in your life.
- Do what makes you happy. Ah, easier said than done. What if your dream job is completely not aligned to the education and training you’ve received, to the expectations of your parents, spouse or friends? What if it pays little and you’re not certain your bright idea can actually work? It’s so much easier to stay in your comfort zone, working at a predictable, somewhat less fulfilling job, and receive a bi-monthly paycheck plus medical benefits for yourself and your family. Well, all I can say to that is—no risk, no return. If you don’t do anything different, don’t expect to gain anything different. You may be comfortable where you are, but you will never be able to realize your true potential, and that will slowly and painfully eat into your spirit until all that’s left of you is a soul-less, empty shell. Live your life the way you want to, the way you dream it to be. It’s not anyone’s responsibility to make you happy, it’s your own. Now dance with me—
- Stop caring about what other people say. Being so concerned and affected about what other people think or say about you is the best formula to make yourself miserable. People will always have something to say, even if you kill them with kindness. Why concern yourself with the issues of small minds who are most likely just jealous and bitter? All you need to think about is how to be a better, kinder person, and how to pursue your own happiness. Everything else is just noise.
- Getting rid of toxic people and thoughts. The art of walking away from all the negativity surrounding you is difficult to learn. I don’t know why so many of us harbour a ‘savior’ complex where you think you’re the only one that can change or help a person and you stick through it all even if you’re being treated badly and not given the love and respect you deserve. It just doesn’t work that way…a person changes because he wants to, because he needs to. And he has to do it on his own, not because of someone’s prodding, begging or whining. So if you have people wearing you down—whether it’s friends who don’t give you the trust and truthfulness you deserve, bad relationships that suck out your energy and self esteem, or situations and thoughts that simply aren’t helping you become a better person—cut loose and walk away. Chart a different path for yourself. It may be difficult but you are so much better off in the long run.
So that’s my roundup for ‘Clean’ living in every sense of the word! Cheers to freedom and all things bright and beautiful!