DETOX!! Detoxes have a bad reputation because most of them leave you hungry,tired, craving for food or just plain boring and useless, only to realize they are unbalanced and that it was only temporary and it did nothing to your body after.
Let me tell you Ayurvedic Panchakarma is different.I was a non believer just like you, I absolutely love food and loathe the process of detoxing, but when I saw my health improve, helped me keep sugar cravings off and helped me manage my weight and above all -improved my energy and vitality,I was sold.This is not your GM diet, liver flush and any other crap detoxes that have been promoted.This ayurvedic practice existed from centuries ago where people actually cleansed their bodies every year or twice a year to maintain their vitality and unfortunately this practice is becoming one of the long lost traditions of ancient India.
I gained weight when I first moved to US due to the stress and sudden access to all the sugar and sweet stuff.Then I worked out and lost all the weight but in a rather unhealthy way going on very low calories and very long workouts.Then came an influx of anemia and hormonal issues, then I started eating healthy and working out with a trainer, the trainers diet was very high in protein about 160-170 grams per day which I met by eating too much non vegetarian food and protein shakes which got me into a protein indigestion condition, acid reflux, gas, bloating, flatulence, constipation which no doctor could diagnose. They only recommended enzymes, but did you know enzymes can cause dependency and make your stomach completely lose its digestive ability?Following a routine of this panchakarma for 2 weeks in fall and spring made me improve my digestion and I am able to digest non vegetarian food again.
Traditional Panchakarma requires a lot of herbs and oils and procedures to do it, but living in the US we always dont have a lot of resources and cant do the elaborate procedures so I started doing the modified version which may not be as beneficial as getting it at an ayurvedic centre but something better than nothing right.
I do this cleanse in spring and fall of each year just about the season change time.I got the information, herbs and procedure for my body type from my uncle who practices ayurveda, but to help you, you can read about it in the Lifespa articles – http://lifespa.com/cleansing/colorado-cleanse/ , you can order the book and do it at home. Although I dont do it for weight loss, it has become a byproduct of the cleanse, I lose around 5-7 pounds every time I do it and no I havent gained it back.
Please note, Im posting this for guidance sake only, this is not medical advise,do not do it without knowing your body type and determining the herbs required for your body type.The above mentioned book of colorado cleanse has the details to understand your body type.Do not abuse the cleanse by doing it very frequently for weight loss because it does backfire and your body will feel the effects of nutritional deficiencies etc.This should not be done during menstruation, pregnancy or post partum or if you are suffering with any medical conditions.I am not propagating Lifespa or its products, Im only sharing my experience because I find them convenient to use for those who do not have access to herbs from India.
What do we need?
We start by determining our body type.MY herbs come from India but for someone without access to them you can go by the Colorado cleanse book so based on the body type, the herbs contain Cool digest,gentle digest or warm digest capsules, Tripahala,Sugar Destroyer, Beet Cleanse, Liver Repair, Turmeric Plus, Manjistha, Regenerate
You can order them here if you like http://store.lifespa.com/anytime_colorado_cleanse_herbs_only.html
We need hulled moong beans, white rice, cumin powder, coriander powder, blackpepper powder etc(see recipe below)
Set aside 14 days where you can take it easy without a lot of physical stress.
Day 1-4 Pre Cleanse
Eat a diet rich in fiber.Eats lots of beetroot, apple, cilantro etc,avoid nuts, gluten,soy, dairy, oils and sugars completely.NO TEA OR COFFEE or ALCOHOL EITHER.A typical diet to suit this need has been posted on my previous post.
Day5-11 Main Cleanse
As soon as you finish your nature calls and brush,before drinking your water.
day 1 take 1 teaspoon of warm cow ghee
day 2 take 2 teaspoons of warm cow ghee
day 3: 3 teaspoons
day 4: 4 teaspoons
day 5: 5 teaspoons
day 6: 6 teaspoons
by day 7 you will have had 7 teaspoons of cow ghee
No you will not become fat from all that cow ghee, this process is called oleation an ancient ayurvedic practice, by eating a non fat diet through the day and by consuming ghee, the ghee loosens the toxins from the body and forces fat and toxins out of the cells.If you feel nausea due to the ghee, remain at the dosage you are comfortable through out the main cleanse. give 30 minutes 1 hour gap after consuming ghee to have water and then eat your kitchadi.
Eat a mono diet of Kitchadi(recipe posted below) for breakfast , lunch and dinner for all 7 days. No snacking, no tea or coffee.No processed food. If you feel hungry in between eat steamed carrots and green beans or fruits.But to get the maximum benefit eat just the kitchadi. You will need to be taking herbs before and after lunch as determined by your ayurvedic doctor or as directed in the above recommended book.Herbs are essential from keeping the toxins from reabsorbing into the body and help purging them out and make it easy on your digestion, do not skip them.
Try to eat at the same time every day.We normally dont feel very hungry during this cleanse but if you do, just increase the quantity of kitchadi you are eating.According to ayurveda breakfast and dinner have to be the lightest meals of the day and lunch the heaviest( as opposed to the western science of breakfast being the largest)- why? because the digestive fire or agni is the highest during lunch.
