Detox Month

aum mani padme hum

I recently returned to the States after 3.5 months of post-med school backpacking through Latin America. During this time, I learned about indigenous remedies, explored a wide variety of healing modalities, and connected with colleagues I met studying tropical medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health a few years ago. It's been a luxurious week of clean running tapwater, abundant TP, comfortable beds (the same one every night!), native language, back relief (from not carrying a pack), plenty of indulgent food, and celebratory adult beverages with the family. My heart is relieved to be home, but my rhythm is off and I could use a digestive "reset." It's time for a cleanse!

To maximize this simple, one month detox experience, one must purify the body, mind, and spirit . This means making sure that it is completely voluntary- feeling truly empowered when it comes to daily decisions like whether to enjoy a salad or gorge on pizza. Calming the mind is as essential as what we choose to eat. Stress spikes cortisol, which increases the space between intestinal cells, causing "leaky gut syndrome" and wreaking havoc on the immune system. Remember to slow down, take time to appreciate the meal, and chew every bite thoroughly (optimal is 31 times). Plan and prepare meals ahead of time and have plenty of pre-portioned healthy snacks around to reduce impulse binging. Switch to breakfast and lunch as the main meals of the day, because this is when physical and mental demands are the highest. Drink plenty of filtered water throughout the day- at least 10-12 glasses is best. Be careful not to drink too much during meals, or the powerful digestive enzymes of the GI tract will be diluted. Get plenty of rest. Studies have shown that brain function, emotional well-being, immunity, and digestive metabolism are optimized when we give ourselves a full 8 hours of sleep per night. Go to bed before midnight- lights out and all gadgets off, making sure not to eat or stare at a computer screen for at least an hour before sleep. Breathe deeply, all day, and move regularly (whether at the gym or dancing at home). For an advanced form, try Pranayama . This will flood your body with oxygen and invigorate with vital nutrients. Minimize toxicity in the home & office. Use natural household cleaners, such as Seventh Generation , switch to organic foods & body products (what we apply to our skin is absorbed directly into the bloodstream), change A/C filters, and grow plants all around. Plants of all sorts filter the air, give us oxygen to breathe, positively impact the energy of a room, and are scientifically proven to reduce the electromagnetic radiation output from computers and cell phones.

If you are not engaged in a yoga or meditation practice, start one today. All it takes is 10 minutes of sitting quietly every morning and stretching your body with ancient techniques on a daily basis. There are countless free sites and books (see the "Resources" section here), and the benefits are tremendous.

Thank you for your encouraging support. Please feel free to share helpful past experiences or send an email to doc@medmok.com if you have any questions.

Saludos, In Health. ॐ

Day 1

This morning, I started the day with an easy-to-make alkalizing super smoothie. Blood- the river of life in our bodies- becomes acidic with caffeine, dairy, meats, and sugars in the diet, which causes sluggish metabolism, low energy, weak bones, mental fatigue, acute illness, and chronic disease. Fortunately, this can be reversed by cleansing regularly and making positive changes in the foods we choose to eat. Incorporate an abundant rainbow of raw, organic produce whenever possible.

Today's ingredients are:
Apples, celery, carrot, ginger, spinach, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, green & red peppers, tumeric, coconut powder, ground flax, Spectrum chia & flax seed blend (I probably would not add again, due to the coconut's texture- better for cooking), Hemp Hearts hemp seeds, a few papaya seeds (anti-parasitic), and a scoop of Garden of Life's raw, organic green superfood blended with a cup of unsweetened almond milk and 3 cups of water.

Smoothie Picture
Smoothie Picture

Day 2

Today began with an invigorating Qi Gong session, 5-minute meditation, and warm lemon water for hydration and purification of the liver.

Breakfast was a scrumptious and nutritious gruel:
First, I brought a cup of Nature's Path Qi'a (chia, buckwheat & hemp) cereal to a boil in two cups of unsweetened almond milk. Next, I added an extra scoop of chia seeds and a bit of water and turned the stove down to a lower heat setting. As that thickened, I stirred in one small chopped organic apple, a handful of almonds, and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon New Zealand Manuka honey (mmm). As you can probably guess, the kitchen smell was incredibly stimulating to the olfactory receptors and salivary glands (where digestive enzymes are produced). I scooped the final product into bowls and served warm with sliced strawberries and a liberal sprinkling of hemp heart seeds.

YUM!

As a reminder, while cleansing...

