After several weeks of eating foods out of what is my optimal diet, I feel gross. I am bloated, lethargic, and have an overall yucky feeling that is related to holiday overindulgence, lack of exercise, and too much fun.
I have that mid-winter “blech” feeling. It’s as if I gained twenty pounds, when in reality I’ve likely gained three. I need a change; a return to what I know is best for my body and myself. I need to clear out the old, the unwanted and make room for the better me. Maybe you feel the same?
This is when the oft-touted diet, detox, cleanse, fast, colonic, etc. is so appealing come New Year’s and Resolution-time. Get rid of the junk that’s accumulated in the body, in the mind, detox and cleanse myself so I can be a better, lighter, me when its all over. Sounds great and oh so easy, right? Of course it does.
This does not, however, create lasting changes, establish better and healthier habits, nor is it healthy for your body, heart and soul to do in the middle of winter!
By subjecting oneself to a mid-winter juice detox and/or cleanse (the most common being the oft-touted juice fast), you are putting raw, cold-forming foods into your body in the coldest part of the year. I don’t know about you, but this does not make sense to me. Why would I want to make myself colder?
From a TCM standpoint, you are putting ice on a low-burning fire when you should be stoking your fires. Winter is the Kidney time of year; the Kidneys are the seat of Yin and Yang in the body and house the Life Gate Fire (or Ming Men). The Spleen is in charge of digestion, and loathes (yes, loathes) cold and raw foods.
Thus, this time of year (winter) is the time for supporting your body with foods that warm you from the inside out. Suffice it to say that dumping a bunch of cold, raw food (or depriving yourself of food – the logs that contribute to the fire of your body) in the middle of winter is not all that it’s cracked up to be.
For the past few months, I’ve been implementing some major changes in my life and decided this year I should do something different than the typical resolutions especially in the midst of my mid-winter “blech.” After some soul-searching, I knew that I needed to do some detoxing and cleansing of my own: in my heart and home.
So, I cleaned out my home: my apartment. I re-assessed and ridded myself of those things that were no longer serving me, or that I no longer loved. I got rid of the things that I kept because I “should”, or because I felt obligated to keep those items since they were gifts. I gave myself permission to let those things go – after all, the weight I’ve been feeling in my heart is surrounded by shoulds: “I should be more put together”, “I should be more organized”, “I should dust and vacuum my apartment more”, “I should do this…”, “I should have done that…”, “I should be less silly”, “I should”, “I should”, “I should”.
I did the first part of the big clean-out in the days leading up to, and following, December 31. It was so freeing to give away 10 boxes of books, three bags of clothes, three bags of general household items, and to organize some of my vast piles of paperwork and articles. I even reorganized some dresser drawers, to clearly see what I have in front of me. I still have a lot left to do, but having a start such as this is so freeing. In the next few weeks, I’ll be going through the rest of my belongings, making repairs, organizing, and cleaning out more things that are no longer serving me. Then, I actually did dust and vacuum the apartment, quite thoroughly I might add!
To heal my heart and help my soul’s home (my body), I am doing the following instead of embarking on that week-long juice fast: eating lots of vegetables (especially steamed leafy greens such as dandelion greens), lentils and whole grains, avoiding dairy, processed foods, sweets and alcohol, taking Triphala and other supplements daily, and drinking water with lemon to help my Liver process all that needs to be let go of, to name but a few supportive items on the list.
I joined the pool that’s nearby; after all, I’ve have wanted to join for years (yes, years) and finally bit the bullet. I figured, “now’s the time!” My goal is to go twice a week, then bump it up to three times a week, then four times a week. This schedule is not overwhelming for me, it feels very do-able, and if I feel like going more than twice a week at first then I can without pressuring myself. I love swimming; I love how the water surrounds and supports me. I love the noise the water makes when you are moving through it. I love feeling my lungs fill up with air, and the water washing over my body. With swimming, I’ll be doing something that I love, with the added bonus that it is good for my body and soul.
What has your latest detox, cleanse, fast, or diet given back to you? Are you sure that you still need to do the traditional detox and cleanse? What is no longer working for you, what is working? What do you love doing that is not currently in your life? To me, that’s what’s missing with the vast majority of resolutions, especially with the diet/detox/cleanse type: the love of what you are doing, that it is good for your body and soul, it makes you happier, it gives back to you more than what you’ve put into it.