I was standing in the shower this morning, turning on my brain to plan the day, and I thought, "OK, first up is dry skin brushing. Oh. &*#@."The work of week 2 is habits. Habits are hard - they drive most of the day. What is the difference between habit and addiction? Between habit and ritual?
The difference is mindfulness, and mastery of our desires. When weight loss is a goal, we often focus only on lack - on all the things we have to give up, and it makes us feel miserable. And the body is not designed to give up 100% of it's fat - so that last 10 pounds you've been trying to shake forever isn't inclined to move just because you starve yourself. If we could love our body BEFORE it is "perfect," - what might happen? We are much more likely to get there if we love where we are going. So in week 2 we turn away from addiction and mindless habit, and start to treat our self-care like it's important, even sacred.We slow things down, try to notice our habits, try to make them more sacred, less chore. We detox and cleanse, so our bodies feel better. Taking the time to dry brush your skin (the body's largest organ, a powerful shield against disease and death), and rub coconut oil into every inch of it is a very self-loving way to spend 5 minutes of your day.The cool thing about habits is that they only take 21 day to make. So adding in something good, and practicing it just 21 times will make it yours. The more we do that, the more we pay attention, and add good things, and make them ours, the easier it will be to let go of the habits (and addictions) we know aren't serving us at all.Here are some links to posts I've written before about all the cleansing and detox tools
I'll be working with this week.....Dry skin brushing - my favoriteOil Pulling and other Mouth Cleansing ToolsEyes, Ears, NoseIt's a liquid week, so I am eating 1 or 2 liquid meals a day. (Sadly, my chocolate-covered coffee doesn't count, so it's fruit for breakfast and healthy, homemade soups for lunch and dinner, and maybe a smoothie on the weekend.
)Here's a great spicy Mexican soup with only 5 ingredients that fills me up with pleasure.Toasted Garlic Soup:Ingredients: garlic, tomato, ancho chilis, salt, soup stock
(optional bread and cheese)Roughly chop a whole head of garlic. Saute it in oil just until it starts to brown, then remove it from the oil and drain it on a paper towel.If you are adding toasted bread slices to your soup, thinly slice some baguette and toast the slices lightly in the oil and set it aside also.Coarsely chop 4 large tomatoes and 2 dried ancho chilis (with stems and seeds removed)Add the chili and tomatoes to the oil and saute until wilted - just a minute or so, then pour 7 cups of soup stock over that, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and the garlic. Bring it to a boil and simmer 20 minutes, until everything is soft.Serve it piping hot with a couple of slices of toasted bread and a sprinkle of goat, feta, or parmesan cheese.Yum.
image comes from the breathinggenie.com
Alternate nostril breathing
Yes. In one side and out the other. The ancient yogis came up with lots of different ways to breathe - for cooling off, warming up, concentrating the mind, relaxing, and all sorts of other health and cleaning benefits.
Alternate nostril breathing is one of those classic cure-all yoga techniques. It's a little weird at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will notice lots of subtle shifts in your energy. Sit up straight and tall. Close your eyes and take a few regular deep, slow breaths to get settled. Then place your right thumb over your right nostril and close it off. Inhale slowly through your left nostril for a count of 4, and then close it off with your index finger, open the right nostril, and slowly exhale for a count of 4. Then inhale through the right nostril for 4, and close it off, open the left, and exhale out. And so on. Try to sit still and breathe this way for several minutes, and as you practice, increase the count of your breath, and add a few seconds of holding the breath in before exhaling, and holding the breath out before inhaling. Not so much that's it's a struggle, just a few extra seconds of holding, and noticing.
Besides relaxing and revitalizing your energy, reducing your cravings or hunger, and cleaning the sinuses and the lungs, alternate nostril breathing is also really good for balancing both sides of your brain for more calm, clear thinking. It soothes the nervous system, improves sleep, and helps to regulate your body temperature. The left nostril is said to be cooling, the right heating, so if one side of your nose is "weaker" - bringing them into balance makes it easier to manage the shifts from blazing hot outside to refrigerated indoor environments.
A couple of cooling breath techniques are called Sitali and Sadant. They work pretty much the same way. If you can curl your tongue like a straw and poke it out of you mouth, pull the breath in long and slowly with a soft siiiiiii sound, then hold it in for a moment before releasing it through the nostrils, that's Sitali. If you can't tube your tongue, simply press the teeth lightly together, touch the tip of your tongue to the back of your front teeth, and pull the air in through the sides of your lips and teeth, with the same siiiiii sound, and release it also through the nostrils, that's Sadant.
OK, these are some of the comments and questions that have been coming up as we get ready to dive in to the detox.1. You don't have to do a 3 day detox. It's a long time if you have lots of busy stuff to do - detoxing requires you to slow down and take care of yourself. It's great to do 3 days if you can arrange to be mostly at home, without a lot of stress. If your weekend isn't going to be like that, consider a full 24 hour period.
