Detoxify body and mind in Springtime with yoga to support you
This springtime 2013 we at AdventureYogi ran our first intensive 5 night springtime detox and yoga retreat. It was 5 days long, starting on the Friday and finishing on the Wednesday and our yoga teacher Tammy Mittell began a month long detox just prior and during the Easter detox retreat and she has written about her experience for you all to read and feel support if you decide to take on this challenge!
Our raw food and detox expert Eloise Minton lead the detox yoga retreat with her wealth of knowledge in this area and delicious culinary skills, the pictures you see are all her own creation so thank you Eloise for your passion and sharing of knowledge.
Tammy’s 1 month challenge detox experience
The Spring equinox this year fell on March 20th and here in the UK it was recorded as the coldest March in 50 years. Dark gloomy days, random snow blizzards, bitter cold frosts… anyone would have thought that we were heading right back around towards winter!
With such testing climate conditions, one would be forgiven for not feeling the tenacity to have yet embarked upon a ‘spring detox’. Actually I reckon it was wise to have conserved your energies and postponed any detoxing thus far. It was just way too cold for such austerities!
I practice and teach Flow Yoga. This way of yoga is not just about fluidly linking your breath and movement in class but moreover it’s about how you flow in your life, with life. It’s about applying your energies optimally by cultivating an awareness of, and a respect for, the natural ebb and flow of all things. It’s about aligning oneself harmoniously with this ebb and flow. Otherwise the alternative is swimming against the current of life, which creates struggle, disunity and disharmony.
SO now that FINALLY the weather has cheered up and it actually feels more like spring, NOW is a great time to start your detox. AND 10th April is a New Moon, and it’s always auspicious to start new projects on a new moon.
As we all know, Spring is the time in the lifecycle when nature renews herself and creates life in the plant and animal kingdoms. It is the time to awaken, renew and blossom. Therefore traditionally across cultures it is considered as a good time in the year to align with nature and shed that which is no longer needed.
5 Reasons to Spring Clean
- A chance to clean out and de-clutter our lives.
- Get perspective and reflect upon your needs and what is holding you back.
- Shift out any toxins whether they are physical, mental or emotional.
- Release negative habits, attitudes, thoughts and behaviour patterns.
- Create the space in your life for more of what you need and love.
So what is a Detox?
The concept of detoxification is an age old practice across cultures and traditions. The body stores toxins and foreign substances in our fatty deposits. The accumulation of toxins in the body affects our ability to absorb nutrients from food which in turn, adversely affects our various bodily systems.
Toxins are an inevitable part of life and the human body has the natural mechanism to detoxify itself. However, it is sometimes helpful to give the system a helping hand, especially because we are living in an environment with an increased presence of toxins and carcinogens. Involuntarily, we are exposed to toxins on a daily basis through pollution from industrial waste and industrial chemicals, pesticides, electromagnetic radiation and also food additives. Also lifestyle choices expose us to toxins for example, poor diet, smoking, alcohol, caffeine, drugs, etc. In addition, our bodily system can be put under stress due to circumstances that lead to illness and disease, fatigue or emotional factors such as stress, anxiety or depression.
Any of the below ailments may suggest an accumulation of toxins:
Always feeling tired, low energy, exhaustion, PMS, Digestive disorders, Constipation, Excess Weight, Excess Mucus, Insomnia, Depression, Stress, Brittle Nails, Bad breath, Allergies, Joint Pains, Headaches, Skin Problems, Poor Memory, Low sex drive, Poor immune function; i.e. frequent colds/flu/coldsores, Candida a.k.a thrush, Bloating, Irritable, thinning hair, acne.
Therefore, undertaking a detox can help rid the body of toxins or the effects of such in order to strengthen the immune system and purify the blood. This can lead to better nutrient absorption and health benefits.
