Detox without the fast…

I’ve had some people tell me that they just cannot juice fast, “I have to eat!” (which I totally understand). Juice fasting is not for everyone, mostly for health reasons. But health reasons or not, I was inspired by Vegetarian Times to let you know how to detox your body without a juice-fast. Of course, adding juice to this cleanse will not hurt! Juicing along with other diets is always welcome!

Detox your diet… 

Detox diets have become an enduring trend among health-conscious consumers—and with good reason. “Consuming products such as dairy, gluten, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can burden the system and cause reactions as varied as headaches, digestive upset, tiredness, cravings and increased susceptibility to colds,” says Cathy Wong, ND, CNS, author of The Inside Out Diet: 4 Weeks to Natural Weight Loss and Total Body Health and Radiance. But by focusing on fresh, whole, unprocessed foods and eating “clean” many of these health problems disappear, says Wong, who offers these detox diet tips:

1. Clean up your act... For the next seven days, steer clear of caffeine; alcohol; sugar; gluten; and meat, eggs, and dairy products. Why ban these bad boys? Many of them (alcohol, caffeine, animal fat) are acid-forming—preventing the body from functioning optimally—and can interfere with liver function (alcohol) or upset the body’s energy levels (alcohol, caffeine, sugar), says Wong. Plus, food sensitivities or intolerances to gluten and dairy in particular can cause a multitude of health woes. “Food intolerances also place a greater demand on the liver and, over time, can place great stress on the body and increase blood sugar, cortisol, and insulin,” Wong says.

2. Eat light—and right... Your diet should now consist of foods that promote digestion, are anti-inflammatory and/or have liver-protecting properties. On that list: fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, raw nuts and seeds (unless you suspect an intolerance or allergy), gluten-free grains (such as brown rice and quinoa), healthful oils (such as olive, avocado, and almond) and detoxifying seasonings (such as ginger, turmeric, cilantro, and cayenne). Wong especially recommends broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables because they contain compounds that speed up detoxification.

3. Opt for organic... The last thing you want when detoxing is chemicals in your food—which is why Wong recommends eating organic as much as your budget will allow, with a particular emphasis on the foods on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list (find it at as well as corn and soy (high on the risk list of genetically modified organisms). Can’t find organic? “Thorough scrubbing and using a natural fruit and vegetable wash can help remove some of the pesticide residues from conventionally grown produce,” Wong notes.


4. Ease in and out... Try to plan your detox for a week when you’ll be able to get plenty of rest. “It’s common to experience headaches, bloating, and tiredness a few days into the cleanse,” says Wong, who recommends Beano for gas and says it’s OK for coffee drinkers experiencing headaches or fatigue to replace their java with green tea (“Try to limit consumption to 1 to 2 cups per day,” she advises). After the cleanse, introduce foods back into your diet gradually—not just for the sake of your system, but to better understand which ones might be best left out for good. “Keep a food journal, noting reactions to any foods such as dairy and gluten,” Wong says.

More detox ideas by Cathy Wong… there’s a lot more you can do to expedite the elimination of toxins from your system. So add the following steps to your regimen, as outlined by Cathy Wong, ND, CNS:

1. Drink up… Strive for at least eight glasses of water a day. “Staying well hydrated can help remove metabolic waste from the body and prevent constipation, hunger, and tiredness,” Wong notes. “Noncaffeinated herbal tea, fresh vegetable juice, and soup also count toward your fluid intake.”

2. Get moving… Now is not the time to take on an extreme workout program, but Wong recommends about 30 minutes a day of light to moderate activity such as walking, stretching, and yoga. “Exercise boosts circulation and improves digestion, which promotes the elimination of toxins from bowels,” she says. “People also tend to notice that they sleep better and have an improved mood, which helps them to cope during a detox diet.”

3. Scrub-a-dub… Use a natural-bristle brush on dry skin before bathing, and then try a contrast shower, alternating bouts of the hottest water you can stand for three minutes followed by 30 seconds of the coldest water you can handle. “Toxins are eliminated through skin, so dry brushing and contrast showers can help promote circulation and allow toxins to escape,” Wong explains.

4. Supplement your system… A variety of nutrients, including vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, magnesium, and selenium help support the detoxification process, so Wong suggests taking a good multivitamin. “I also recommend 200 milligrams of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which protects cell membranes from oxidative damage due to toxins,” Wong says.

More about Cathy Wong… 





References… Vegetarian Times

Fuel your life…

It’s a known fact that America is the #1 country for obesity. Why? Because we are lazy. We have too many fast food restaurants and not enough farmer’s markets. We drive cars rather than ride bikes, we watch TV rather than watch nature.

Yoga Journal is currently promoting their Fall Detox program. Read their article on why Fall is the perfect time to detox and the Ayurvedic reasoning behind their methods. They also have lots of yummy recipes!

