The protocol from ancient medicine systems, especially in Ayurveda, is you clean the body to help it do what it needs to do. The body knows what to do, of course, but if imbalances exist, it only has the energy to survive. It doesn’t have the luxury of regenerating, rejuvenating or procreating, which is what it wants to do. I think this is important to say as cleansing is an act of self-care, not of self-sabotage. We’re cleaning the body so it can build again, and we are preparing it for rejuvenation. This whole process is to facilitate you in living your dharma. You will be strong enough and live long enough to express your gift.I’m not focusing on looking great in a bikini on Instagram. Eighty per cent of diets fail. Quick fixes don’t work because people don’t go into the reasons behind why they live the way they do. The purpose of my cleanse is to prepare your body to be strong enough to do what you need to do. It is about a lifestyle change, all year round, not about getting skinny in one week and then going back to old habits. I do a cleanse every season, after which I work with people on the next stage, which is rejuvenation. It’s about a lifestyle change rather than an extreme cleanse because one extreme inevitably will swing back to the other extreme.
This is why I do this work- when we start to take care of ourselves, we deal with our divorce from nature. We get out of our heads. When we are in the body, we connect to who we are, which helps us align with our reason for being. A lot of what we are doing to the earth is because we are divorced from our own nature — our own bodies.
1. A warm glass of water
As soon as you wake up, before you do anything else, have a warm glass of water. It needs to be warm because our body’s temperature is twenty-eight degrees, and everything we put in our bodies should be around that temperature. The body has a limited amount of energy, and we want it to use less of that energy in breaking down food that is too hot or cold or breaking down food that is not good for us. Working hard on processing our food wastes energy that otherwise could be used for regeneration, rejuvenation and procreation. Are you going to use your energy to get better, stronger or are you going to waste it?
It can be straight warm water, or you can put lemon or apple cider vinegar in it. Lemon in the summer and apple cider vinegar is better for autumn and winter. Make sure you use the one with the culture, which is prebiotic, as it helps the body build good bacteria.
Your body regenerates the most between ten o’clock at night and two o’clock in the morning. The liver works between two and four in the morning, so have a light dinner — allow your body to have finished digesting by eight o’clock. By ten, we should be in bed because by eleven we start to feel hungry. The warm water in the morning also helps the liver with detoxification. The liver loves warmth.
Eating a light dinner is a great tip, not just for the cleanse but for a lifestyle change.
Overnight all the junk is going down to the colon to be flushed first thing in the morning, which is another reason why the water helps — it stimulates the colon. After the water, you can have breakfast.
2. The importance of breath
The body eliminates the most toxins through the breath. Seventy per cent of toxins come out on the exhalation. Ideally, we want to strengthen the lungs and take care of the skin. Then we deal with more internal organs. The first thing is to have a really good breathing exercise. When your nervous system calms down, it moves into the parasympathetic nervous system, whose receptors are at the base of the lung. We need to intentionally active the parasympathetic as we digest so much better when we are in it. The body knows how to detoxify itself, and if you stop throwing junk in it, it can move from survival mode to thriving. 3. Look after your skinThe skin is our biggest organ, and if we take care of it, a great way to get rid of toxins. To do this, you need to break a bit of a sweat. In Ayurveda, they say — when you get a little bit of sweat at the base of your neck, that’s sufficient.
Go for a nice walk quickly around the block or have a warm Epson Salts bath or a sauna. Skin brushing is another helpful way. Use a dry skin brush and start from the feet up, moving towards the heart. This stimulates the lymphatic system, which releases toxins. When you’ve finished the brushing give yourself a bit of a massage with coconut oil or cold-pressed sesame oil (make sure it is cold-pressed, or you’ll smell like a Chinese restaurant), then have a shower. The whole thing takes about five minutes and gives the body the support it needs to eliminate what it doesn’t want.
4. It’s good to keep the liver happy
The liver is the hardest working organ in the body, it is our main filter, and we need to support it in doing its job. It likes bitterness, and things like dandelions, milk thistle, certain kinds of mushrooms, and super greens are excellent for it. When you’re doing a cleanse, it is helpful to give it an extra boost with herbs. I make formulas and tonics that support the liver.
5. Emotional wellbeing
When we have toxicity in the body, we have toxicity in the mind. There is a lot of research that suggests our emotional health is linked with inflammation. Nutrient-dense food lowers inflammation, things like gluten increase inflammation.
Sugar is another toxic substance that is very bad for us. It is more addictive than heroin. When we eat sugar, the body has to release insulin, which is a hormone. When your hormones are out of balance, so are your emotions. By balancing your blood sugar, you automatically increase your wellbeing. When your blood sugar goes down, you have less oxygen in the brain, leading to aggression, impatience and anger.
If we balance the blood sugar and lower inflammation, then we are well on the way to living a healthy, balanced life. Cleansing kick starts that new lifestyle. For the cleanse, think seventy per cent vegetables, although not so much the nightshades, like potatoes and tomatoes. The other thirty per cent should be composed of plant-based proteins, like pulses, rice and dhal. I think it is important to eat nourishing, gentle, warming food rather than doing shakes. If you want to do shakes, then add a little warm water so it’s not cold. Don’t survive solely on shakes.
Another link between diet and emotional wellbeing is the good bacteria in our guts. A low level of good bacteria is directly linked to depression. Making sure we support the body in producing it is essential for our health. Eating and drinking foods high in prebiotics help with this, for example, putting apple cider vinegar in your water every morning.
Finally, when the body is working like a well-oiled machine, we eliminate properly. Regular walks, brushing, and particular herbs help ensure this is happening. Constipation is bad for the body. It means the system is dry, and when things dry out, they start to crumble. Aloe Vera juice, chia and flax seeds support the elimination process and having good fat in the diet, like ghee or coconut oil and olive oil for vegans. In Ayurveda, we lubricate the system with good fats then use specially formulated herbs that help with flushing things out, which I also make.