Benefits of a Detox
- Abundance of more sustained energy throughout the day
- Better Sleep
- Easier waking up
- More cheerful mood
- Clearer head
- Clearer Skin
- Higher sex drive
- Lighter feeling in the gut
- Faster Digestion
- Weight loss
- Increased willpower
- Deeper understanding of your relationship with your body, food and hunger
- Increased sense of taste
- Stronger immune system
- Faster metabolism
- Less sugar cravings
- Reduced appetite
PLEASE NOTE: I AM NOT A NUTRITIONIST, AND THE BELOW RECOMMENDATIONS COME ONLY FROM MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AS A YOGA PRACTITIONER AND CONSCIOUS EATER. THESE TIPS ARE NOT NECESSARILY SUITABLE FOR EVERYONE. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR OR PHYSICIAN BEFORE ATTEMPTING ANY KIND OF CHANGE TO YOUR DIET
Normally I’m vegetarian but this detox is vegan. Personally, I found having a break from dairy very beneficial but I must stress that it is very important that you ensure you do get all of the nutrients that you need daily.
I found that doing a detox requires much time and financial investment. I’ve done the detox for a month already and so here have done some of the groundwork to make it easier for you to now try!
- A vegan yogic diet
- Avoiding toxins in your diet
- Make sure you eat an abundance of the sources of the necessary nutrients
- Daily dry skin brushing
- Regular Epsom Salt Baths
- In addition to dental brushing, mouthwash and flossing teeth daily
- Daily Exercise
- Keeping a journal
What you may need
- A blender
- A Juicer
- Skin brush
- Epsom Bath Salts
- Home Enema Kit
- Glass bottled mineral water
- Water Filter
The Avoid List
- Fish & Seafood
- Dairy or Eggs
- Caffeine (inc green tea!)
- Drugs of any kind
- Sugars (some fructose is OK)
- Fried Foods
- Saturated Fats
- Preservatives and Additives such as MSG
- Chilli or too much Garlic
- Soya derived processed products such as soya milk, soya margarine, Quorn, Linda Macarthy Sausages etc (the traditional eastern style is fine i.e tofu).
- Tinned produce
Essential Vitamins & Minerals from Vegan Sources
A detox is as much about getting an abundance of what you do need as it is about getting rid of toxins. If you starve the body of essential vitamins and minerals you gravely compromise your health. The below list below is not exhaustive but is indicative of where to start to find what you need:
|Zinc||Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, green leafy vegetables, pulses|
|Trace minerals||green leafy vegetables, wholegrains, dried fruit|
|Vitamin B (choline & inositol)||Wholegrains, sunflower seeds, raisins|
|Vitamin B1 (thiamine)||Brown rice, soybeans, sunflower seeds, Whole grains, pulses, potatoes|
|Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)||Mushrooms, whole grains, soybeans, peas, green leafy vegetables, pulses, avocado|
|Vitamin B3 (niacin)||Brown rice, almonds, mushrooms, wholegrains, peanuts|
|Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)||All plant tissue|
|Vitamin B6: (pyridoxine)||Soybeans, bananas, oranges, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, peanuts|
|Vitamin A||Dark green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, prunes, carrots, peppers|
|Vitamin C||All raw fruit and vegetables, particularly green peppers, strawberries, goji berries, rosehips, sprouted seeds and rocket|
|Vitamin D||15 mins Sunshine! Otherwise No vegan source but Vegetarian source from Solgar supplement in liquid form|
|Vitamin E||Soya Oil, peanuts, kale, parsley, peas, lettuce, wholegrains|
|Calcium||Parsley, carrots, green leafy vegetables, soybeans, nuts and seeds, pulses, chia seeds|
|Iron||Cacao, wholegrains, Dark green leafy vegetables, prunes, dates, parsley, beetroot|