On the night of Day 11, gulp down 1 -2 tablespoon of castor oil, do not go out after you do this, you will need the restroom soon which is where the toxins purge out. You can suck on an orange wedge after the gulp to help you with the aftertaste.
Day 12-14 Post Cleanse
Slowly add in fruits and veggies into your diet, still avoiding night shades and onion garlic and tea coffee alchohol etc.Unprocessed fresh cooked clean food.
Basic Kitchadi Recipe
½ cup yellow moong beans
½ cup white rice
¼ teaspoons mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon coriander powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
pinch of asefoetida powder
½ inch fresh ginger root minced
3 cups of water
Himalayan pink salt to taste( due to its mineral rich qualities)
1 cup of vegetables of your choice.(This is optional-I use carrots and green beans only If I do,as they dont disrupt the cleanse).
Do not use garlic or onion while recovering from sickness as they generate heat in the body.Avoid nightshades.No red chilies or other spices.
The spices used in the kichadi are digestive and carminative in nature to help improve digestion.
Why cant we use other things in kitchadi: Each food has a property associated with it,for example beans increase vata in a body , the process of the cleanse is meant to balance out our vata, pitta , kapha in the body and eating a food that will aid us in doing that is advised during the cleanse, you may notice the use of carrots a lot in ayurvedic cooking- heres a good read on why http://www.geocities.ws/ayurveda_adviser/ayurveda_carrot.html
Wash the moong bean and rice until the water runs clear.
Dry saute the spices and add the rice and moong bean and water, adjust salt and pepper and let cook until its soft. We have to add little extra water than we do for pilaf as it has to be a soft grits consistency.
Daily routine during the entire cleanse:
1.After your nature calls and brushing your teeth, Drink 2-4 cups of water,
2.Do 10 minutes of Pranayam.
Some articles on pranayam
3.Do 1-5 sets of suryanamaskar.
4. Brush your skin with a skin brush towards your heart, this encourages the blood and lymph flow.
5.Apply sesame oil all over your body, the direction of massage should be towards your heart.
6.Take a warm shower.
7.Do not sleep during the day time
8.Do not exert excess pressure on your body.That means no running, no gym, no marathon.This will not let your body detox well and you will end up getting weak.You can do a 30 minute walk or bike ride ,take it easy, the motive is to let your body relax and rejuvenate both physically and mentally.
9.Sleep by 10PM and wake up by 6AM.
10.Keep hydrated and do not eat processed food.
After the Cleanse:
Your digestion has just been reset to where it was when you were in your younger years,do not pollute it with excess processed food.Slowly get back to adding nuts, dairy, wheat etc to your diet.Try to stay off meat, alcohol and sugary drinks for another week after the cleanse.Build up your immunity with lots of probiotics, citrus fruits and carrots.
Did you know your immunity lies in your gut?Through this cleanse you are healing your gut and hence healing your immunity.Another fact Id like to add, did you know cow ghee contains butryric acid which is also produced by our gut bacteria and hence by consuming food with ghee can increase the absorption of nutrients from food? Read more on ghee .
You may say, Oh I need to meet my macros to help my muscle and fats etc, well its your call, theres a wide array of difference between the western diets and ayurveda, a few days wont hurt, human body has an amazing ability to repair and heal if you let it. By giving the digestion a rest through kitchadi you are helping your body do the healing.
Some fun facts,
I usually easily survive till day 4 of the main cleanse, day 5 onwards we start craving other food, now when I say craving its not craving cheesecake or candy or whatever, your body craves the nutrients it needs, for example it has been beetroots or oranges for me, where I am getting at with this is, the cleanse puts you in touch with your basic senses of hunger and natural food.
On the castor oil day, I had to run out to get groceries, oh well you fill in the rest of the details 🙂
I have to be honest to you, I actually do not like kitchadi,something about the texture is very unappealing to me, like I dont eat it on any other day except the 14 days in the year but I do it for the benefits 🙂
The whole world is turning to Ayurveda and other alternate medicine for health, because medicine is just not enough in todays polluted world, we are hearing cases of cancer, IBS , auto immune disorders, allergies left, right and center.Can we not spare 14 days in a year for our health to prevent these from an early age?
Ayurvedic detox is done in multiples of 7 days usually, if you can do it, 7 days of pre cleanse, 7 days of main and 7 days of post cleanse would be ideal, but if its your first time, try it for 4 days (main cleanse), eventually you can work it upto 7 days.Heres a free e book for a 4 day cleanse. Ayurveda is a slower and sure process, its a way of life, it takes time to heal, do not expect immediate results, remember we are treating the root cause of the issue and not just the symptom.We are ready to spend lakhs of rupees and thousands of dollars once a disease hits, why aren’t we able to give 14 days or 28 days in a year to keep the disease away?
Picture on the left is the wall mural at the Kottakal Arya Vaidya Sala, Kerala.
Let me know your thoughts on this, or if you have questions.If you have done this, do let me know how it has worked out for you.
More about finding your body type or dosha in the next post , stay tuned!