The information shared herein is a general detox guide based on a seasonal 5 element approach to wellbeing and should be implemented as part of a holistic care plan. Please consult a healthcare professional before embarking on a detox.
When is the best time to detox?
Equinoxes & solstices are viewed as key transition times in Nature which evoke natural cleanse. By following the energy of a season it is easier for the body to release congestion as routes of elimination are naturally accessible.
Most detoxes are initiated at the beginning of the year in one of the coldest and darkest months, January, persuaded by commercial marketing. Before February begins, we are either feeling deplete or are too sick to carry on. Why? Well the cellular matrix and physiology shifts with the Natural cycles. Winter being a time for introspection and respite, it is time to conserve energy and fuel the body, not a time to starve or start a detox in the cold months. When we learn to move with the rhythms of Nature, goals and intentions are far easier to achieve, rather than moving against the grain.
Who can benefit from a detox?
Anyone can benefit from a detox, especially those prone to congestion, acidic type (or excess type) problems such as allergies, any ‘itis, constipation, colds, flu, mucus conditions, musculoskeletal aches & pains, headaches and inflammatory conditions, high cholesterol and some skin problems. A detox can offer the body a a vacation, and help restore vitality and energy levels.
Detoxes are not recommended in the following circumstances; suffering with fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, anaemia or mineral deficiency, hypothyroidism or adrenal issues, low blood pressure, malnourishment or underweight, cancer or medical conditions. ALWAYS CONSULT A MEDICAL DOCTOR BEFORE EMBARKING ON A DETOX.
Dietary change acts as a catalyst for internal cellular cleanse, there is a predictable pattern in which toxicity flows from the deep intracellular layers out towards the routes of elimination, Often individuals are not aware of the classical signs and symptoms caused along these pathways which if not managed properly can cause a healing crises, sometimes 3-4months after the detox! Personally, I have practiced seasonal detoxes since my naturopathic studies in1999, and advocate a holistic approach, beginning with preparing the body-mind-emotions at least 3 weeks before the Spring Equinox, including guidance on how to manage the movement of toxicity out of the body. For example, toxicity entering the the blood stream will signal cravings, when it shifts into the lymphatic system we experience inflammation or an acute healing crises. What techniques can we use to support the body in this process? How much time do we need? and how do we manage our energy stores post-detox?
The danger of mismanaging a detox is auto intoxication, which draws the toxicity deeper into the body which may manifest much later as a chronic condition. Read more….
The most important factor for a successful detox is to create time for the cleanse:
- Clear your diary for a weekend or a week so that you can have a vacation with yourself, and you’re not disturbed. Stressors can have a negative impact on your detox.
- Define what a cleanse means for you – analyse your lifestyle habits and decide what ‘detox’ will best suit you at this moment. It’s counter productive starting a liver cleanse or fasting ritual if you have hectic work – life schedule.
A cleanse can simply mean eating less processed food and reducing alcohol intake for a period of time. This itself will be enough to decongest the body leaving you feeling energised. Others may feel switching to a plant based diet will give them the clarity and energetic outcomes they seek. For those already on a plant based diet, you may want to explore a liver cleanse as Spring equinox approaches.
I recommend the following as general guidance
- Gradually reduce processed food and stimulants over a 2-3 week period leading up to the Spring Equinox. The diet should consist of whole grains (short grain brown rice or millet) seasonal vegetables, and plant based proteins such as lentils, beans and pulses. Fish & egg are acceptable. Avoid acid forming foods (sugar, salt, flour, animal proteins, nuts, seeds, refined products), congesting and mucus forming foods (dairy), stimulants (caffeine, nicotine, drugs & alcohol). Grains play an essential role in detoxing and should be included as part of a holistic cleanse.
- ‘SMELL THE COFFEE & DRINK WHEATGRASS’! A great tip on weaning off coffee is to replace it with dandelion or chicory which aids detox and supports the Earth element. In most cases it’s not the taste of coffee, but the smell that evokes the state of relaxation .
- Grow organic wheatgrass in small pots – these will sprout within 7-10 days ready to aid detox and post-detox recovery.
- Use Naturopathic techniques such as Neti, Skin brushing, Castor oil packing, Epsom salt baths, hot steam rooms, spa or exercise to open routes of elimination, this will really help the body-mind to process the movement of toxicity.
