I have been looking for ways to clear the inflammation and pain in my right hip (I lost range of motion after a c-section in May), and I got my inspiration to try an Ayurvedic fall detox from wellness coach and stage 4 breast cancer survivor Kris Carr last week while reading the October edition of Yoga Journal.
“Inflammation is stress that comes from what you’re eating, drinking, and thinking, and it’s a root cause of chronic disease.” She promotes plant-based diets in her interview to balance your body’s pH, while decreasing acidic foods like animal products, processed sugars, and starches. “But it’s not just what we’re eating that affects our health; it’s also what’s eating us – how well we sleep, sweat, and love, and whether or not we’re committing to our Down Dogs.”
I grappled. I couldn’t see myself adopting a plant-based, vegan diet as a lifestyle. I like steak, yogurt, cakes, and cookies. Oh yeah, she also says to ditch the dairy (animal product). I have no problem with doing yoga, meditating, or loving. I never had a problem with sleep until I got pregnant, but I’m sure I can get that back again once the kids sleep through the night without a peep – hopefully that’ll be some time soon. But no animal products or starches? Yikes.
I thought I’d do a detox instead since it might bring me the peace and balance that I am looking for, and hopefully reduce the inflammation in my hip. But it’s not a permanent life change, although could inspire some changes.
The Ayurvedic fall detox, also found in the October edition, has a few steps: 1. Slowing down – purposefully; 2. The Detox diet; 3. Cleansing daily yoga; 4. Self-study/reflection.
I didn’t have any appointments scheduled last week, and so I thought it was the perfect time to give it a go. The diet consists of ginger tea, carrot-ginger soup, beans, and a dish called Kitchari, made of rice and mung beans made throughout Asia to purify the body. I asked my husband, a great cook, to make enough for four days, and I bought organic brands of the rest. Yoga Journal provides daily yoga videos on-line, and I scheduled a babysitter so that I could sit for an hour on Wednesday and meditate in nature and journal on finding peace and balance.
Determined to find “the answer” to everything that is challenging me these days, I set out on the detox religiously. I ate the kitchari twice a day as advised and drank unsweetened ginger tea and did the yoga videos. At first I didn’t notice any difference, but by the end of the first day, I noticed that my day flowed so easily. I was, dare I say, happy. I felt less encumbered by silly mind ramblings and rants. The kids were happier too. They were eating well, sleeping hard, and playing happily. I was writing better and finding time to do everything I had in mind for the day without stressing about it. I began to organize things around the house and even cleaned a bit. By the second day, I set out to conquer a fear of mine. This may sound silly, but I took my six month old twins out all on my own to run some errands despite some really, really bad experiences doing so in the past.
By the third day, I was more focused on how hungry I was than on peace and a flexible hip. And the kitchari, well to be polite, is not my taste. Okay, let’s just be blunt: It’s really nasty and bland. I added salt. Not very mindfully detox of me. But I added salt, and it still tasted nasty and bland. I reflected by the river that morning, and got the answers I was looking for. I felt like I had done what I needed to do. And so by the end of day three, I made myself eggs and toast for dinner. By day four, I had re-introduced yogurt and had salmon for dinner. By day five, I was eating meat again and didn’t even do yoga that morning. By day six, my hip was bothering me again. I even had a bad episode over the weekend and started complaining again about stress.
How did my fall detox go...bad? Well, you could just say that the kitchari was nasty and I was hungry. But I’m pretty sure there’s more to it than that. Perhaps a bit of self-sabotage? What would I do with my life...what would I think about....if I was actually happy, at peace, and balanced? Bottom line: I bolted. And there's always a reason, a lesson, when we self-sabotage. When we reach for a cookie when we're on a diet, or when we don't finish a project we know will be good for us and others.
So what’s a girl to do? Accept that life is not all roses. Challenges are a part of life. And to be mindful that sometimes we stray. And learn the lesson.