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You might surprise yourself and find the food component of a detox practice to be a good motivator for making lasting changes in your diet. "People can feel the difference in their bodies and minds within just a few days," Hyman says. "Then they want to keep it up because they can feel the difference."
Because relaxation is such an important part of detoxing, Weill says, have all your groceries, props, and other supplies ready so that you can start fresh and be at ease on that first morning. Similarly, be easy on yourself the morning after the detox ends, so you can make a gradual reentry into your regular schedule.
Throughout the detox, powerful feelings and insights may pop up during meditation or your asana practice, or while you're sitting down for a meal. "You might experience a lot of anger and grief. You want as much clarity of mind as possible to be present for those feelings and process them as they come up," Weill says. You may find it helpful to schedule regular times to journal, perhaps noting three things that you're grateful for and three things that you want to clear from your mind and heart as you cleanse your body.
"The most dramatic effect that people notice is mental clarity," says Aadil Palkh-ivala, the co-creator of Purna Yoga and an Ayurvedic practitioner who has led detox asana classes around the world. "At first the mind may become a little fuzzy because of the toxins being released and excreted. But soon you'll notice a definite increase in mental clarity. Your skin will become radiant, and you'll have profound deep sleep. You'll have much more energy and a feeling of being more alive."
So enjoy it. Notice any changes in mind and body during and after your detox. Are there areas that feel revitalized? Renewed? "You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish in three days," Weill says. "You release and let go, so you can grow." ■
Melanie Haiken is a freelance writer in San Rafael, California.
Try this detox menu of simple whole foods to cleanse and nourish your body
A. ^Veek prior to your detox, observe your dietary habits. You may want to write down what you eat. Then choose three things—caffeine, sugar, and chocolate, for example—that you want to avoid or limit during the days leading up to the detox. It's important, too, to replace the "bad" stuff with more healthful choices; simply removing foods from your diet can leave you feeling deprived.
For the three days of the detox, you could eat just whole foods, grains, fruits, and vegetables, and ingest no stimulants in order to give your body a break, relax the liver, detox the kidneys and adrenals, and enhance digestion. If you eat meat, you might want to try a vegetarian or vegan diet for a few days. If you already eat mostly whole foods and have a balanced diet, perhaps you want to move in the direction of eating fewer grains and beans and instead dine on vegetables, fruits, and juices only.
On this page is a suggested menu plan that anyone can follow. For recipes for foods highlighted in green, check outyogajournal.com/detox. Make several servings of some of the soups and grains, so you can have meals at the ready.
Watch your blood sugar. Eating or drinking something every 90 minutes or so will help you to maintain balance during the cleansing process. Water with lemon, herbal tea, fresh coconut water, and wheat grass juice are all good options.
Many people find a more restrictive diet easy to follow for three days. Some even maintain it for days or weeks. Then, suddenly, something happens and there's a craving for fats and sweets. If you notice cravings creeping in, check in with yourself to see if the cravings are legitimate (your body needing more fats) or are simply habitual. Ask yourself: What have I learned during this detox? What foods do I want to incorporate into my daily life? How can I satisfy these cravings healthfully?
Darshana Weill is founder of fruitionhealth.com. She specializes in helping women cultivate a healthier relationship to food and their bodies.
BREAKFAST Water with lemon Cooked quinoa, flax oil, nuts or seeds (for protein), and unsweetened dried fruit.
LUNCH Herbal tea Kitchari
Steamed collards with lemon miso tahini dressing
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