How To Detox
Ayurvedic Detox - Take in Less, Experience More
Today marks the beginning of my first three week journey into an Ayurvedic detox.
Now I should preface all this by saying that I have never done a detox nor have I ever regarded them as being useful or good for your body. After hearing so many stories, and seeing friends and loved ones go through the process and successfully drop some weight, only to pack it on again (plus some) in no time…. Seemed pretty useless to me. But here’s what I’ve learned:
A true detox goes much deeper than diet.
This isn’t about dropping excess pounds. This is about dropping excess everything. Physically, emotionally, mentally cleansing and rebooting. Letting go of all that which doesn’t serve us. Doing less. Thinking less. Talking less. Buying less. Eating less. Taking in less noise.
Going without to expand within.
The process is fascinating. It’s work, but it’s the good kind of work, like you’re planting a beautiful garden. And, like a well grown garden, this detox requires some attention, planning, and rearranging of things as they currently are. You have to create a plan for the next three weeks; a blueprint for your success.
Because how can you accomplish a goal if you don't know what the goal is, or how you’re going to get there?
The process starts with a vision. A daydream of what it feels like to be a happier, healthier version of you.
How does this version of you achieve clarity of mind, lightness in body, balance in emotions?
What does this person’s day look like?
What commitments have they made?
What does their environment look like?
What foods and liquids deeply nourish them?
How do they move their body?
How do they treat themselves?
What kind of conversations do they have, with themselves and others?
Most people think they’re lacking motivation, when what they’re really lacking is clarity - James Clear
From this vision you form a list of daily habits that YOU-2.0 would have. And so begins creation of your daily road map. You want to be this person? Do the things on your list and you will become her. How satisfying is that?!
As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” For three weeks you make space to walk in the shoes of the best version of you. And my bet is that you’ll fall in love with her. My bet is that you’ll want to spend the rest of your life with her.
Things to consider in preparing for a detox
Three weeks feels like an optimal length for detoxing, because there’s time to ease in, and time to ease out. This isn’t balls to the wall 110% from day one. The first week is spent slowly removing that which doesn't serve you, internally as well as externally. Week 2 involves a deeper internal cleanse, and week 3 you slowly emerge from the cleanse, hopefully leaving many things behind for the long haul.
There are many types of detoxes, but I am drawn to those that help to foster habits that lead to major shifts in our life experience. Here’s the plan I’ve created, to achieve my vision:
Week one - Easing in.
Create a zen space in my home where I may go to breathe, move, and reflect. Keep this area clean, inviting and relaxing for the duration of the detox.
Review my calendar for any commitments I can reschedule. Set an intention to not make plans, or overwhelm myself for the next three weeks.
Kitchen purge. Remove any foods I will not be eating during the detox. Dispose of the really bad stuff, place the rest in the fridge or freezer in the garage so my husband can still access it.
Set phone to Do Not Disturb except for specific numbers. Turn off social media notifications. Let family members know what I’m doing, so they’re not wondering why I’m not calling.
Shop ahead of time for food for the week. Do not engage in shopping trips.
Get outside every day for at least 20 minutes.
Drink 1 liter of warm water upon waking to stimulate a bowel movement.
5-10 minutes of movement (sun salutations, jumping jacks).
Dry brush skin before dressing in am.
Begin to detach from technology. Check social media/email only 2-3 times daily. No tv.
Talk less. Limit conversation. Schedule serious matters to be discussed later if possible.
Sit in silence. Come to zen space to breathe for 5 minutes, 2x per day.
Self massage. Massage feet and legs before bed.
Go to bed early (9pm), and rise early (5:30am)
Do not eat until physically hungry in the morning
Matcha tea in am (half of regular serving)
Smoothie or stewed apples for breakfast
Salad with nuts & seeds, small portion of stew, curry or kitchari for lunch & dinner, with rice, quinoa or beans if hungry
One teaspoon of raw honey with meal if craving sweets
Only water between meals
Week 2 - Going Deeper
External Environment - same as week 1 plus:
Have no plans. Fulfill only basic responsibilities (caring for the kids, my spouse and myself)
Let go of any unnecessary housework/tasks for this week.
Do not go shopping. Get groceries for the week ahead of time.
Self Care - same as week 1 plus:
Full body self-massage 3 times in the week.
Oil enemas as needed to flush toxins
Detach from technology. Check social media/email 1x daily. No tv.
Meditate. Let go of thought. 15-20 minutes in early morning and mid afternoon.
Do not eat until physically hungry in the morning
Ginger tea in am.
Green juice for breakfast.
Small salad or slaw (no nuts), soup or bone broth (no rice or beans) for lunch & dinner. Eat the same meal for lunch & dinner to lessen prep time.
Only water between meals.
Week 3 - Emerging
Follow the basic guidelines for week one.
And that’s about it.
In creating a vision for what you want your detox to look like, you create a nifty little checklist to keep you on track. And the most beautiful thing about this is that:
It’s fully customized to your needs.
I wouldn’t be able to do a crazy lemon water & cayenne pepper detox - I’m not there yet. My body would revolt. I would fail. But in thinking about my vision; Of how I want to feel each day, I had an opportunity to look at each facet of my life, and what could be pared down. I’m detoxing all aspects of my being. And so can be your experience.
Of course I’m nervous.
There are many skeletons in this closet, most of whom are shoved back in when they try to escape, using chocolate and baked goods and cool ranch doritos.
I foresee some major emotional upset in my near future. And yet, I feel ready. I don’t want to carry it anymore. I want it to come out. I want to let it go. So here I go.
Keep tuned in to The Habit for updates on my detox Journey, along with tips for your own experience!