Have you been feeling more sluggish and tired lately. Your energy level just is not what it used to be. After you eat, all you want to do is take a nap. And even your thinking is not as clear and sharp as you do like.
Even though you may be careful of what you put in your body, it's inevitable in our society that you'll be exposed to some external pollutants. According to Ayurveda, your digestive fire has to digest everything that you're exposed to: all of the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and exposures through the skin. It also has to digest all the emotions and thoughts that arise from everything that you're exposed to. This is a tall order, and most of us experience some toxic build-up that leads to blocked channels in the body and imbalances in our health.
Physical signs that these toxins have built up include decreased energy; a heavy coating on the tongue; foul body, breath, and stool odor; indigestion and excessive flatulence; body aches; foggy thinking; and sleepiness after eating. It's always best to get checked out by your doctor to make sure these signs are not related to a diagnose illness.
An Ayurvedic cleanse focuses on resetting that digestive fire, allowing it to rest and strengthen. The detoxifying nature also supports the body’s own natural mechanisms to remove built up toxins from the body. It’s a bit like cleaning out the pipes when the drain gets clogged, or hopefully even before the drain gets clogged. While a full cleanse (called panchakarma) should be done under the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner.
A one-week food-based home cleanse can be summed up in the following 5 easy steps:
1. Start a kitchdi diet.
Kitchdi is an easy-to-make and easy-to-digest complete meal, made with rice, yellow mung dal, spices, clarified butter and vegetables. For one week, eat this for all of your meals, and you will see the cleansing and simultaneously nourishing effect that it has on your body.
2. Avoid snacks.
This is the best way to reset your digestion, remove toxins, and even lose weight! But you don’t need to starve yourself. If you're hungry, have warm, cooked foods that use the same ingredients as kitchari: rice porridge, steamed or stir-fried veggies, etc. Just remember that your digestion will work best if you give it at least five to six hours between meals.
3. Sip hot water and detox tea in the morning and throughout the day.
This also helps reset the digestion and cleanse toxins. Staying well hydrated is key. If needed, also drink room temperature water to ensure you get plenty of fluids. Be sure to avoid ice, cold drinks and caffeine.
4. Do a daily self-massage with warm oil.
You’ll find this is a great way to treat yourself and relax. In an Ayurvedic cleanse, a self message serves to facilitate the removal of built-up toxins so they can be eliminated as waste. The warm oil also calms and rejuvenates the nervous system.
5. Take 2 tablets of Triphala (or ½ teaspoon of powdered Triphala) at bedtime.
This herbal remedy promotes rejuvenation of the tissues while also supporting healthy bowel movements.
Once you have finished the cleanse, take a few days to reintroduce other elements of your normal diet back into the picture, waiting a few extra days to add heavier foods like dairy and meat. If there are other habits that you know aren’t serving your health, now is a great time to let them go. And if you found portions of the cleanse beneficial, like the self–massage or Triphala, feel free to incorporate them into your long-term daily routine.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t reap all the positive benefits of detoxing your body, mind, and spirit. Here are my top eight tips to detox, free of fasting, juicing or restricting.
Consume whole foods as close to their natural state as possible.
Detoxify the body doesn't have to mean a crazy restrictive diet. By choosing whole foods, your body will be able to digest and metabolize them with ease, leaving more time for natural detoxifying to take place. Think fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season, organic free-range chicken or turkey, wild-caught fish, cage-free and organic eggs, naturally gluten-free whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.
Eliminate trigger foods such as caffeine, sugar and gluten.
Foods like these can wreak havoc on your digestive system, zap your body of energy, and become addictive over time. By easing up on these choices, your body will naturally improve digestion and energy levels, and will learn to crave natural whole foods instead.
Drink up pure filtered water, green tea and hot lemon water first thing in the morning. Staying hydrated can help cleanse your body of toxins, boost metabolism, clean up your skin, and do so much more. Hot lemon water can help to release toxins as well as bacteria from your skin.
Sleep well and often.
Getting enough sleep — and getting enough quality sleep — is crucial to a healthy body. Detox baths with Epsom salt and lavender can improve quality sleep and help you stay asleep. Turning off technology and using earplugs and eye masks can also aid proper sleep.
Practice slow eating and eating without distractions.
Eating slowly and without distractions will give your body time to register that you're eating, will prepare you for proper digestion, and will allow your body to hone its natural hunger cues. This will teach you to eat what your body needs, and to stop when you're full. Put the fork down between bites, savor your food, and limit distractions when you're eating.
Move your body in ways that are restorative.
Be sure to move your body daily. This doesn't always mean an intense workout. Sometimes your body will crave relaxing movement, such as a walk, jog, hike, yoga, or a dance class. By moving in such ways, you're able to release tension and improve recovery and repair of your body.
When you're stressed, your body kicks in with a fight-or-flight response. This means that any crucial actions within your body are halted as you fight your stress. This leaves little time for detoxing, cleansing, digesting, or pretty much anything other than combating the stress of the moment. Practice activities to diminish stress, whether it's yoga, meditation, or watching a funny movie; whatever works best to manage your stress.
Eat three square meals a day and minimize snacking.
When your body is constantly metabolizing food, you leave little time to do anything else, including detoxifying, cleansing, and repairing. By eating three meals a day without snacking in between, you allow yourself time to fully digest your food. Plus you leave time to detox and heal your body.
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