Detoxing has become something of a phenomenon, it has achieved rock star status within the worlds of nutrition, health and beauty and well, if you haven’t detoxed then basically you’re just not rock n roll enough for this superfood infused raw vegan yoga fest!
I’m giggling too, but you have to admit, it is kinda true!
Just for the record, and of course the benefit of my rock star status, I have detoxed, many times, in a multitude of ways and for various reasons, although, I have to admit the most consistent reason is that I wanted to lose weight, or at least feel a little lighter for an upcoming event. In fact, most of my clients also want to detox for this very reason, or to kick start a weight loss plan.
Tiredness, lethargy, skin issues, poor digestion, allergies and PMT are among other signs that your body is suffering under a toxic load and could do with the rest that a detox would bring.
However, as we have already pointed out, the number one reason we all want to detox is to shed some of that unwanted weight and feel lighter. I don’t take issue with this necessarily, providing it is done in a way that is conducive to your overall health and wellbeing, mindful of your relationship both with food and your body.
What I do find concerning is that so many people who are detoxing are doing so whilst being completely unaware of what they are actually doing with their body, and even more worryingly, for some it also gives an acceptable reason to not eat and justify the avoidance of food, but thats another blog! The problem with this is that we completely miss the essence, the real meaning of a detox or indeed a fast, and this means we turn what is the art of conscious healing into an unconscious diet fad.
Each of the great ancient religions or spiritualities had a practice of fasting, each ancient medicinal modality had a practice of detoxification, however their detoxifications were not simply based on eating less, or juicing, they’re approach was much more specific to opening up the pathways in our body and lubricating our inner tissues to allow the toxins to move around the body and be expelled. Juicing alone does not achieve this.
Fasting on the other hand was just that, a rest from food, completely, being sustained on vegetable juices and in extreme cases just water. The point of this was to heal, to invoke the body’s natural healing wisdom to literally heal itself, restoring balance, harmony, health and wellbeing, on all levels. It is true that traditional fasting was not a physically focused practice, the fast was for the benefit of body, mind and soul, to connect one more fully with the divine and thus create an environment conducive to healing.
Understanding these subtle differences between detoxing and fasting is essential to lovingly addressing you and your body. If we are going to interfere with our body in these ways we need to know what we are doing, these are very powerful techniques and practices which, whilst they can provide the ultimate healing experience, they can also be extremely harmful and destabilising.
My intention is not to dissuade anyone from fasting or detoxing but I do feel it is essential that we approach both of these with awareness and love and not simply use these wisdom infused ancient practices as the latest diet crazes to drop dress sizes quicker than you can vinyasa!
Really, weight loss is just a by-product of a fast or detox, it should never be the main reason. If this is your main concern with your body then perhaps detoxing or fasting is not the best thing for you right now. What you do to lose weight very often determines what you will have to continue to do to keep it off!
If you are feeling sluggish, with poor digestion, lethargic, tired and generally stressed then a detox is perfect, but this doesn’t mean you have to juice exclusively. Omitting all animal, sugar, dairy and gluten foods for a time period can do wonders for your system. But, if you are wanting to detox then you must take measures to actually help your body move the toxins from your tissues to be eliminated. Using coconut and sesame oils, even ghee, taking epsom salt baths, dry body brushing and exfoliation, massage, supporting your liver and nurturing your digestive fire are all essential to aid the movement of toxins.
However, if you have a specific medical issue which you feel requires healing and you would like to address it naturally then a fast is a wonderful way to do this. Fast’s are more strict than a detox, it does have to be liquids only, preferably free from fruit, only vegetables and in extreme cases water. Never attempt to do this without expert supervision.
There are many doctors and practitioners that claim the body is capable of complete healing, even from cancers, with a fast. The duration usually depends on the severity of your health with more serious challenges requiring longer fasting periods. Without food to digest the body dedicates all energy to cellular repair, healing and regeneration, literally invoking the body’s healing powers to allow wellbeing to flow easily throughout your entire body. Often this can be a very emotional experience with heightened sensitivity and spiritual awareness, as is the magic of fasting, connecting you to All that you are.
Ultimately, the success of both fasts and detoxes is within your awareness of what you are doing and your faith that you body can heal. The power of your own mind, and your intention to heal or to let go of all that which is no longer serving you, is essential. So, we must be conscious, we must be clear about our intentions and we must act with love and kindness for our body as we embrace these ancient healing modalities.
When practiced from a place of unawareness, as if it were just the latest diet craze because you are feeling so heavy and hating your body, the consequences can be extremely uncomfortable to say the least, but, when practiced from a place of awareness, love and positive conscious intentions, a true healing, on all levels, is waiting for You.