I recently made up my own “diet” to live by that is similar to the Yoga Journal Fall Detox. I did with much intensity for 24 days and now I have relaxed a bit. I feel great. What is it? No processed foods. There are so many additives in our food that have no nutritional value and actually act as toxins in our bodies. Now, let me clarify the word “diet.” I am referring to diet as simply the food choices you make day-to-day, not something you do for a short amount of time then go right back to your old habits.

We also eat too much food. We eat for pleasure instead of fuel. What is the purpose of food? To fuel our lives.

“Only half the stomach should be taken up by food that is eaten. One quarter of the other half should be given over to water and the remaining quarter left to the movement of air.” ~Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Mmmmm, spinach salad with raspberries and pecans.

What is best to eat? Foods in their raw and natural form

  • Fruit: Grapefruit, green apples, peaches, pears, any berries, plums, prunes, papaya, oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew, kiwi, banana, cherries, figs (fresh or frozen)
  • Vegetables: Asparagus, any green salad, green beans, peppers, spinach, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini (no canned)
  • Healthy fats: Nuts such as cashews, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, seeds (raw, unsalted only).  Peanut butter or almond butter (with oil separation). Olive oil in small amounts. Eggs.
  • Protein: Chicken, turkey breast, ground turkey, white fish, salmon, tuna, egg whites (no red meat)
  • Carbohydrates: Low glycemic such as: sweet potato, whole grain brown rice, yams, black beans, oatmeal (no-instant)
  • Water, water, water! 1 gallon per day is recommended.
What not to eat… processed foods
  • Dairy: milk, cheese, yogurt
  • Flour products: bread (anything with bleached, unbleached or enriched flour, sugar or high fructose corn syrup, pretty much all of them!), pasta, crackers, chips, tortillas, pita bread (flour products of any kind).
  • Fried or breaded foods
  • Sweets: sugar, honey, cakes, cookies, brownies, etc.
  • Drinks: alcohol, sodas, fruit juices
  • Fruits with high glycemic index: watermelon, grapes, pineapple, raisins, apricots, mangoes
  • Starchy vegetables: corn, peas, squash, potatoes, etc.

Read labels! Items purchased should only have foods on the ingredient list (no added sugar, minimal amounts of added salt). For example, my oatmeal label says “ingredients: organic whole grain rolled oats.” My peanut butter says, “ingredients: organic peanuts, contains 1% or less of: salt.” (buying organic is not a necessity, just a personal choice of my own)

An example of my day: This diet worked as a cleanse for my body, riding it of toxins and replacing with nourishing food. Eating small meals every 2-3 hours kept my metabolism up and kept my body from storing fat.

  1. Morning: carb, fruit (Ex. oatmeal [only whole grain rolled oats, no instant] with strawberries)
  2. Snack: fruit, healthy fat (ex: 1/4 cup raw cashews and 1/2 peach)
  3. Lunch: protein, carb, vegetable (ex: 3 oz. lean ground turkey meat mixed with 1/4 cup brown rice, whole green beans)
  4. Snack: fruit, healthy fat (ex: 1 tbsp. peanut butter [with oil separation] and 1/2 green apple)
  5. Dinner: protein, vegetable (ex: 3 oz. baked chicken breast, raw spinach salad with balsamic vinegar)
  6. Night-time treat: Tazo tea or Yogi tea

*I’ve heard it takes 21 days to make a habit… so 24 days should do the trick!

Now that I have relaxed the rules a bit I have re-introduced the following foods in moderation:

  • Greek yogurt (Plain 0% – no fruit added) – I add my own fresh fruit
  • Soy milk
  • Goat cheese (Omelet with goat cheese and spinach? Yes, please!)
  • Lara bar – these protein bars are great. My favorite bar, Cashew Cookie says, “ingredients: cashews, dates” Yum!
  • The occasional social alcoholic drink (nothing too fruity or loaded with calories, my personal favorite is Vodka/water with fresh lime)
Ahara shuddhau sattva shuddih/Sattva shuddhau druvasmrtih [When the food we take in is pure, our minds become pure/When our minds become pure, memory becomes steady].” ~Chandogya Upanishad vii : 26 : 2
I understand that one diet is not right for everyone. I only hope this inspires you to make healthy choices!
p.s. I’m interested in reading Michael Pollan’s, In Defense of Food. It’s a book about eating food at it’s natural source and what it can do for our bodies. Has anyone read this?
Obviously this has been on my mind for a while! Here’s a related post of mine from August, 2010… “Natural Foods…”

Yoga and Fitness…

I recently dusted off my copy of The Path to Holistic Health by BKS Iyengar and I found this forward about yoga as it relates to fitness. If you’ve been into yoga for a while you know that here in America and most all of the Western side of the world has made yoga into ‘just another exercise’ but it is so much more than that.

“Most types of exercise are competitive. Yoga, although noncompetitive, is nevertheless challenging. The challenge is to one’s own will power. It is a competition between one’s self and one’s body.