2. A mono diet is generally going to be fruit OR vegetables OR grains/ potatoes, because these things are going to be the healthiest and easiest to digest. Technically, protein could make a mono diet, because the digestive system has an easier time with just 1 thing going in, but 24 hours of eating bacon - although tempting - would probably not make me feel cleaner or cooler. Meats and Diary are hard to digest and aren't ideal for cleansing, and because we are meant to consume a much greater proportion of plants than animal proteins, I think the digestive system might just as easily back up. Seeds and nuts don't digest well either, often because we pour them in without chewing. Just the other day a friend was telling me about the hydro-therapy for colon cleansing, where you can see it all passing by in a glass tube, and seeds is one of the things you see. Raw fruits and vegetables break down quickly and thoroughly in the system.Most detox books recommend completely raw fruits and vegetables, and here are some of the recommended foods in each category:Fruits: apples, grapes, pears, papaya, mango, peaches. Avoid acidic citrus fruits and bananas, which form mucus, and avoid dried fruit unless it is only fruit - no sulfur dioxide.Vegetables: pretty much anything but avoid the nightshades: tomatoes, eggplant
, peppers, and also corn, soy.
Cooked Foods: brown rice, millet, potatoes, buckwheat3. You don't have to do a complete mono diet. Here are 3 sample plans that will make you feel pretty good even after 24 hours.
After that I'll tell you my plans. They are pretty tame.
As for me, I don't really like suffering, so I'm calculating ways to make sure I survive.I'm going to have my coffee tomorrow, and fruit for breakfast, as usual. I'm having a Leaning Pear salad with goat cheese and pears and candied walnuts and grilled chicken for lunch, and then I'm on fruit only until Saturday evening. We are going to a big event at the local community center that night. Dinner, casino, and silent chair auction, to raise money for Arts from the Heart - a charity that creates art programs for kids in our community, since they don't really do that at school anymore.
- Pure Mono Diet: On day 1, eat nothing but grapes, water with lemon, and herbal tea, and clear fruit juices mixed with water. On day 2, eat nothing but apples, water with lemon, herbal tea and clear fruit juices mixed with water. On day 3, choose 1 of those again, or a third fruit from the list above. You could also do the same food 3 days in a row.
- Simpler Mono Diet: Eat a mix of raw fruits (or vegetables) through each day. You can eat one piece at a time, and wait until you feel hungry before eating another piece, or you can chop them up into salads and eat them together. Choose organic food whenever possible, wash each piece carefully, and chew slowly and thoroughly. Add lots of water with lemon, herbal teas, and diluted fruit juices.
- Mixed Fruits & Vegetables Diet: For breakfast, fruit. For lunch, a big chopped vegetable salad. For dinner, another chopped vegetable salad, and a cup of chopped fruit. No salad dressing - use lemon and dried or fresh herbs. So Sally, this is pretty close to your daily routine - maybe it's your thing.
It's a pasta dinner, but I hope to find some kind of tossed green salad, and if not, I'll have fruit in a cooler in the car, and I will always have a big bag of GOJI BERRIES in my purse - they have a very high protein content for fruit - munching on those throughout the day and evening should keep me going. For the last 24 hours, I may do all fruit, or dinner may be a big tossed salad or grilled local squash and sweet potato.
If I have a salad, there will be tomatoes in it.I am also going to cook my fruit some of the time. I bought a pineapple, a giant peach, a Barlett Pear and a Jicima to go on the grill tomorrow evening, so I can enjoy a cooked, but still cooling meal. Ron will have a piece of grilled fish and some wild rice with his fruit.I'm going to blend fruit into smoothies, and pour it into popsicle molds too. I eat about 4 popsicles a day right now, and I'm not going to stop doing that - so I'm making sure to have 100% blended and frozen.
I'm going to eat any kind of fruit that strikes my fancy, and if I start craving something salty, I'll slice up a big green apple and dip it into this funky lemon flavored salt I bought at a Fancy Salt & Spice Store in Portland last year.On Monday at noon, I will probably be back at the Leaning Pear for the exact same lunch, or Kate's Place for a burger and a rootbeer float if I'm feeling absolutely wild.
I'm pretty sure there will be a mocha frappacino in the afternoon too.I'm feeling pretty good right now. Haven't had chocolate for 3 days, except that morning mocha.
I ate fruit most of the day - added a couple of slices of ham for lunch, and for supper Ron's famous GORP - an avocado, cottage cheese, tomato, onion, jalapeno smash-up dipped in strips of organic whole wheat tortillas. Yum.Daily popsicle count: only 2. Not bad. I might have to try to pack a few in befo
I did not give up anything yesterday. And today is not off to a good start. Last night we went to Duchman Winery for a silent auction, art sale, and wine tasting, to raise funds for the high school band. The event was 7 - 10, and I was enjoying a "summer Friday" afternoon away from the studio, so Ron and I and our friends and neighbors Marc and Megan, met next door at the Trattoria Lisina for an early dinner.
