END of Winter Detoxing : Why it’s Important

February 1, 2017

The word “DETOX” has been lately misunderstood- it is not a weight loss diet nor is it a starvation program. It is very important to understand why we need to detox and what is actually a detox.

I will try to explain the importance of detoxing and the history behind detox.

This practice is not new, in Ayurveda detoxing was found to be one of the most important practice to staying healthy and vibrant.  A yearly detox called “Pancha Karma” is recommended in early spring.  Native Americans as well have many different rituals for cleansing and purification by sweating practice.

 

Today, our bodies are working hard to process a large number of harmful inputs such as environmental toxins, processed foods, toxins from beauty and skincare products, lead, mercury, unresolved emotions, and psychological stress. In time the accumulation of these stressors will cause an overload to the system, deposit in our tissues and eventually lead to aggravation and disruption to our health. A periodic cleanse helps to clear these accumulations from the body.

 

Many celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow who has a detailed detox diet called the “Goop Detox” stresses the importance of detoxing to keep skin clear and reduce inflammation which is the root cause of many chronic diseases. Demi Moore and Beyonce as well is a big advocate of detox to keep your gut, blood, organs and lymph clean.

 

The benefits of detoxing are:

  • Improve digestion and metabolic function.

  • Promote regular and daily elimination.

  • improve energy level

  • improve sleep cycle 

  • Improve skin texture

 

Detox is not about starvation but about giving the body the opportunity to detox naturally by eliminating the toxins which we accumulate. 

 

There are many ways to detox:

 

  1. Nasal irrigation: know as ‘JALA NETI” this ancient Ayurvedic practice is gaining importance, according to Harvard Health, says in some research nasal irrigation has bhas shown to lower the material concentrations in the nasal passages and to ease symptoms of sin infections.

 

  1. Detox diet: Ayurveda suggest a very simple diet mainly for 15 days or periodic 3 day cleanse That is not a fasting diet but a monodiet consisting mainly of “Kitchari” see recipes below and cooked fruits and vegetables. 

 

  • You can eat as much as you desire but don’t overeat. Eat “Kitchari” for breakfast, lunch and dinner but if you get bored of it just add some steamed vegetables, spices ( ginger, turmeric, fennel, fenugreek), raw nuts.

  • You can eat fruits but preferably cooked or steamed.

  • It is best to avoid snacking and try not to eat after 7 pm to allow the body to detoxify for 12 hours during the night.

  • Drink at least 10–12 cups of room temperature or warm water, or ginger tea each day to ensure adequate hydration and to help flush toxins from the system.

 

 

Here is a great recipe of Kitachari from Kripalu Centre

Basic Kitchari Recipe

 

2 cups yellow mung dal beans

1 cup white basmati rice

2 tablespoons ghee or organic sesame oil

2 teaspoons each black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, and black pepper

1 teaspoon each cumin powder, coriander powder, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds (cinnamon optional in winter)

3 green cardamom pods

2 cloves

2 bay leaves

2–5 cups of chopped, organic, seasonal vegetables such as spinach, carrots, celery, kale, and bok choy (avoid nightshades)

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

 

Rinse the mung dal beans and strain them five times, or until the water runs clear. Heat the ghee or oil in a large pot. Add all the seeds and toast until the mustard seeds pop. Add the bay leaves and powdered spices, and mix together.  Stir in the rice and beans. Add 8 cups of water, cloves, bay leaves, cardamom pods, and chopped vegetables. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook at least one hour, until the beans and rice are soft and the kitchari has a porridge-like consistency. Serve warm with fresh cilantro on top, if desired.

 

Variations

 

 For Kapha types: 

Omit the oil or ghee and instead soften the spices by cooking in two inches of water before adding the rice and dal.

Use quinoa, millet, or amaranth instead of rice.

Add about ½ inch of chopped, fresh ginger to the oil when cooking the spices.

Add a pinch of cayenne pepper while cooking.

Use half the amount of ghee or oil.

Best veggies for a kapha variation are leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, asparagus, and celery.

 

For Pitta types:

Use half the amount of mustard seeds and black pepper, or omit mustard seeds altogether.

Replace ghee with coconut oil.

Best veggies for a pitta variation are leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, and carrots.

 

For Vata types:

Use twice the amount of ghee or oil.

Add a pinch of cayenne pepper while cooking.

Add about ½ inch of chopped, fresh ginger to the oil when cooking the spices.

Use quinoa instead of rice to increase the protein content.

Use double the amount of rice.

Best veggies for a vata variation are carrots, zucchini, peas, sweet potatoes, and asparagus.

 

For Vegans:

Use oil rather than ghee.

 

Hope you enjoy and feel great after this detox

Namaste!

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