Things to AVOID
-Sugar
-Alcohol
-Caffeine
-Dairy
-Red meat
-Wheat & gluten
-Fried foods
-Processed foods
-Hydrogenated oils
-High fructose corn syrup

Foods to INCLUDE:
-Organic produce & wild cold-water fish
-Plenty of dark green, leafy vegetables
-Beets, carrots, garlic, cilantro, parsley, cucumbers
-Rainbow palate (choose fruits & veggies that create a colourful rainbow on your plate)
-Healing spices like tumeric
-Raw or pre-soaked nuts & seeds such as flax, chia, hemp & pumpkin (try tahini or almond butter, too)
-Whole grains such as rice, millet quinoa, buckwheat, & amaranth

STAY HYDRATED!!!

Day 3

To compliment this month's whole food habits, I have opted to supplement with a cleanse kit providing comprehensive detoxification support. The combination of milk thistle, fibre, and laxative formulas enhances detoxification of the liver, accelerates toxin-binding, and promotes bowel movements for a healthy colon.

Every morning and evening for 14 days, I take:
-Capsules containing beneficial soluble fibre, adsorbent citrus fruit pectin, and soothing marshmallow
-Gentle laxative tablets for gastrointestinal motility and digestive aid (contains no senna or cascara, which can be more harsh)
-Liver cleansing formula with milk thistle and dandelion.

The home-prepared lunch menu began with a digestive-stimulating spicy kimchi, followed by organic spaghetti squash (baked whole in the oven at 400° F for 30-40 mins), shiitake mushrooms sauteed with yellow squash, red bell pepper, onion, cilantro, garlic & turmeric, and quinoa polenta, served with a fresh mixed green salad with avocado, carrots, olive oil and ground flax seeds.

Tasty!

Day 4

MEGA JUICE:

In a compact electric juicer, all these raw, organic ingredients combined to produce an incredibly delicious (and instantly nutritious) flavourful concoction:
(serves 2)

-2 apples
-1 pear
-5 huge carrots
-1 cucumber
-beet greens
-handful of chard
-handful of kale
-parsley
-cilantro
-mustard greens
-thumb-sized ginger chunk

Juicing vegetables is a great way to get a ton of extra nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants without having to overload the belly. Because it is liquid, the blend bypasses complex digestion and is readily absorbed into the body for instant vitality. Play around with the recipe, and share... Even family members who gawk at greens may be pleasantly surprised!

Day 5

Did you know that the skin is our body's largest organ?
It's true!

No detox month would be complete without daily skin brushing, hydrotherapy and castor oil packs.
Skin brushing (from the periphery towards the heart) not only lightly exfoliates the top layer of rough dead skin, giving us a radiant glow, it stimulates lymphatic flow and promotes immune healing. Hydrotherapy increases blood flow and circulation, flooding vital organs with oxygen-rich red blood cells and bringing nutrients to our cells. Try switching from hot to cold shower every few minutes, focusing the water on areas that are particularly tense. If that is too much of a temperature shock, then just rinse with cold water for a few minutes at the end of every shower. Use castor oil packs to pull toxins out through the skin, soothe abdominal cramps, and promote excellent digestion. Many naturopathic docs recommend massaging in a clockwise direction over the entire belly, including the liver, stomach, intestines, and uterus (if you have one), covering with a flannel cloth (it can get sticky & messy). I usually just leave it on for the night while sleeping. When I awake, I feel surprisingly refreshed and energized!

Not quite so mega, but still delicious JUICE:
-cilantro
-red chard
-large carrots
-celery
-apples

Day 6

More often than not, deep detoxification involves mental/emotional clearing as well as physical. As our bodies are dutifully expunging waste material through multiple outlets, old "gunk" can come up in our personal lives and relationships. Burdens of the heart that we have carried for years finally surface and we are called to let them go. There have been times when I have felt cranky, moody, or unsettled with cravings and irritations. This is such a beautiful and unique opportunity to embrace ourselves fully, exercise forgiveness, and find ways to heal. Tomorrow morning, I will begin a new heated yoga course to "burn off steam." Other great options are Tai Chi or QiGong for stability, grounding, movement, and alignment. Spiritual practices like meditation, prayer, chakra balancing and soul cleansing release toxic energy build-up. Always remember to *breathe* and drink pure, filtered water. Back to the basics!

When I am feeling particularly anxious or stressed, a good B vitamin complex is a perfect pick-me-up supplement.

This day started splendidly- sipping on warm lemon water and basking in sunshine while soaking in the saltwater hot tub (after applying natural sunscreen, of course).
Wouldn't it be great if everyday was a weekend?!

Day 7

The local Central Market store has started selling super fresh local green leafy veggies, hydroponically grown and sold with their roots still happily soaking in clean water. As you may guess, I was giddy to see what seemed like countless bundles of tender arugula, dandelion, kale, spinach and others displayed for customers. They were the most delicate and flavourful juice constituents I have yet used.
Imagine:

-2 yellow beets
-2 large carrots
-2 apples
-2 radishes
-purple cabbage
-purple kale
-cilantro
-parsley
-ginger

Another hot tub sun soak and playtime with adorable 2 year-old elevated my spirits after a lunch of quinoa cooked with turmeric in vegetable broth, green beans, garlic, & black-eyed peas lightly sautéed in coconut oil, grilled veggie/lentil patties, and a big ol' mixed greens salad garnished with avo, pumpkin seeds, miso, and olive oil.

