Sunday, July 29, 2012

RESTORE AND DETOX BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT

Several years ago I began having chronic joint, muscle aches, feeling sluggish, sinus congestion and foggy headed.  This I believe, is due to multiple factors like hormonal shifts, life changes, stress, aging and diet choices . I normally eat pretty healthy and get plenty of exercise. But despite that, I was still having these issues. It seems like that the older I have gotten, the more sensitive I have become to certain chemicals and hormones in our foods. 
As an RN, I know that our society, for the most part, is in to treating the symptoms and not the cause. I am a firm believer that foods are the healing answer to most issues and that our American diet and lack of exercise has most to blame for the state of health we Americans are in. Have you seen the fun being poked at the 'Fat Americans' in the Olympic's  souvenirs?  OK, OK, off of my soap box and back to my issues.  I have not ruled out that possibly our bodies have become so saturated by these chemicals and hormones that symptoms appear and we think, or rather we are programed to believe that we have a disease like fibromyalgia, etc.  So instead of running to the nearest doc to get a pill to pop to treat the symptom and cover up the cause, I set out several years ago doing some research.  I have tried a lot of different supplements and remedies that helped a little but nothing helped completely.  So I have kept searching. Now I am not touting that this is a 'cure all', I'm just saying, that for now, this is working for me and I thought that I would share my findings with you, the reader.
About a month ago I ran across a video called 'Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead' (http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com ).  In a nutshell, it's an inspirational video about juice detoxing. Although I did not go to the extremes that Joe Cross did in the video, I decided to give it a try using a scaled down version- I ate along with juicing, just chose healthier, whole foods. Wow! Did it make a difference! I have been on a juice kick ever since. I have been juicing everything I can get my hands on. Juicing has made me feel better than I have felt in years and hubby is saying the he feels great too.  I have experimented with so many recipes that I would love to share my favorites sometime (which I will in another post).  
But alas, I am human and yesterday, I messed up...or rather, I made a bad food choice. One good thing came from it, It made me realize when I woke up feeling horrible this morning,  how really, really good I had been feeling.  
It all began last night when Noah (my wonderful 14 year old son) and I sat down to watch a re-run of 'The Big Bang Theory' before the Olympics began. On the show they were all sitting around eating Chinese food - instantly, me and Noah (whom we had just eaten dinner) looked at each other and said 'let's get Chinese food!' So off we went. Wow! The power of suggestion is amazing-yet another reason to turn off the TV! So we brought our msg laden sesame chicken home (me) and shrimp lomein (Noah) and chowed down on this food as we watched the ripped, disciplined athletes compete in the olympics. 
Fast forward.  I woke up this morning with a horrible MSG hangover feeling like I had been ran over by a train - multiple times.  I drank 3 cups of coffee to try to get going.  Since starting the juicing I have not had the need for much coffee and am down to 1/2 cup in the morning. The way I felt totally ruined my plans of doing a 30 mile bike ride this morning. Just the thought of 30 miles made me want to go back to bed. So hubby goes off to work and I set out to find a remedy for my ails...the only answer.. a detox - it worked, and by 3:00 this afternoon I was feeling like a new person. I thought I would share what I did in case anyone else can benefit from this little routine. It was also a reminder to me how important it is to make time for yourself to renew. I haven't taken a day all for myself in I don't know when.  So here is what I did :
 I started with a morning juicing of fresh fruit : strawberries, blueberries, grapefruit (all my citrus I use a wonderful juicer by cuisinart and then add to vitamix) , pineapple, apple, banana and a pear.  Add Ice and blend in Vitamix. The fruits start the day with anti-oxidants like poly-phenolic flavonoids, vitamin-C, anthocyanins.These compounds, firstly, help the body protect from oxidant stress, diseases, and cancers, and secondly, help the body develop capacity to fight against these ailments by boosting our immunity level. 
After I drank my juice I ran a luke warm bath with epsom salt and lavender essential oil - I sipped on yogi detox tea while bathing. Afterwards I used a netti pot with sea salt to clear sinus cavities, flossed, brushed my teeth with an organic toothpaste(my current favorite is naturesway periobrite), scraped my tongue, used Tom's mouthwash. My body started feeling better already, now to work on my foggy head. 
The next step was restorative yoga poses. My all time favorite is Supta Baddha Konasana: Reclined Bound-Angle Pose using a bolster. Here is a picture of it : 


