Detox, post-binge, is a fairly modern way of life. If the Ancient Wisdom of Ayurveda is put to practice, binge eating, watching or doing things is an absolute no if one wants to preserve their good health. Inundating the digestive system with heavy to digest foods, doing physical excesses, (bright screens or loud music) for far too long, will have its toll on the system, albeit sooner or later.
कालार्थ कर्मणां योगो हीन मिथ्याति मात्रकः।
सम्यग योगश्च विज्ञेयो रोगा रोग्येक कारणम।
Source- Ashtanga Hridaya Sutrasthana, Adhyaya 1
To precisely surmise the quote, “Indulging the senses and the body systems in just the right way is a way to good health.” The reader is bound to think, common sense. But then, suddenly there are moments in life when it gets hazy, looking out of those rose-tinted glasses of affection for the food. The common sense guards simply crumble under the force of emotions. Festival times, gatherings, parties, weddings, etc. haven’t we all suffered from such hangovers and the resultant guilt trip?
Don’t worry, for now, Ayurveda has your back.
Detoxification or Panchakarma is an integral part of Ayurveda, along with medicine, diet and lifestyle choices. It is elaborate and always done under expert guidance. Benefits? It can miraculously help restore the health and cure diseases, right at its root. (This is worth experiencing at least once in your life.)
Can we have simple version of detox, without a lot of the “do’s and don’ts”?
FASTING and EXERCISE are the best natural detoxifiers. Next in line are special herbs.
The herbal detox recipes discussed here are safe and have an action on your liver to push out all the toxins that have been accumulated on a binge spree.
So how to go about a ‘detox’?
In a nutshell, A detoxifying drink is taken always early in the morning. Waking up early is the first step towards achieving the balance of humor. This gives an extra push to the tired and stagnated system to boost metabolism and throw out what’s not needed. You are expected to experience a good bowel movement and kidney flushing. This is followed by a plan of diet throughout the day that helps detoxifying and keeps up your strength.
What to expect after detox?
Lightness, relaxed mind, clarity of senses, good sleep, and a healthy appetite.
Detox Recipe 1. Amla + Honey
Amla is proven to reduce cholesterol and is the richest source of antioxidants. Amla is the best medicine to alleviate Pitta. Amla detox is exceptionally good for you if you frequently suffer from heartburns, dyslipidemia /cholesterol.
Fresh amla about 5 to 7, de-seeded, crushed in a mixer grinder with a little water and strained. This will yield about 30 to 40 ml of juice. Mix it with a little honey. And drink it. Follow it with warm water.
Dry amla powder can also be used for this purpose, boil 4 tsps of amla churna, in a glass of water, boil it to half and wait till it cools slightly. Then mix a little honey and take the shot. Follow it with warm water.
Detox Recipe 2. Aloe Vera + Turmeric
Aloe vera is excellent for the skin, many of us have used it externally but, taken internally too this herb works wonders. According to Bhava Praksha, this herb is a rejuvenator and balances all the three doshas. Modern studies, with conclusive evidence, are a testimony to its potentials. Aloe vera is proven to help clear toxins from the liver.Turmeric is a superfood and a potent immuno-modulator.Taken together, they work to balance all the three vata, pitta and kapha dosha.
Fresh Aloe leaf, peeled and the yellow resin washed off, can be made into a drink of a gel- liquid consistency. To this is mixed a quarter teaspoon of turmeric. A spoon of honey can be added to make it more palatable. Follow it with warm water.
Detox Recipe 3.Cinnamon bark + Lemon + Honey + Hot water
Cinnamon makes the body cells more sensitive to the hormone insulin , and thus help regulate blood sugar levels. Its action is research-backed on blood cholesterol. It stimulates the gut and enhances the effects of detoxifying hormones in the gut. Lemon juice and honey in hot is a popular recipe among the weight watchers. Taken together they put your metabolism in a hyper-drive.
¼ tsp cinnamon bark powder, juice squeezed out of two lemons, 1 tbsp honey in about 300 ml of hot water. Sip it slowly.
What else to do on your detox day?
- Wake up early
- Exercise, be active
- Avoid mental and physical stress
- Avoid sugar, salt, and spices
- Avoid milk products, (except homemade buttermilk )
- Buttermilk (churned fresh curds) with lunch will help balance the gut flora and is highly recommended.
- Try intermittent fasting.
- Maida (refined flour) and all refined foods are to be avoided.
- Try drinking warm water throughout the day.
- Avoid eating to your full capacity, let the stomach go a little empty.
- Avoid sleeping in the day time.
- Be sensitive to your urges, do not delay drinking water or going to the toilet.
The Time Table:
- Waking up before the sun rises in the Brahma Muhurtham.
- Pass your bowels
- Light exercise
- Partake your detox drink of choice.
- Fast for at least two hours after drinking your detox drink.
- Follow it with warm water.
- Have a light breakfast eg. upma without pickles and masala.
- For lunch, porridge/ Daliya of choice, eg, jowar, ragi, wheat oats, etc can be had with lightly spiced curry.
- Plenty of buttermilk is to be had with the lunch, can be spiced with jeera, pudina, and ginger.
- Eat fresh fruit as a snack
- For dinner dal roti, dal chawal, simple curries that are sparsely spiced make for a comforting way to end the day.
Why detox, why not let the body take its natural course?
Toxins do accumulate over time in spite of regular bowel or kidney movement. Consider cleaning your house. We all do it regularly, but over a certain period, we realize it has not been sufficient. Similarly, according to Ayurveda, seasons, environment, food and lifestyle all add up to toxins over some time. And it advice undergoing Shodhana Karma which means deep cleaning, three times in a year.
- Just before the monsoon for Vata (bone, muscle and nerve diseases)
- Sharad Ritu (Autumn) for Pitta (skin and blood diseases)
- Vasant Ritu ( Spring) for Kapha (allergies and metabolic problems)
If you look closely at these periods of times they coincide with our traditional house cleaning rituals. Diwali cleaning- Springtime cleaning- Preparing the house for the arrival of rain.
Let’s remember to clean our bodies from the inside too and get ready for a great Diwali.