In preparation for the Yoga Detox Getaway I will be facilitating at Brookdale Health Hydro in the KZN Midlands from 8 - 14 January 2017, I am running with a couple of 'detox' themed posts.

This one is about maintaining gut health and supporting your metabolic process to best isolate and eliminate those toxins. A sluggish metabolism can contribute to the build up of toxins in the body considerably. This is because your metabolic fire is the central furnace for natural body detoxification. All toxins pass through and are either effectively dealt with in the metabolism and made ready for elimination through urine, sweat, saliva, exhalation and stools, or they are ineffectively dealt with and end up being absorbed into the blood stream and transported throughout the body.

The stress of modern day life, the poor diet habits we have, and the toxic, polluted nature of our atmosphere and living environments are just some of the reasons why our bodies are labouring more than ever to complete their natural detoxification processes. So we really need to 'fuel the fire' and support the gut functionality. This endeavour is linked to taking care over your liver functionality - I will speak to liver health and detoxification specifically in the next post.

So what are some of the pre-eminent signs that your metabolic fire may be under pressure and your body is accumulating toxins:

  • If you frequently feel as though you have a dull headache with heaviness or fogginess in cognitive ability
  • If you are tired and sluggish directly after meals
  • If you have bad breath
  • If you frequently lack motivation or interest in being actively engaged with your environment
  • If you frequently feel bloated, full and gaseous
  • If you have no appetite in the morning and eat meals only in the afternoon/evening
  • If you frequently suffer from constipation
  • If you feel as though you are always tired and overwhelmed/teary
  • If you are gaining weight steadily
  • If you crave fried/starch/sugar heavy foods at odd times
  • If you struggle to keep healthy and regular sleep patterns.

This list above could be a description of the contemporary urban malaise. Many people experience some and/or all of the above on a regular basis. I fully appreciate that we all face challenges in life and we are complex beings; there are many reasons and factors that create any and all of our health conditions. A list like this makes everything seem rather simplistic, which it very often isn't. Our health and energy fluctuates with our emotions and mind states. Relationships, job expectations and failures, traumas and responsibilities all intersect and effect our metabolic ability in tangible and immediate, as well as a long term ways. I feel this is all the more reason to approach gut health in a way that is focused on long-term, continuous 'maintenance support'.

A sluggish metabolism can contribute to the build up of toxins in the body considerably. This is because your metabolic fire is the central furnace for natural body detoxification.

I have suffered from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and its varying symptoms ever since I can remember. I now apply the following health habits to ensure that this predisposition to poor gut functionality never overwhelms me, leading to a build up of toxins in my body.

  1. I take 30mls of 100% pure aloe vera concentrate twice a day, first thing in the morning on an empty tummy, and last thing at night.
  2. On an empty tummy every morning I follow the aloe concentrate with a cup of hot water infused with 1/4teaspoon ginger powder and a squeeze of fresh lemon.*
  3. Three times a week I add to this lemon and ginger water: 30mls of 100% organic and unrefined apple cider vinegar, 1/4teaspoon of cayenne pepper and a teaspoon of honey. Its a delicious drink that powerfully wakes up the metabolic fire.
  4. I take 1 heaped teaspoon of Darbur Chyawanprash in the morning and evening. This is an ancient blend of spices, roots and fruits from the Himalayan region of Northern India. It is made into a jammy pulp. It is energising and nutrient rich. The spices feed the metabolism, the amla and dates help lubricate the colon.
  5. I take 1 heaped teaspoon of ground flax seeds (you can buy this already ground from a health store, or grind the seeds yourself in a coffee bean grinder to make a fine powder) daily. I usually have this on porridge or in a smoothie at breakfast. This is a wonderful source of fibre. It lubricates and nourishes the intestinal tract.
  6. I start my breakfast with fresh in-season (preferably organic) fruit. This is a constant, non-negotiable for me. Sometimes life is hectic and you get swept up in the order of the day, but I never leave the house without a bowl of fresh fruit in my belly. I often accompany this with a 1/4cup of unpasteurised, organic full cream yogurt to feed the natural homeostasis of bacteria in the gut.
  7. I make sure I get at least two generous tablespoons of raw olive/flax/coconut oil per day. No holding back. This is in addition to the oil you may use to cook your food and must be consumed raw to be really effective.
  8. I avoid: cheese, left-over or old foods, canned foods and drinks, pre-made sauces and condiments, anything high in sugar, processed starches, wheat, too much diary, alcohol, iced drinks, meat (I am vegetarian, but seriously, impacted 3 day old meat in your tummy, cooking at body temperature - can you imagine the toxins!).
  9. I have a detox green juice thrice a week for lunch - check out the recipe and post on this here.
  10. I ensure that I always eat breakfast, have a nourishing lunch, and never overeat at night or before going to bed. For supper I have no starch, and keep to light vegetable-based recipes. I usually have seeds/nuts for protein. I eat dinner before 8pm.
  11. I drink 3 litres of water a day.
  12. I do yoga most mornings before breakfast after the aloe, lemon and ginger drink and Chyawanprash.

Give this list of pointers a go and let me know what your experiences are.