|Omega Oils 3, 6, 9||Flaxseeds, Hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are also good sources of ALA. Brazil nuts, wheat germ, wheat germ oil, soybean oil, grape seeds, pistachios, olive oil, chestnut oil and olives, macadamia, almonds, sesame, cashew, pecan and hazelnuts.|
|Magnesium||Asparagus, beans, beetroot, broccoli, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds|
|Potassium||Bananas, coconut, coconut water, sweet potatoes, oranges, beetroot|
Each week choose a selection from the below categories, be experimental and mix it up a bit to get a broad variety of goodness
Throughout the month, choose from the below
|Beans||Aduki, black beans, soybeans, lentils, butter beans, kidney beans (avoid tins), chikpeas|
|Vegetables||Asparagus, Aubergine, Avocado, Beetroot, Butternut Squash, Broccoli, Bok Choy, Carrots, Cauliflower, Courgette, Green Peas, Onions, Parsley, Peppers, Squah, Tomatoe, Sweet Potato, Watercress|
|Leafy Greens||Beetroot greens, Kale, Rocket, Spinach, Swiss Chard|
|Sea Vegetables||Hijiki, Kelp, Nori, Kombu, Sea Palm, Wakama|
|Fruit||Apples, Blackberries, Blueberries, Bananas, Cherries, Grapes, Oranges, Kiwi, Mangoes, Nectarines, Papayas, Pear, Peaches , pomegranates, grapefruit, strawberries, tangerines|
|Dried Fruits||Cranberries, currants, dates, prunes, raisons, coconut|
|Nuts||Almonds, Brazil, Cashews, Walnuts, Pecans, Peanuts, Pistachios|
|Seeds||Flaxseeds, Chia, Pumpkin, Sunflower, Sesame|
|Grains||Amaranth, Barley, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Vermicelli Noodles, Soba Noodles, buckwheat noodles|
|Herbal Teas||Detox Tea, Skin Purifying tea, Digestion Tea, Camomile, Dandelion, Fennel, Ginger, Cinnamon, Apple, Liquorice, Raspberry, Rose hip, Peppermint, Mint,|
|Herbs & Spices||Ginger, Turmeric, Cumin, Cinnamon, Basil, Parsley, Coriander|
|Milks||Almond Milk, Oat Milk, Cococunt Milk|
|Oils||Flax Oil, Omega Oil Mix, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil – but not for cooking)|
|Other handy snack bits||Milled flaxseed, rice cakes, peanut or almond butter, tahini, apple cyder vinegarPackets organic miso soup, Barley Cup (caffeine free coffee alternative)Rye Bread,|
The detox is a great chance to introduce superfood boosters to your diet. Superfoods are Powerful nutrient dense foods.
Super Greens – Choose any from the below list; they have the best combination of easily digestible nutrients and fat burning compounds, digestive enzymes and aid with optimal digestion
|Wild blue/green Algae||
Other lush superfoods that I love and think are worth adding to the mix:
- Chia Seeds – Amazingly packed with minerals and great source of Omega 3, 6 & 9
- Goji berries – full of antioxidants and all -round goodness
- Pure Cacao – Good for the neurotransmitters in the brain – increases serotonin, the happy hormone!
- Maca – balances hormones and energy and libido booster
I AM NOT A NUTRITIONIST AND THESE ARE MY OPINIONS BASED ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCE SO PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR NUTRITIONIST OR DOCTOR BEFORE TRYING THESE SUPPLEMENTS:
Supplements that I found supported the detoxification process
|Milk Thistle||Liver cleansing|
|Echinacea||Immune system booster|
|Liquid Vitamin D3||Essential for bone health. Needed for calcium absorption and for maintaining adequate calcium and phosphate levels in the blood|
|Floradix Liquid/ Tablets||Source of Iron and B vitamins|
|Aloe Vera Juice||Colon Cleansing|
|Digestive Enzyme Capsules||Facilitates with digestion and nutrient absorption|
|Probiotics||Healthy bacteria for the gut. Keeps intestinal flora healthy|
15 Helpful Hints
Here are some tips that will help you optimise your detox.
