When CoronaVirus hit Austria at MoaAlm Mountain Retreat we had to quickly close down our chalet, say goodbye to our guests and suddenly finish the winter season. That left the MoaAlm team with an unplanned month when we really should have been hosting our Snowshoe and Yoga activity weeks. This gap before our summer season has left us with quite a lot of unexpected free time!
The team at MoaAlm are an active and curious bunch of people, so it didn’t take us long to start experimenting with new things, creating our own health and immunity boosting programmes and looking at new recipes.
This time of lockdown was an opportunity to start that new hobby, to do some more exercise, plan for the future, reflect and become healthier.
Ligita and Becca decided that the time was right for them to start a Detox. Ligita shares her insight of the whole experience...
“I always knew that to start something, first you need a strong will, motivation and perhaps some good inspiration to keep you going. It's never about enough money, enough time or enough physical strength. It’s always about committing to start.
So when I heard that Sunshine House retreat people (I have volunteered there 2 years ago) were talking about spring cleansing detox week, I was fully interested in joining them. Becca joined in also.”
Detoxification (often shortened to detox and sometimes called body cleansing) is a type of alternative-medicine treatment which aims to rid the body of toxins that have accumulated in the body and have undesirable short-term or long-term effects on individual health. Activities commonly associated with detoxification include fasting, avoiding specific foods, colon cleansing.
Most of indigenous medical traditions begin their healing processes with detoxification, cleansing or purification. In Ayurveda, for example, a detoxification is called Panchakarma which includes medicated therapy that induces vomiting, medicated purgation therapy which uses laxatives to cleanse the gastro-intestinal tract, gallbladder and liver, colon-cleansing treatment, nasal cleansing and blood cleansing.
Native Americans have practiced detoxification for centuries. The detoxification process primarily relies on three components: sweat lodges, fasting and smudging (the practice of burning herbs to clean the air around a person or in a room to purify it).
In Shamanic culture, like some tribes in South America, detoxification includes a strict diet of herbs and simple foods that can go on from seven days to several weeks, baths using herbs and flowers and plant medicine rituals.
In traditional Chinese medicine it is believed that the main body's detoxification systems are liver, lungs, skin, kidney, digestive and lymph system. The main detoxification support of traditional Chinese medicine involves a change of diet.
As you can see, detoxification or cleansing has been practised in many different cultures, however, it is important to realise that we are all individuals with specific needs. There are many kinds of detoxification methods and some could involve even negative effects such as more intense detoxification symptoms or temporary deterioration of health. It depends on the sensitivity of the human organism, his energetic balance and also on his attitude.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine spring is the time of the liver, which makes it the perfect time to do a little spring cleaning in your body. The liver is a major organ in the body that helps to detoxify and clean the blood. It relies on the kidneys, urinary bladder, intestines and skin to take the waste products out. Detoxification starts in your liver.
Detox does really depend on you and how much deeper you want to go. We decided to have a gentle detoxification as we already eat a plant-based diet, have regular exercises and live in the fresh mountain air.
Our plan for 1 week’s detox is to avoid all salt, sugar, processed food, alcohol or coffee.
Day 1 and 2 we are eating only whole grain porridge in the morning with a bit of fruit that is low on fructose, like apple, and some ginger and cinnamon to add a bit of flavour. In the evenings we have root vegetable broth (no salt, we will use some seaweed instead!) and in between we make raw vegetable and fruit smoothies.
Day 3, 4, 5 we have only raw vegetable and fruit smoothies.
Day 6, 7 We reintroduce warm whole grain porridge in the morning and vegetable broth in the evening, raw smoothies in the daytime.
Even if you do just one day, it will be useful. The most common mistake is that detoxification is often confused with just dieting to lose weight. Yes, you may lose some weight but it’s not about that. Detoxification is more seen as a holistic approach to your body to help it to clean it from all those accumulated toxins that come from the food, environment and even toxic thoughts.
Detoxing can be hard to start with but soon you may feel an increase in energy as your body is becoming cleaner and healthier. Digesting food takes about 70% of the body’s energy which is a lot. Once you create the food plan that is mainly based on raw food, the digestive system then doesn’t require that much energy. Correct detoxing can really shape your future and help you to stop binge eating or any bad eating habits you may have.
It also clears and sharpens your mind and helps you to focus on what is important. During the detoxing some of you may experience emotional release or even spiritual awakening together with some vivid dreaming in the night.
The first thing in the morning after a long night's sleep we tend to collect debris, bacteria, and dead cells that build up on your tongue over time. Gentle scraping with your toothbrush can help to reduce the amount of bacteria. Putting a spoon of coconut oil and rinsing it in your mouth, also has a lot of benefits. Coconut oil is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory which helps in killing any bad bacteria in your mouth.
Try to avoid or reduce any high fructose fruit such as dried fruit, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, mango and so on.
Instead of eating less but bigger portions, try eating more frequently but small portions.
Sleep scientists recommend us from 7-9 hours a night. But always listen to your own body.
While detoxing it's good to move your body, nothing too energetic though just a gentle jog, yoga or a walk is perfect.
We like adding dandelion juice (spring time), nettle juice, home-made sauerkraut and kombucha. But there are lots of others, see what vitamin you may actually need the most.
Raw food doesn’t require as much energy to be digested as cooked one, thus it will increase your energy.
Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated and try to avoid drinking icy or cold water. We like nettle, ginger and lemon tea.
We also like to keep our bodies alkaline, and we follow Wim Hof’s breathing method. Not that it also keeps our body alkaline but it makes you feel energised and more focused after.
Changing hot to cold and back showers is great for your lymphatic system. It increases your blood circulation and improves your nervous system.
Detoxification is so much about your mind. It’s important to keep your mind healthy and calm during this time and meditation is one of the tools that help us a lot.
Remember, that this time of detox is also about keeping your spirit high. Singing, gentle dancing or any creative activities are great.
Sunshine makes people happy. It also produces vitamin D that's so beneficial to our health. Just try to take sun bathing responsibly to protect your skin.
During your detoxing, don’t forget your skin too. Try to avoid any chemical products and use more natural ones.
We hope we inspired you to try detoxification, in your own time, in your own rhythm. Happy healthy Spring!