Lately I’ve been having a bit of “cabbage soup deja vu.” Maybe I’m dating myself, but surely you must remember the big diet craze in the; ’80s when people ate cabbage soup for a week and claimed to have lost 10lbs.
Thousands of people jumped on the bandwagon looking for that magical weight loss plan, and just like most other get-thin-quick schemes, they lost weight and then gained it back as soon as they went back to eating “normally.”
For the last six months, every health-related magazine or website I read contains some sort of detox or “cleanse” plan; the recipes may sound much more enticing, but we still need to realize that doing a 3 day or even a 2 week detox isn’t going to change your overall health unless you also change your everyday eating habits and also your environment.
Last spring I decided to do a 3 day juice cleanse. I eat really healthy about 80% of the time, smoothies, salads, healthy fats and protein, and the other 20% is usually ice cream, so I didn’t think it was going to be that tough. Don’t tell my husband I’m admitting this… but I was wrong.
It wasn’t that the juice was gross, it was actually very good, the problem was that THERE WAS NO FOOD!
Yes, even the thought of not eating any food brings me back to those three days when I was quite the angry person-so much that my husband found a new nickname for me: “snappy turtle.” I was not amused, but he was right–the whole “not eating for three days” is a total mind f*#k.
I did lose a few pounds and feel “lighter,” especially in my handstand, but I didn’t have that clear-headed feeling I had heard people mention- my head was filled with thoughts of oreos, or even a celery stick to chew on.
But I’m not one to ditch the idea of any experience just because I wasn’t thrilled by it on the first try- hell, I probably wouldn’t have had a second kid if that were the case!
So when I had my first appointment with Dr. Frank Lipman, he suggested I try his 2 week program. I asked him why he thought people needed to detox and he said, ” I think it’s a great way to reboot the system, to get healthy, and to stay healthy.”
Makes total sense, but I was a bit skeptical when he handed me two boxes full of shake mixes and pills, although the thought of a shake seemed much more luxurious and filling than just juice. Then the great news: he told me I could also eat a light, healthy lunch and dinner along with the three shakes- awesome!
And that’s just how I felt when the two weeks were over. It wasn’t so much about weight loss for me, I really wanted to feel “cleaner” in my body and mind, and I truthfully did- the best part about it? My cravings for sugar after every meal were gone! Oh, and my husband didn’t call me a “snappy turtle” once.
Why am I sharing this with you? Not to be a Debbie Downer, but toxins pollute our environment and bodies every day, causing more harm than is probably known. Between the air that we breathe and the processed foods that we eat, it’s hard to ignore the facts.
My students ask me all the time about cleansing, and there is so much information out there that you really need to be realistic about how you are going to feel during the cleanse, the time commitment and possible inconvenience, and also what you think you are going to get out of it.
Another way to aid in the detox process is through yoga; I consistently include twisting postures in my asana practice. According to Iyengar, they are meant as a “squeeze and soak” process to bring fresh blood and oxygen to the organs while flushing out all the toxins.
Amidst all the “detox hype,” most people are neglecting to talk about what should be a HUGE part of the process- it has nothing to do with juice or numbers on a scale, but is probably one of the most effective ways to get “clear”- meditation.
You can’t fully cleanse your body if your mind is holding on to fears, doubts, and boatloads of stress. There is nothing that makes me feel better than my meditation practice. I have been working out for over 25 years, practicing yoga for almost 15, and meditating for about 8… okay, consistently for about 4. It’s the “stopping everything and sitting still” that has brought me more happiness and clarity than any pounds lost.
And it’s not just me, “Meditators frequently report how their responses to the challenges and demands of life become clearer, calmer, more confident and less reactive. They’ll report that emotional state is steadier and more optimistic.
Cognitive function increases–work gets done quicker and decisions made swifter–and productivity rises,”said Eileen Luders, a postdoctoral research fellow at the UCLA Lab of Nuero Imaging. “We know that people who consistently meditate have a singular ability to cultivate positive emotions.” Well now, who doesn’t want to jump on that brain- boosting bandwagon?
I hope I have given you a bit more insight into the detox process and how you can support and sustain a healthy lifestyle in a way that is accessible to you……
“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.”
Thank you, oh wise buddha…….
Think clean, feel clean!
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