I'm feeling pretty good at the 48 hour mark. Ron is outside right now grilling a big sweet potato though, because I'm teaching a hot yoga class in a few hours, and feeling a little more light headed and spacey than I'd like. I was thinking I'd make it to dinner this evening to re-introduce vegetables, but now that I'm here I think I'll teach a better class if my head is somewhere nearer to the ground.
Last night's Casino Night was not bad. I panicked a little when I got there and discovered the salad already drenched in Caesar dressing. Dinner for me was going to be water and a piece of fruit leather. I have a purse full of goji berries, but seriously, who likes these things?
I was standing by the door of the office on Friday, day 1, munching on a handful, when Tambra came up and said, goji berries, huh? And I said, mmm, they aren't very good, are they? and she laughed and said, i used to eat them all the time and then one day i decided it just wasn't worth it anymore. She's completely right.They are like a dust dry tasteless old raisin. I'd never really noticed it before. I paid $21.99 a pound for these things to be my protein source for the cleanse, but I haven't really been able to choke them down on their own.
After I settled in and had a few glasses of water, I felt great all evening. Even danced eventually - it was like high school - all the ladies on the dance floor, all the guys not. They were playing and drinking in the casino. By the time we got home at 10:30, the pangs of hunger had passed and my stomach felt comfortable, so I skipped a late night apple and went to bed empty. Today I've eaten steadily - at least one serving of fruit every hour, including a big smoothie this morning - but haven't been able to feel satisfied. So it is time to add in the vegetables, just a little early.
Yam. Yum. Full. Happy. :-)
Some time between now and 6 pm, I'm going to toss the last of those garden tomatoes with a little fresh basil and a drop of pecan oil in the saute pan for a half a second, and then after class I'll race home to a feast of grilled summer squash, sweet potato, and carrots.
Tomorrow morning: apples and pineapple, and then for lunch... Ron is cooking up a tenderloin tonight and I'll devour the leftovers with a salad. And a frozen mocha. And a popsicle. Celebration!
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.
Gorgeous shrimp tacos for him, grilled pineapple and pear for me.
Well into the 26th hour, and hungry. The fruit is delicious, and satisfying in the moment, but it doesn't last.
In 2 hours I'll be in a packed hall full of booze and pasta, and, because it's Casino Night, I'm a little worried about the "what happens in Johnson Hall stays in Johnson Hall" energy.
So, I had planned to write for a few minutes about pranayama - breathing techniques that can help to cool us, clean us, clear our minds. And they really do work! But I can't sit still right now for typing, so I'm going to have to employ some more active distraction tactics..... outside I go for dry skin brushing, a shower in the sun, maybe even paint the toe nails. And all the while - breathing deeply, slowly, and mindfully, in and out. In and out.
What are you doing to keep moving through hunger?
The ancient yogis covered it all, folks - they tidied up inside and out.
I have to say here, though, that these cleansing techniques are cool and useful, but I am a Middle Way girl - I don't recommend extremes of any kind - so try not to get carried away with over-cleansing. We live in a very toxic world, and there's no question it is a good idea to back away from it every once in a while and let things rest. But in my experience, a strong, vibrant, resilient immune system is weakened by the over-sterilization of our environments. Just being alive proves that a certain amount of junk coming at us makes us stronger and more adept, so cleansing should be considered a vacation, not a lifestyle.
Here are some fun, easy things you can try.
Place a candle flame, or a single flower in a vase, at eye level a few feet away from you, and try to keep your eyes on it without blinking for 1 - 2 minutes. It's going to burn for a short time, and then your whole eyes will flush with water. In last night's detox class, we used a feather, and practiced 3 sets of that. It cleans your eyes and trains your concentration. Watching your fave sad movie also cleans your eyes, though, and opens your heart. Try both this weekend and see if things look brighter next week.
I don't like nasal cleansing with a neti pot, I have to admit. I don't do it often, because I don't suffer from sinus problems or allergies, and a nice hot shower, followed by a piece of kleenex, seems to serve me most of the time. But lately in my hot yoga classes I've been noticing more mucus in the throat and nose - it's just so incredibly dry this summer - inside and out. So, a 1/4 teaspoon of pure salt in a neti pot in the shower is a great idea now, and always when you are cleansing. If you've never tried it before, you can find them in most natural food markets. You fill the pot, tilt your head to one side and put the spout to that nostril, and pour. Tilt your head so the water goes out the other nostril, not into the throat. I do half the neti pot for each side, and then blow out the water, etc. really well.
A few years ago, I had an episode of really really really not listening to myself, and even my body, which I'm usually pretty attuned to, could not make me pay attention. My ears filled up with wax until I literally could not hear out of one ear, and hardly at all from the other. Eventually I went to a clinic and the nurse practitioner pulled out a crochet hook, stuck it in my ear and yanked an inch and a half long Shrek candle out. SO technically, I do not think ear waxing really works, but obviously the drug store ear drops don't either - I had been using both of them for weeks trying to clean the ears out. Internet research is deeply divided on the issue of putting a cone dipped in wax in your ear and lighting it up to pull the wax out. Some people say it's the best thing in the universe, and other say it is down right dangerous. I say, any time you are working with fire and wax, there is a possibility of getting burned, so use at your own risk, and no way did it clean my ears out completely, but I think it worked a little bit. I always felt better after, a little more clean. So, if you are living with a fairly normal amount of discharge in your ears, and you like living on the wild side, go to the local health food store and buy a couple. Working with a friend is best, but I've done it on my own, lying down with a mirror in front of me to watch the candle burn down to a safe height. I cut a hole in a paper plate and put the candle through it, to catch the ash. I think I'll probably do that later today.