We all know it but we still don’t do it! You have to drink loads of it all day long. Especially when detoxing as the toxins become dislodged out your system, you need the hydration to shift them right out. Also, more often than not, we think we are hungry, but actually we are just plain thirsty. Try reaching for the water rather than a snack!
Choose your water source
There is much debate over where to best source your fresh drinking water from. Personally, I avoid tap water but you read around and make up your own mind!
Water around meal times
Best to drink a glass of water 30mins (no sooner)before meals. Try not to drink during nor after meals, because it dilutes your digestive enzymes and reduces the effectiveness of digestion and leads to bloating. After meals slowly sipping herbal teas like peppermint, liquorice and ginger can help aid digestion.
It is best to avoid cooking with vegetable oils including olive oil because their composition is less stable at higher temperatures. This means that the heat changes these oils molecular structure which makes the oil really unhealthy, potentially carcinogenic even. Best is to cook with coconut oil and drizzle the olive oil raw on salads etc.
3. Eat Slowly
At dinner time, as a kid, my mum always used to say this Chinese Proverb: “Drink your food and Eat your Drink” . It means chew the food so well that it becomes liquefied in your mouth before you swallow and drink so slowly that you really taste it. Consuming slowly & mindfully, preferably in silence and definitely not whilst multi-tasking will allow the message ‘i am eating’ to get from the senses to the digestive system so that your digestive enzymes are released and available to digest the food.
Oh, and also, avoid eating when distressed or emotionally upset, again because it effects your digestion.
4. Food Combine
Different enzymes are required for breaking down carbs as they are for proteins therefore it is best to eat carbs and veggies or proteins and veggies but not proteins and carbs together in a meal.
5. Be Prepared
Get into a Routine with it. For example, Soak your nuts or legumes the night before. Make a packed lunch. Prep your shopping list. Make sure you always have a healthy snack option available so that you don’t get hunger attacks that jeopordize your detox. Also Rotate Foods so that you get as much variety as possible, lots of nutrients and you don’t get bored!
6. Meal timings, Don’t Eat Too Late
Start the day with water. Warm water with lemon is cleansing for the liver. Then, the biggest, most calorific meal of the day should be breakfast, followed by lunch. Best to east very little or just soups/ broth for the evening meal.
Make sure your evening meal is not too late, give yourself at least 3 hours digestion time between your last meal and bedtime.
Its good to snack on fruit. But fruit is a source of sugar, fructose so just be mindful how much you intake in a day.
Always eat fruit 30mins BEFORE other types of food because it digests the quickest and if you eat fruit after other food it will get held up in your intestines and start to ferment, which can wreak havoc with your digestive system!
8. Soaking, Juicing, Sprouting
Now may be a great opportunity to explore healthy and cheap food preparation options to your life. Its a really good idea to soak nuts overnight because the impurities can be removed and they begin to sprout and the enzymes become active so they become even healthier and also easier to digest when soaked.
I invested in an Oscar 900 Vital Max Juicer £219 wow! pricey but for life! Makes really amazing juices, even juices wheatgrass, and a whole manner of green veggies. For me, it’s main benefit is that it maintains all of the food enzymes and goodness and is quick and easy to clean too.
9. Choose RAW
Eat at least 51% raw veggies as part of any meal because the live enzymes that we get in the food are killed off when cooked. Too much cooked food weakens our immune system because the body cannot recognise the composition of cooked food as good for us and so the white blood cells attack it, which puts the body under stress. Crazy huh?
10. Listen to your body
I found that by week 2 my appetite reduced as I was getting plenty of the nutrients that I needed and by week 3 any cravings that did arise were pointing me in the direction of what I needed. I found I would crave tofu or nuts after a 2 hour yoga session and that was a good sign as certainly protein is what is needed after a hard workout. Start to really listen to the body’s intelligents and go with it. Of course don’t be fooled by ccravings and old habit patterns that perhaps tell you you ‘need’ a coffee or a white wine!
