Hollies tips for cleansing
Hollie Magree has been studying and practicing naturopathy for over 20 years. Her practice in Jan Juc (Dr Greens) aims to bring vitality, balance and healing through herbs, medicine foods, science and ancient traditions. Currently on the 40 Day Sadhana Journey in Torquay, Hollie is about to embark on week 3, the week of the detox! For some, this week may be challenging so we sat down with Hollie as she kindly offered her tips and recommendations for getting started on a good cleanse.
" I love food. I love growing it, I love cooking it, I loooooove eating it! The nourishing beauty you gain in your body and mind from eating whole, organic foods is unquestionable.
But I am continually surprised how wrong people can get their food, how disconnected they are, how confusing diet can be. And if we are talking about being present, being mindful, and trying to reduce the fluctuations and distractions that keep us from our peace and bliss, then the what, when, why and how we put food into our mouths becomes pretty important.
I find it hard to keep my mind and heart balanced after one day of eating crap on a road trip, or on an airline flight, and am not prepared to test what the long term affects would be.
Some of you may be on your Sadhana journey in which you were given a Nutrition booklet which I found great - I am all for the cutting out alcohol, coffee, processed sugars. I also completely agree with tweaking it for what works for you, juices might be too cooling and raw, sometimes delicate digestion needs a bit of help with a bit more breakdown of foods prior to eating them, i.e. fermented foods, steaming, or soups. “Physician heal thyself” is from the bible, and a quote I often return to. Listen to yourself, listen to what you need, be honest with yourself and do it.
Troubleshooting. Its not always easy letting go of our habits and our food crutches, but here are a few ideas for the ailments below that may come up during the cleanse:
Fluid intake: keep up your hydration with filtered water, herbal teas and juices. Not everyone has a strong natural thirst, getting into the habit of drinking water might help. Try having a glass of water after every bathroom trip. Or if you drive a lot, taking a sip from your water bottle at traffic lights. Another great way to stay on track is to buy a large glass bottle (ie perhaps a mineral water) and with a permeant marker note the times throughout the day that a certain amount should be drunk. You are looking at around 1.5 - 2.5 litres depending on your size, sex and activity levels.
Blood sugar levels: Cutting out sugar and processed carbs can really play with your blood sugar levels. If you are noticing a 3pm headache with weakness and shaky hands, try a handful of nuts and some fruit… and the next day, have this at 2pm, BEFORE the blood sugar low begins. The cleansing sample diet in our sadhana books is a little light on protein, if you are noticing your blood sugar levels dropping, then add some serves of protein such as tofu, tempeh, nuts and seeds or eggs, particularly at breakfast.
Posture: Being yoga students we should be particularly aware of posture, but when we are REALLY missing our coffee or piece of lemon slice, we can get a bit… hunched and grumpy! Open up, do a few salutes, open up the chest, relax your shoulders and jaw, smile your headache away!
Stress levels: If we are in a stressful, ‘fight or flight’ situation our body will be in sympathetic nervous domination, our muscles tense and get jumpy, our heart rate and breathing rate increase. We clench our jaws. plenty of ways to move back into a calmer state, some lavender oil massaged into your jaw and temples, slow your breathing and concentrate on a nice calm breath out, have a few drops of rescue remedy, meditate (even for 30 seconds will help!), or make yourself a nice calming cup of herbal tea.
Caffeine withdrawal: Stopping caffeine has been linked to headaches, and some ways to prevent this are to reduce caffeine incrementally, 2 coffees, to a coffee and a tea, to a coffee, to a tea, to warm water with lemon juice/ginger/licorice/dandelion… what ever works for you. The tips above will all help as well.
Acupressure: Try stimulating (ie fairly firm, tiny, circular movements), deep in the flesh between your thumb and pointer finger, feel around, you will be sure to find the right spot. Repeat on both sides. Another great point is halfway between the nape of your neck (on the hairline) and the back of your ear. Your fingers will sink into a valley, and direct the pressure up under the bottom of the scull.
