Detoxing can be delicious!

Detoxing will change your life. It changed mine. I had actually had never heard of it or made the connection with the health benefits of fasting or purging. In most traditions there is a time when you shed the excess and cleanse, but that was completely alien to my education. What is a detox diet? A detox regime is a period where you reduce toxins to a minimum (gluten, dairy, sugar drugs, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, etc), you eat foods that help you evacuate the toxins (laxative, diuretic, expectorant, tears, etc) and you give your body the necessary elements to re-build your organs that do the dirty work (liver, kidneys, immune system, colon, lungs, bladder, etc.).

When I tell most people what a basic detox requires they can not fathom not smoking, drinking, drinking coffee or eating wheat, dairy or sugar for a week or two. Some people it’s the sugar, others the dairy and others the red meat. Some people do not see the point, while others see it as a death sentence- like taking their reasons to live away. In fact, I would say it is the opposite. It is taking away the crutches, pacifiers and avoidance mechanisms so you can remember what life is really about. Is joy really smoking a cigarette, eating cake or drinking beer? Is that really what life’s about? Are self-destructive rewards really rewards? Isn’t emancipation from the things we are dependent on real happiness? I think it is, but it is much harder to come by than the quick-fix.

When I started giving cooking workshops with the Réseau d’entraide de Verdun in the fall of 2009, I got topic suggestions from my volunteers and one was “Detox Diet”. I decided to take it on. I was very sceptical. The more I researched, however, the more it made sense. Why would I be so sceptical about taking the best care possible of the body for a couple weeks, shipping out accumulated toxins and re-setting habits and re-balancing one’s lifestyle? I thought it was like any other miracle cure or diet, but as I researched on it was simply about giving the system a leg-up.

I gave the workshop in January 2010 right after the excess of the holidays and my decision to quit drinking, smoking and using recreational drugs. My habits that were supposed to be fun had already run their course. Drinking, smoking and drugs had ceased to make me feel better- they made me feel worse.

Baked plantains and hominy- Detoxing can be comforting too!

As I researched, I decided I had accumulated alot of toxicity over the years and if anyone needed a cleaning-out, it was me. After the workshop, I decided to start. I was moody, weak and disconnected the first few days, but something clicked in place after that; I felt a lightness and freedom I had never felt. I had so much energy and people kept telling me how radiant I was. I was working in a kitchen at the time and could see the bondage of cigarettes, coffee, alcohol, soft-drinks and starch on my colleagues. They flayed like puppets in cycles of dependence. Those things kept them in their jobs. They kept them in the adrenaline roller-coaster of the highs and lows of kitchen life. Caffeine and sugar fed their performance and booze cradled their descent. I wanted out. There was a whole world out there and I was waking-up to it. For the first time in a long-time, my brain wasn’t clouded. I can tell you that that’s a great feeling, but it is not the norm, and the change of perspective is jarring. It is at once a feeling of being connected to the universe but estranged from society.

Detoxing almost always borrows inspiration from healthy flavourful dishes from around the world!

Detoxing is aimed at the body, but it clears the mind and one’s life. Once you know how good you can feel- it’s hard to get back on the crazy train. Things become more simple, and all of the substances and elaborate fixations we use to distract ourselves from the things we really don’t like about our lives, our entourage, our jobs, our lovers and home become very apparent. We become attuned to the accumulated excess and neglect of the fundamental things. Detoxing is a reboot that helps put things back in their place.

My first detox got rid of the bloating of years of heavy drinking. I lost 13 lbs in 14 days. My skin cleared-up and I had so much energy, but good energy meant to move and shake in the day and not to burn the candle at night in some insatiable quest for the ultimate sensation, melodrama or ego trip. The good feelings of the detox helped me to break with the other high’s that I had become used to chasing. I had to rebuild my foundations. They had to be built on wellness and healing and not self-destructive rewards.

Less is more- chuck-out the excess and simplify and your body will follow suit!

I felt good about my new discoveries, but they meant a break with everything I knew: my boyfriend of 8 years, the apartment I had been living in, re-working my social circle and leaving the restaurant business. These things all happened. Some of them happened in fluxes of going away and coming back, but I can definitely say that my life has changed. In fact, each spring and fall I detox and each detox marks a new period in my life.

Feeling good, feeling bad, feeling what comes up! It's nice to be awake!

Tagged with:

Leave a Reply

Social Widgets powered by