I was a coffee drinker, I loved the aroma, the taste and even the ritual of buying an expensive little flat white from a trendy London coffee house. But enough was enough, because it became an addiction and I could feel all the negative effects the caffeine was having on me. Energy rollercoaster rides every day, I felt totally over –adrenalized, exhausted and drained and often really overwhelmed and sensitive and irritable and anxious and I know if was the caffeine because since I quit November 8th 2012 all those feelings have gone! Anyways, basically what I’m saying here is I can totally relate to you if you are someone that has coffee daily and will find it hard to detox it. On the day I quit I got the biggest headache of my life, I could barely move. I also got really weepy but if you can bear to get through that day of torture without giving in, then it does get easier! Just try! If like me it was the ritual of the coffee, substitute it for Barley Cup, with some coconut milk, which you can buy at health food stores. It doesn’t really smell or taste like coffee but it looks a bit like it, so may make it a bit easier
12. Keep a Journal
Going through a detox can be quite a transformative learning experience as toxins are shifted out. I find that keeping notes of your process can be very insightful. Perhaps keep note of what you eat, what you crave, your moods, energies, and sleep and digestion pattens or if anything emotional arises
13. Get lots of Sleep, early to bed
As you shift toxins out and you break bad habits, you may find yourself particularly exhausted initially. But worry not, its worse before if gets better and by week 2 or 3 you will definetly fell your energies increase and you sleep more deeply and wake more easily.
14. Relax and Meditate, do yoga
15. Socialising & Eating Out
I found that socialising & going to restaurants was definetly challenging. Your willpower is really tested when surrounded by other people enjoying lots of the delicious contraband foods. Personally I found it easier to just stay in a lot during my detox. Actually it was really nice preparing yummy colourful fresh food and besides, I’d already spent lots of money on all the quality ingredients! Some socialising can’t be avoided and rather than put yourself at the scrutiny of well meaning mates who may tease or persuade you to break your detox, I’ve always found it easier not to make a big deal out of it and just discreetly choose non-alcoholic drinks and vegan options on the menu. Finding yourself in these situations with peer pressure is a really good test of discipline and strength of character, even as an adult.
And If you Cheat ? ….well, if you do end up cheating and uncontrollably scoffing a muffin, never mind, don’t beat yourself up about it afterwards. Accept it happened but do get back on the wagon! All is not lost!
OTHER THINGS TO DO:
Daily Exercise :
Pilates and swimming are also great low impact, good for the core and the joints, mindful toning and strengthening without losing flexibility.
Minimum of anything that gets your heart rate up at least 30 minutes each day.
You can buy a home enema kit for about £10 from amazon. Not as daunting, uncomfortable or messy as you may think. Pretty straight forward procedure that helps you really shift toxins out faster. OR Trip to a Colonic hydrotherapists – If you’re really gonna go for it!
Daily Dry Brushing of body
Brush your whole body when skin is dry, maybe before having a shower. Brush lightly in upward strokes towards the heart to help with circulation and lymphatic drainage and firm and tone up your muscles and condition your skin. I found the results very good.
Weekly Epsom Baths
Epsom salt is Magnesium Sulphate. It is readily available in chemists. Put about 1kg in a not-to-hot bath and the soak helps draw out impurities from your body and helps reduce water retention to help with circulation, lymphatic drainage helps you firm and tone up.
Great to sweat out impurities
Lymphatic Drainage Massage
DETOXING CAN BE A CHALLENGE BUT WELL WORTH IT! GOOD LUCK! EMAIL ME IF YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS, AND TAMMY WE AT ADVENTUREYOGI WOULD LOVE TO KNOW HOW YOU GET ON SO GET IN TOUCH AT [email protected] and [email protected] ! XX
Read here for more about our detox and yoga retreats.