- The three days leading up to a Spring Equinox, skin brush daily beginning from the feet up towards the heart. Apply castor oil packs or massages to the abdomen, liver and lower back (include any area’s of congestion)
- Introduce juices in the morning. ALWAYS USE ORGANIC! I usually use pear as my juice base, the energetic properties of which nourish the Earth element and supports elimination (Metal element) apples can be too acidic. Add ginger, beet, organic greens, celery, carrots, fennel and avocado. Avoid nuts and seeds as these are acidic and can be congesting especially during a detox. The body will respond very quickly at this time of year to any dietary changes you make. If you have been looking to lose weight, now’s your time to reach that desired look and shape!
The Liver Cleanse – Add the juice of 1 lemon, 2 teaspoons maple syrup, cayenne pepper, to 1 litre of water (room temperature). Drink throughout the day up to 3 days, do what feels right for you and your energy levels – it is important to keep routes of elimination open (include 1 tablespoon of olive oil or flax oil to the mixture to support the body in this process). Remember, you feel worse before things get better – IF AT ANYTIME YOU FEEL UNWELL, SIGNS OF LOW BLOOD PRESSURE OR YOU ARE LOSING FLUIDS RAPIDLY, PLEASE CONSULT A MEDICAL DOCTOR!
Management of toxicity
Introduce detox tea’s or herbs such as dandelion, nettle to support the liver, these provide rich source of magnesium to support the intercellular ATP process.
- Liquorice root to help move congestion and ‘dampness’.
- Senna leaf acts as a laxative and can aid bowel movement if there is congestion.
- Skin cleansers include elder flower, cayenne pepper and ginger root; natural diuretics are parsley, yarrow and juniper berries.
- Natural Antibiotics include garlic, turmeric, clove and eucalyptus.
- Green tea
- Herbs such as sage, hyssop, echinacea and garlic may help move mucus.
- Naturopathic techniques support organs of elimination. Include daily skin brushing, Neti for sinus congestion, castor oil packing or massages. After applying castor oil, sit in an Epsom salt bath for 20 mins. Or steam room. Repeat every evening 3-5 days post detox. Introduce enema’s if necessary (contact 2020 holistic health for details).
- Exercise or movement is an essential step during a detox. Spring time life moves in spirals, therefore it is effective to introduce twists and gentle fluid hip movements to support the organs of elimination. Avoid excessive or yang style exercise regime during a detox as this will deplete energy resources required for healing the body. Opt for vinyasa or hatha yoga, meditation-walking qigong, and practice pranayama.
- Post detox is probably the most difficult part of the journey – trying to keep the equilibrium whilst returning to your daily chores. The trick is to stay focused and have a routine. Avoid stress as this will be counterproductive for the detox!
- After the liver cleanse, begin by introducing a soup (lentil and rice congee recipe) – GRAINS play an essential role in ‘mopping’ up toxicity from the body and moving it through the elimination routes. Include the five flavours using whole food which will energetically nourish the corresponding emotion and organ system.
- Wash and Soak 1/2 cup short grain brown rice over night with 1 cup brown or green lentils
- Wash thoroughly next day and place on gas to boil.
- Add fresh ginger, cumin seeds, fresh fennel, turmeric, black pepper and organic vegetable stock to the mixture and simmer for an hour to 90 minutes until the lentils and rice are cooked well.
Before eating, add a spoonful of oil such as flax or coconut with lecithin (emulsifies fats and makes them useful)
This basic recipe is a brilliant source of nourishment and revival for a body post-detox. Throughout the week, use this as your soup base or juice base and introduce root veg, greens to the recipe. This will provide energy and aid your post –detox recovery.
- Introduce wheatgrass shots once to twice a day – rich source of magnesium essential for ATP (the bodies energy source), also excellent mineral for nervous system, immune system and muscular system. If you are prone to headaches or fatigue around
- Juicing can be introduced as the weather warms up. Always use organic when juicing. Pear or oat porridge is a great base rather than apples and oranges which can be quite acidic. Use seasonal fruit and veg where possible.
- Two meals during the day should consist of 70% fresh vegetables (mixture of cooked and raw depending on constitution and season). Drink one vegetable juice a day. Seasonal choice of fruit . Avoid Citrus*
- Proteins such as oily fish twice a week. vegetarians and vegans will benefit from or flax tea and oil daily. Soak nuts and seeds before consuming, this reduces the acidic nature and makes them easier to digest.
- Grains should consist of short grain brown rice, black rice, maize, millet. Carbohydrate sources such as Sweet potato, quinoa, maize and cassava.
- For further information or advice regarding detox, weekend retreats or healthy lifestyle seasonal breaks contact Gee.
Wishing you a healthy and happy Spring Detox!
Learn more about 2020 Holistic Health seasonal approach to wellbeing, Gee’s seasonally inspired healthy living kitchen, or to book a bespoke 2020 consultation click here.