Benefits: 


  • Helps to Restore energy
  • Improves Circulation to the Chest
  • Releases Tension in the diaphragm
  • Helps to calm/Relax the mind
  • Helps with cramps associated with menstruation
The interesting thing and I believe the most important about this pose is that it is a heart opener - The yogi's believe this pose works on the 4th chakra - the heart chakra also known as Anahata.  It opens us up to give and receive love.  Interestingly enough, science proves yogi's right! This pose actually stimulates the thymus gland that sits beneath the sternum. The thymus gland produces oxytocin. Oxytocin is the 'love' hormone. It makes us feel compassion towards one another and the ability to love and feel love. This is an amazing and healing pose if you are feeling down, depressed and hurt by someone or just life in general. Bottom line... get into this pose. This pose is also symbolic for receiving the love  and blessing of God. Do this pose and do it often!
The next restorative pose is Viparita Karani - Legs up the wall pose. 


Benefits

  • Relieves tired or cramped legs and feet
  • Gently stretches the back legs, front torso, and the back of the neck
  • Relieves mild backache
  • Calms the mind
  • Bathes the abdomen with a fresh supply of blood and calms the heart.
Most importantly this pose gives you time to reflect on what you are thinking. Does your thoughts need detoxing? I found that yes, indeed, my thoughts definitely needed detoxing. I have been thinking and saying negative things lately. I took time to reflect on what I have been thinking and saying. No need to beat yourself up here. Remember, this is a time of restoration and healing, not blame and guilt.  I forgave myself and was ready to move forward. 
I am spending the rest of the day reading inspirational books and recharging my motivational battery. Lately I have been fascinated with ashtanga yoga. I am reading 'Sacred Fire' by Kino MacGregor. Hubby bought me as a gift a weekend workshop with her in January and I can't wait!  I am also reading  'Yoga Mala' The Original Teachings of Ashtanga Yoga Master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Read whatever interests  and stimulates you as long as it is positive and inspirational. 
Now, back to the juice:
This afternoon I juiced carrots, beets and ginger. Interestingly enough, I saw yesterday on TV that a lot of athletes in the olympics are juicing beets. Hubby draws the line on this one. He won't drink beet juice. He says it taste like dirt.  Beet juice is best known as a blood purifier and blood builder that helps in the creation of red blood cells.  So go figure! Beets rule!!
Tonight's juice will be a green one - It will have kale, lemon, lime, spinach, ginger, celery, cucumber, mint and an avocado.  I always feel really good after drinking a green drink. Hubby likes it, Hayden (my oldest) has always drank my green drinks, but Noah, he is one that needs a bit of encouraging to get one down. I'm happy if I can get him to drink half of one.   The benefits of drinking this green drink are very numerous - bottom line, it is an immune booster like no other!  Hail to the Kale!!!
The hardest part of the day was that I started feeling better and wanted to get on my bike.  I believe my body was telling me that I needed some down time to restore and renew. In this fast paced world, slowing down and taking time for yourself is hard. But since doing this restoration I feel good and believe the benefits are more than I will  ever truly realize.  The benefits for the people who have to live with me are great as well! 
 Now, I am human...I know that I will indulge in Chinese food again... What can I say, I love food! But if I take a conscious effort to minimize these foods and maximize whole fruits and vegetables that perhaps the quality of my life will be better, and those around me....just food for thought.
So now the big question....How long has it been since you have taken an entire day for yourself to restore and detox your body, mind and spirit? Try it!  You will be glad you did :)
Namaste'