Exercise usually involves quick and forceful body movements. It has repeated actions which often lead to exertion, tension, and fatigue. Yoga asanas, on the other hand, involve movements which bring stability to the body, the senses, the mind, the intellect, the consciousness, and finally, to the conscience. The very essence of an asana is steady movement, a process that does not simply end, but finds fulfilment in tranquility.

Most diseases are caused by the fluctuations in the brain and in the behavioral pattern of the body. In yogic practice, the brain is quieted, the senses are stilled, and perceptions are altered, all generating a calm feeling of detachment. With practice, the student of yoga learns to treat the brain as an object and the body as a subject. Energy is diffused from the brain to the other parts of the body. The brain and body then work together and energy is evenly balanced between the two. Yoga is thus termed sarvanga sadhna or “holistic practice.” No other form of exercise so completely involves the mind and self with the body, resulting in all-around development and harmony. Other forms of exercise address only particular parts of the body. Such forms are termed angabhaga sadana or “physical exercise.”

Stimulative exercise…
Yoga asanas are stimulative exercises, while other endurance exercises are irritating. For instance, medical experts claim that jogging stimulates the heart. In fact, though the heartbeat of the jogger increases, the heart is not stimulated in the yogic sense of being energized and invigorated. In yoga, back bends, for example, are more physically demanding than jogging, but the heart beats at a steady, rhythmic pace.
Asanas do not lead to breathlessness. When practicing yoga, strength and power play separate roles to achieve a perfect balance in every part of the body, as well as the mind. After such stimulating exercise, a sense of rejuvenation and a fresh surge of energy follow.
Exercise can also be exhausting. Many forms of exercise require physical strength and endurance and can lead to a feeling of fatigue after 10-15 minutes of practice. Many such exercises improve energy levels by boosting nerve function, but ultimately, this exhausts the cellular reserves and the endocrine glands. Cellular toxins increase, and though circulation is enhanced, it is at the cost of irritating the other body systems and increasing the pulse rate and blood pressure. Ultimately, the heart is taxed and overworked.
An athlete’s strong lung capacity is achieved by hard and forceful usage, which is not conductive to preserving the health of the lungs. Furthermore, ordinary physical exercise, such as jogging, tennis, or football, lends itself to repetitive injuries of the bones, joints, and ligaments.
Such forms of exercise work with – and for – the skeletal and muscular systems. They cannot penetrate beyond these limits. But asanas penetrate each layer of the body and, ultimately, the consciousness itself. Only in yoga can you keep both the body and the mind relaxed, even as you stretch, extend, rotate, and flex your body.
Yoga, unlike other forms of exercise, keeps the nervous system elastic and capable of bearing stress. Although all forms of exercise bring about a feeling of well-being, they also stress the body. Yoga refreshes the body, while other systems exhaust it. Yoga involves the equal exertion of all parts of the body and does not over strain any one part.
In other forms of exercise, the movements are restricted to a part or parts. They are reflex actions, which do not involve the intelligence in the execution. There is little space for precision and perfection, without extra expenditure of energy.
Yoga can be practiced at any age…
With advancing age, physically vigorous exercises cannot be performed easily because of stiffening joints and muscles that have lost tone. Isometric exercises, for example, cannot be practiced with increasing age, as they lead to sprained muscles, painful joints, strained body systems, and the degeneration of organs. The great advantage of yoga is that it can be practiced by anyone, irrespective of age, sex and physical condition.
In fact, yoga is particularly beneficial in middle age and after. Yoga is a gift to older people when the recuperative power of the body is declining and resistance to illness is weakened. Yoga generates energy and does not dissipate it. With yoga one can look forward to a satisfying, healthier future, rather than reflecting one one’s youthful past.

“Unlike other exercises, yoga results in the concentration of immunity cells in areas affected by disease, and thus improves immunity. That is why the ancient sages called yoga a therapeutic as well as a preventive science.”  ~The Path to Holistic Health, BKS Iyengar. Pg 42-43

I myself am guilty of training for and running a 5K this month… so I am not saying that yoga is the only exercise that anyone should ever do. I just wanted to shed some light on the positive benefits of yoga and share the words of a true Guru. Think about what your exercise really does for you.


Tao Porchon-Lynch is a 91 year old yoga instructor and ballroom dancer in White Plains, New York

Tao Porchon-Lynch learned yoga while growing up in India, in the former French colony of Pondicherry, but she didn’t become an instructor until half a century later.

For much of her career, she danced, modeled and acted in India, France, England and California. She appeared in Hollywood movies and on television before landing a job with UniTel in the 1960s, establishing TV stations in India. “I was playing with life,” she says. “There was so much to do and so little time to do it.”

Porchon-Lynch has taught yoga since the 1970s and certified 400 other teachers. Until recently, she was able to suspend herself by her hands in the full-lotus and peacock positions before she broke her wrist. She’s still a competitive ballroom dancer, despite undergoing hip replacement five years ago. “I’m not going to give up,” Porchon-Lynch says. “I’m going to dance and do yoga for as long as I live.”

By Aaron Smith, staff writer

Click here to view the video of this remarkable woman: