Don’t do a detox just yet….

Now that Christmas is officially over, it’s time to get back to the routine and start afresh. January & February are the perfect months for reconnecting with yourself and nourishing your body and mind.

Why you should wait to do your detox…

Detoxification is a rapidly growing industry and is increasingly popular all over the western world. The Ayurvedic system of medicine has used detoxification programs for centuries but stipulates that they should be done under strict guidelines and environmental conditions. From an Ayurvedic point of view a detox/cleanse done in the wrong season can push the toxins deeper and can create imbalances within the body. It is always of utmost importance to work with the seasons, your constitutional body type and with your current state of well being. If you ignore these fundamentals then you invariably may make things very difficult for yourself.

Many modern detox diets focus on raw foods, juice fasting and mono diets which can increase coldness within the body. Late Winter increases Vata (anxiety, stress, aches and pains, constipation, etc) and although New Years resolutions often include a January detox this is not necessarily the best time to do it, in fact it could be considered the worst.

So, if you indulged a little too much over Christmas and are itching to start a detox diet or juice fast perhaps take heed of the following… Late Winter is considered a problematic season for the nervous system and regularity within the body. This season is cold, drying and rough and to compensate for this, your body seeks the opposite, ie warmth, grounding, oleation and unctuous foods. The premise of a detox is to reduce weight and eliminate toxins whereas this is the season your body needs tonics and nourishment. Late Winter is a time when you should be gentle with yourself. This does not mean that you should let sloth rule! Bad eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle are not recommended.

Instead of doing a detox, why not adopt a few healthy habits for this time of year: 

  • Have a Sauna or a Steam: Saunas/Steams are perfect as they are heating, softening to muscles, encourage sweating thus regulating body temperature.
  • Oil yourself: Massage is of great benefit as  it combats dry skin, stiff muscles, poor circulation, aches and pains.
  • Soak in a hot bath: This has a similar effect to a sauna or steam and is a great way to relax and unwind. Add ginger or epsom salts to your bath for greater effect.
  • Try some Yoga: It’s really important to stay flexible and keep your joints moving. Things can easily become stagnant at this time of year in both body and mind.
  • Include some pungent spices: to help combat the cold, improve circulation, immunity and assist in digesting heavy meals, pungent spices are recommended. (black pepper, black mustard, ginger, chili, garlic, cinnamon, etc)
  • Drink some lovely chai: Chai is the perfect drink as it is nourishing, spicy and warming.
  • Have plenty of nourishing foods: In Winter the digestive fire is turned inwards which means one should not be underfed as the body will become depleted. (root vegetables, healthy oils, nuts & seeds, meats, nourishing whole grains, etc).
  • Meditate daily: A positive mental outlook can be difficult at this time of year.  Meditation in it’s many forms is a very important tool to keep your mind keen and content.
  • Keep up with the exercise: Stagnation can be a problem and so it is important to maintain exercise and regular sweating.
  • Wait to lose weight: It is extremely difficult to lose weight in late winter, whereas your efforts will be greatly rewarded if you wait until Spring. This doesn’t mean you cannot improve your digestion, diet or exercise though.