The best part of the day, though, was taking a much-needed break from working on the computer all afternoon and inventing a fun and impromptu unforgettable chocolate chip, peanut butter, and garbanzo vegan cookie recipe. Check out the "Recipies" section under "Articles and Info" for the full mouth-watering description.

Smoothie Picture

Day 8

It's sunny and 75° F here, and I couldn't pass up an opportunity to get outside on this rare February day. Zipping up and down hills, wind blowing through my hair (under the helmet, of course), breathing deeply, heart rate pumping and legs burning, I bicycled for about 30 minutes. That's all it takes to get a really good little workout in and feel fantastic. Sometimes, we convince ourselves that the day is too short, life is too busy, or we are just not up for it. Don't let these excuses get in the way of an elevated mood, sharper mind, disease prevention, and a spiritual connection with yourself. After the ride, my appetite was ravenous, so I decided to make a protein and fatty-acid rich snack that packs a punch.

Fresh slivers of wild-caught sushi-grade salmon, layered with thin slices of perfectly ripe Cali hass avocado, and boiled egg to top it off.

Smoothie Picture

Drooling yet?

This meets the body's need for:
• Balanced Omega 3 & 6 monounsaturated fats
• Nutrient-dense and readily available proteins
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) for energy, Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) to assist in the production of red blood cells, Vitamin A (Retinol) for good vision & glowing skin, Vitamin E (Tocopherol) to protect against free radicals causing tissue, cellular damage, and cancer
• Vital minerals such as iron, zinc and phosphorus.

Day 9

Again, the day started with hot lemon water upon rising, followed by light exercise (walking with my partner & pup in the fresh country air), skin brushing, and hydrotherapy in the shower.

Breakfast: Smoothie made from almond milk, 1 scoop Bio-Cleanse powder, 1/2 cup mixed organic blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries, 1/4 cup pineapple, handful of spinach, and 2 tbsp freshly ground flax seeds.
Lunch: Roasted beet and fresh grapefruit with caraway and pumpkin seeds over a huge bed of mixed greens (spinach, arugula, kale, and cabbage). Caraway is an excellent digestive and carminative, meaning it helps reduce bloating and expel gas. Beets are powerful antioxidants, which reduce free radicals and detoxify the blood.
Snack: Small handful of almonds & cashews with apple slices (try sprinkling with cinnamon for extra flavour and reduced glycemic load)
Dinner: Coconut Thai curry with broccoli, water chestnuts, carrots, sauteed onions & garlic, Shiitake mushrooms, and kale with steamed brown rice.
I'm making sure to eat plenty of fibre to absorb toxins, clean up the bowels, and feel full; as well as probiotics or fermented foods like kimchi and miso to assist in digestion and increase nutrient absorption,
Castor oil pack with heat before bed keeps the GI tract healthy, boosts immune function, and provides restful sleep.

Day 10

Quinoa!

Activate long-lasting energy with a tiny spiral of nutrient charge called "kinwa." Taxonomically labeled Chenopodium, it is a grain closely related to beetroot and spinach and a food staple of pre-Columbian Andean civilizations. It provides gluten-free dietary fibre, complete protein, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and calcium. It's even been considered as a crop for NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System. Although there has been a bit of recent uproar regarding the sustainability of importing this precious pearl, I make certain to purchase only fair-trade and bulk whenever possible. One cup of quinoa, 2 cups water or almond milk, brought to a boil and then simmered covered for ten minutes, creates a deliciously crunchy base that can be topped with fresh berries, nuts, and spices.

Day 11

My active lifestyle of work, travel, and yoga teacher training has high nutrient requirements. If I am not adequately nourished on a daily basis, I notice feelings of weariness and fatigue. Especially when it comes to protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates- finding balance is an absolute necessity for sustaining energy from sunrise to sunset. ☼

Because, as a general rule, detoxing includes avoiding most meats and dairy products, it is important to find healthy substitutes to incorporate as go-to food staples. Nuts & seeds, legumes & pulses, quinoa, hummus, tempeh, and mushrooms are all excellent sources of vegetarian sources of protein. Change things up, try new recipes, and remember that our relationship with food is meant to be delicious, relaxing, present, and fun!

Today, I threw together a random stir-fry blend. Starting with coconut oil-sautéed onions & garlic, I added pre-cooked brown rice, black beans, kale, broccoli, and the awesome anti-inflammatory spice: turmeric.

Smoothie Picture

Check back for more detox days!