Coffee is an adrenal stimulant, so adding some herbs that tonify and support the adrenals such as withania, licorice or ginseng, can be really help with the "dragging your feet along the ground" feeling. (licorice is contraindicated if you have high blood pressure)
Fluctuations in blood sugar levels may leave you feeling really flat, particularly at certain times of the day. Mornings, 3 pm and 5pm are common. Have a look at the blood sugar tips above, and also remember that exercise will also help even out blood sugar levels. Herbs that can help here include bitter melon (fruit and tea), gymnema and panax ginseng.
Surprisingly having a good nights sleep can help combat fatigue. Use it. It’s free! If you have trouble sleeping try some herbal sleeping pills, a tea of passiflora/chamomile and lavender before bed. Acupuncture and massage can also be great to remedy insomnia.
Acupressure: Stimulate the point midway between the top of your lip and the bottom of your nose, right in the little valley. Also the very crown of your head is a great, lifting point for energy (perhaps try a headstand and get he benefits of both at the same time).
Following the tips for headaches and fatigue above will all help. You can also help quell cravings for coffee, sugar, beer, vodka..whatever it might be, by having a little ‘craving’ homeopathic spray handy. The remedies used in these complexes work subtly on our energetics to return us to balance.
Fennel seed herbal tea is a great remedy for craving, you can lightly crush the seeds and have with water, or some warm milk.
Hydration is another big one here. There are some great herbal remedies out there for constipation. I would try the gentler options such as peppermint, chamomile and black walnut before I moved to the more irritative Senna.
Fibre is everyones friend, but particularly the constipated person. We have all heard of pureed apples and prunes helping constipation and this is mostly due to the pectin. I find that increasing soluble fibre definitely makes the biggest difference. This can be found in chia seeds, linseeds and slippery elm powder. The trick is you really need to soak them thoroughly before you consume them to get the emollient benefit (ie they become ‘slippery”!).
Our bowels are moved along by the smooth muscle that surrounds the digestive wall, but we can also help them along with manual therapy. A lovely massage in a circular, clockwise (looking down at your belly ) direction, can really help move things along. When practising asana’s the twisting poses are excellent, and perhaps don't stay too long in inversions. Acupressure wise the point detailed in the headache section can help get things moving downwards, or else try rubbing the out side of your thigh, from hip to knee, up and down in a vigorous motion.
The great thing about soluable fibre is that it works both ways, it binds up looser stools, and softens hard.
If the loose stools are new to the cleanse, it may be that you are eating a few too many raw foods, try steaming your vegetable, lightly stewing your fruit, and perhaps adding a few soups as well.
Adding probiotics such as Saccharomyces cerevisae (boulardii), and or bifidobacterium lactis can change bowel habits quite quickly.
Ginger is quite potent as an anti-nauseal, with peppermint, chamomile and fennel also bringing relief. One of the best herbs I have found for nausea however, is called black horehound. And I commonly make up a peppermint, chamomile and black horehound tea for pregnancy nausea, which is really effective and pleasant to drink. Dandelion root and chicory are also beneficial for the liver, which is often indicated in nausea, they are also a nice coffee alternative.
Acupressure on a point called PC6 can be used to treat nausea. It is located on the inner wrist, in the centre, two finger spaces in. (ie lie two fingers along your wrist crease, and the point is in between the two tendons).
Although your skin is more likely to be glowing as you do your cleanse, sometimes breakouts can occur. This could be due to hormonal factors, liver sluggishness, changes in the gut biome or blood sugar changes. However the main factor that your skin may breakout is due to it being an organ of elimination, along with your bowels, urinary system and respiratory system. Your body has broken down various ‘toxins’ and is now eliminating them. Your urine could change colour and smell, the smell of your breathe might change, along with your bowel motions, as metabolites that may not be normally excreted, or eliminated in such levels find a path out of your body. If you find this is happening, perhaps introduce a cleansing tea with dandelion leaf, nettle, red clover and echinacea (and there are plenty more!). You can also give your body a good exfoliation every morning, working from your extremities towards your torso in the direction of your lymphatics.
Most likely you will feel amazing, but it is good to have a few remedies to keep your cleanse an enjoyable experience.
1 Stuart Ave, Jan Juc