So, yummy, delicious wood fired fantabulous pizza with arugula and prosciutto and a platter of antipasti aren't the worst things I could do, pizza = bread. Antipasti = processed, but OMG so delicious sliced Italian meats. At the winery, several of our other local restaurants offered various delicious yummies, and I ate half a brownie from the island of chocolate. Pretty good, pretty good, but still white sugar and flour.
But the wine. I love the taste of red wine, but my body does not enjoy the sugar rush/crash of alcohol the way it does chocolate. I'm a lightweight with booze. A glass and a half is manageable. After that, I'm too buzzy to be happy. Everything seems noisier and more chaotic and I can't get my mind still. It worries at things. So generally, alcohol is the first thing to go when I'm cleaning up the body, and the easiest.
But 4 hours of free flowing wine and salty snacks is a long time to not finish off that second glass, and find your way to a third one. I'm pretty sure I stopped there, because I wasn't drunk, but this morning I've got the parched mouth and the queasy belly, and energy a little bit too jangly in my body, the light a tiny bit bright.
Aah, the bright side. as young Melanie said in her second class at Black Swan Yoga: "Maybe it's good to party Saturday night, so that you have some good toxins to squeeze out the next day."
This morning, with no obvious hangover remedy food at home, I've fled to town searching for an icy cold mocha, in total agreement with Mel.
So, it's a week before our cleanse and time to start weaning ourselves off the things that are keeping us sluggish and over-heating. Yesterday Maya and I were both whimpering about the coffee, so that will be the thing I'll give up on Monday. It's just a week.And it's for our own good. Drastic detoxing can cause headaches and fatigue and nasty stuff in the bathroom. We're supposed to be cool about this one, so weaning off our junk over a couple of days, although it does stretch out the yearning, makes the total experience easier. So pick a few things today, a few things tomorrow, and a few more on Monday, Tuesday at the latest, until all of the following are off the table:
Caffeine, Soda*, Booze
~ Replace with water + lemon**, herbal and fruit unsweetened tea + lemon
* If you give this one thing up, you will be significantly healthier. Say goodbye, never look back.
** Lemon is a natural cleanser for the liver, one of our major garbage dump areas in the body. Squeeze lemon in and on everything you can think of: water, tea, fruit, salad, vegeys, tuna, etc. Lots and lots of lemon.)
If it comes in a package and has any other thing in it besides 100% FOOD, wean yourself off it. Even things you think are healthy: most dried fruit has sulfur dioxide in it. By the time you begin the full detox process next weekend, you should be on a 100% food diet. FYI: As Michael Pollan says, if you can get it from the window of your car, it's not food. ~ Replace with food. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and meat / fish / chicken / eggs / dairy if you eat it. Preferably organic, and as fresh from the earth as possible. Shop local!
White Sugar & Flour
Bread, pasta, cookies, chocolate, popsicles and ice cream.... sigh.
Those are the big ones. From Tuesday - Friday we'll work closer and closer to the mono-diet, and wean you off some of the food that doesn't go as well with a detox. In the mean time, say goodbye to these addictions for the next 10 days and see how great you feel.
These loofahs were grown by my neighbor, the rough washcloth above comes from the Climb On!
store on the square, and the oil is Wimberley Valley Nut Company's Pecan Oil
. This is what I'll be using to pull the toxins out through the mouth and the skin.
I don’t normally go for full-on organized detoxes and cleanses, but this year, I’m a little desperate. It’s August 10th, so you might think - suck it up, summer is almost over - but here in Texas Hill Country, in the middle of a drought and one of the hottest, driest summers EVER, we’re really only half-way through the hot season. It could be October before we get a break, and I’m already feeling worn out, dazed and confused.
So I was at the farmer’s market smelling the cantaloupe and heard a farmer tell a customer that the watermelons are going to be sweet perfection this summer because they LOVE the drought, and I thought, “I could eat a ton of watermelon right now. Maybe I should do a fruit detox…”
And here we are.
On August 19, right after lunch, I’ll go for a simple MONO-DIET - (1 food or food group only) until lunchtime on Monday, August 22.
I’m choosing fruit because all I want right now is crisp, juicy, cool and delicious. If you have concerns about all the natural sugar in fruit, you can choose vegeys or something like brown rice, which is great for the giving the digestive system a good break. But I want FRUIT! Fruit popsicles, fruit smoothies, big chunks of crunchy watermelon, grilled peaches and pineapple. Fresh, perfect, delicious, delightful, delectable FRUIT.
Wanna clean out and cool off with me?