Yup. Open a drawer, a closet, an old steamer trunk in the attic - and sort the treasures from the trash. This is the detoxing of the mind and life portion of our program, and it also sets you up for a great day managing the apprehension and cravings.Think of it this way: junk drawer = colon. You don't need that s**t.
A little grapefruit and bergamot essential oil blend helps reduce cravings for sweets, FYI, if you are doing the vegetables or grains option this weekend instead of the fruit.P.S. this is not my junk drawer picture.
I love google images..
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
Last day before the cleanse and I pulled out the supplement stash to look for the detox herbs. It's not a bad idea to add a detox tea or a few supplements if you like them. I'm iffy on supplements. In the brilliant book "Food Rules" by Michael Pollan, rule 40 states:
"Be the kind of person who takes supplements - then skip the supplements.
We know that people who take supplements are generally healthier than the rest of us, and we also know that in controlled studies most of the supplements they take don't appear to be effective. How can this be? Supplement takers are healthy for reasons that have nothing to do with the pills. They're typically more health conscious, better educated, and more affluent. They're also more likely to exercise and eat whole grains. So to the extent you can, be the kind of person who would take supplements, and then save your money."
Then he adds:
"(There are exceptions to this rule, for people who have a specific nutrient deficiency or are older than 50. As we age, our need for antioxidants increases while our body's ability to absorb them from the diet declines. And if you don't eat much fish, it couldn't hurt to take a fish oil supplement too..)"
This mirrors my experience. I've bought a lot of supplements, but I'm very unfaithful about taking them, because on a regular schedule, I don't really find they make much difference. Yet, when I'm feeling run down, or I'm teaching a lot, taking a handful of pills for a few days does seem to perk me up again, especially a plant based iron supplement like Floradix, plus the B vitamins, D, and the fish oil supplements. Although when I am pill popping, I generally add a mix of whatever is in the cupboard at the time. Right now I've got a collection of Chinese herbs to boost my cooling yin energy, several different things for balancing hormones in menopause, a few that are supposed to keep my skin looking younger, and a large collection of things to protect us from cedar fever that I bought during an episode of cedar-fever paranoia 2 seasons ago, includ a couple of detoxing / immune boosting herbs: burdock root and dandelion.
Because they are there, I'll take them through the weekend, starting today, and ending on Monday. 5 days oughta do it.
If you are interested in adding an additional boost to your weekend detox, maybe to target one part of the body that gives you a hard time, here are a few of the major players in the detox world:
MILK THISTLE (liver),
DANDELION (gall bladder and kidneys),
PSYLLIUM SEEDS (intestines),
BURDOCK ROOT (antiviral),
CASCARA SAGRADA (colon).
Confession. I brush.When there is something stuck in my teeth, I floss.When I feel guilty about not flossing, I floss.
Sometimes.Four days before I go to the dentist, combined with feeling guilty about not flossing, I floss. A lot.
And when I cleanse, I floss.Sorry, Dr. Dentist, but there it is.During a cleanse, lots of toxins and bacteria will be coming into the mouth, onto the tongue,
and into any little hiding places they can find. You can get bad breath from toxins building up on that filmy white layer that grows on the tongue overnight. So in addition to brushing your teeth regularly and flossing, add a tongue scraper to your shopping list. They are just a couple of dollars, it's a little plastic or metal loop that you can scrape across your tongue - from back to front, along both sides and the middle, several times - and then give the scraper, and your mouth, a quick rinse. Lots of people brush their tongues with their toothbrushes, but the bacteria can stay alive in them, so change your toothbrush often, or scrape.Then there's oil pulling. Oil pulling is said to pull toxins out of the entire body through the mouth, and according to the big percentage of web sites that advocate for pulling, they claim it can cure almost every disease. There seems to be an equal number of websites out there saying it's a hoax,
so I put it here, in the mouth cleaning section, because the one thing most sources agree on, and I know from experience, is that it does make your teeth noticeably cleaner, whiter, and brighter. I first heard about it from my sister-in-law, but when I did some research on it, there are some sources who say it is an ancient Ayurvedic practice, so maybe it's a yoga technique, maybe not. I tested it for 30 days last year and didn't feel healthier, but as a detox tool, I thought it was interesting enough to try again this week.The first time, the oil was very different in my mouth for 3 or 4 days. Don't expect to love this right away, by the way, if you try it. First thing in the morning, you swallow a tablespoon or two of oil and swish it around in your mouth for 20 minutes, then spit it out, rinse, brush, floss, and scrape. Drink lots of water.With lemon.When I spit out the oil the first few days, it was colored, and had a slightly rancid taste. After a few days, it became a white foam, tasted clean, and stayed that way. That made me feel pretty clean, and so a week or two of pulling every once in a while might be a very good thing.
The mouth is a dark, damp cave - there's all kinds of stuff hanging out in there. It seems reasonable that oil could pull out different things than the more abrasive toothpaste - just like household cleaners.So grab an oil - safflower or sunflower are generally recommended; coconut oil is nice, too. Nut oils are on the super food lists now; I'm not sure the nutritional value of pulling, but they taste good! I used almond oil for my 30 day experiment, and this time, I'm using a locally made pecan oil from the Wimberley Valley Nut Company. I'm kind of a nut for shopping local, and what's not to like about pecan oil? It can stay in the fridge and not thicken, so it's a little bit cooling in this heat.As we start the week into the cleanse, pay a little extra attention to mouth care, and if you feel like walking on the wilder side - grab a bottle of nice oil, and swish.
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.