DIY Detox: Day of Balance in the Days of Awe

It is the first day of Autumn. Equinox, the Day of Balance. In the midst of one of my favorite yearly recognitions, the Days of Awe, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I am not Jewish. But there is so something powerfully evocative about the time between the end of the year and the beginning of the year, a time when there is an accounting of a life lived. Repentance, atonement, reflection, remembrance, forgiveness, introspection. What a collection of words and delicate human conditions. The modern world would never make a place for us to hold these words and give them meaning in our lives. The Days of Awe does.

Today is the Autumn Equinox. The Day of Balance is perfectly divided between daylight and the shades of dark, dusk to dawn.  It is called Mabon, the middle of harvest here in the part of the New World that most perfectly matches the Celtic seasonal round as preserved by the Irish, Scots, Welsh and English.  A time to celebrate the garden’s harvest, as well as grain, apples and wine. I found a lovely website ( that said it well: “It is a time to reap what you have sown, of giving thanks for the harvest and the bounty the Earth provides. For finishing up old projects and plans and planting the seeds for new enterprises or a change in lifestyle. Mabon is a time of celebration and balance. This is the time to look back not just on the past year, but also your life, and to plan for the future. In the rhythm of the year, Mabon is a time of rest and celebration, after the hard work of gathering the crops.”

So it is the Day of Balance in the Days of Awe, from two different traditions.  Reaping what we have sown and setting to right. Mabon and the sacred time of Equinox ask us for gratitude and reflection, rest and celebration.

So, here is what I have found in my days of De-Tox. This modern term is a symptom of our recognition of toxins in our lives.  We have gone on auto-pilot and consumed mindlessly, eating and drinking things that aren’t good for us in quantities that are definitely not needed or wanted by our body. As I have proceeded with my supplements, fiber and diet, I have hit roadblocks—some social, most of them my own. The fact is—it is hard for an omnivore to limit food.

But here is the gold: becoming mindful of my consumptions, even when I am being unmindful.  I have watched myself be “good” when I stick to it and “bad” when I don’t. I have listened to my body and learned to trust it better, and I have appreciated food. The colors, especially, of fresh veggies and fruits have enlivened my days.

Unexpectedly, I wandered far away from just me, in my kitchen, worrying about my personal de-tox. As I held the foods—all of them—the good, the bad and the ugly, I found myself thinking about how they came to make their way into my hands—all the other hands, the soil, the labor, the animals, the transportation. . .  I found myself thinking about the health of the planet and the de-tox it needs.

My de-tox diet turned into a mindfulness diet because I welcomed these reflections.  Ultimately, this time has been about de-toxing the soul. During this month, at a time when the turn of the season has been long been recognized as special, I have been able to slow down enough “catch” the sacred unfolding and receive it into the marrow of my being.  I have de-toxed my time and brain, along with my body with the help of the Writing Diet by Julia Cameron. My chopped up days had stolen a sense of spaciousness and my to-do list had made off with spontaneity. The result: my anguished soul ate to assuage its misery. Perhaps strong words for the modern day, but I think it fitting and accurate.

 The fact is, I have become more interested in de-toxing my life of the poisonous lack of consciousness that pervades our human existence. I want to wake up. Choosing the right foods most of the time, celebrating occasionally when the time is right, and being in dialogue with what I put in my mouth, my home and my time.

DIY Detox: Detoxing the Soul

Body Cleanse is opening the way to soul cleanse. Here I explore the parallels, so that my Body Cleanse can inform my Soul Cleanse.

Body Cleanse = Simple diet of healthy organic earth grown foods, especially vegetables.

Soul Cleanse = Simple. Diet. As in to reduce input of so many things to do. Healthy. Focus on the things that give my soul life and energy. Earth grown, mostly vegetables. Things that are close to the earth, basic to life.

Body Cleanse = Bountiful cleansing water.

Soul Cleanse = Connection with the source of life. Giving thanks and gratitude to water. Appreciating water.

Body Cleanse = Fiber for better elimination of toxins.

Soul Cleanse = Meditation for better elimination of mind toxins. Embracing love.

Body Cleanse = Supporting supplements

Soul Cleanse = Supporting supplements of the soul. For me, that’s music, story, nature, beauty, movement.  Time. Rest. Peacefulness.

Body Cleanse = Withdrawing somewhat from social life.

Soul Cleanse = Withdrawing somewhat from social life.

DIY Detox: Stuff

All goes well on the Detox trail. It is not severe but it is a big change. And it is mindful.

ImageOn another front, I am trying to detox the house as I go. My husband and I have had to make an agreement not to only try to get rid of each other’s “junk”. We have tried to go by the rule that his is his to rid of and mine is mine. And we are. We are detoxing our own closets, our junk drawer and all the places where things lurk. One thing I know for sure. Stuff stalks us all. It wants us, it wants our minds and our time and our home. A stuff detox goes well with a body detox, that’s for sure, and it is something that must be repeated frequently. Stuff leads its own life and it drags down the spirit to constantly be moving it and cleaning it and storing it. I am trying to use my detox mentality to pare it down.

DIY Detox: Mostly Good

By Day 4 of the Detox Diet, I have slipped a couple of times but mostly stayed strong.

Ah, the word “mostly”. I AM happy to be mostly gluten free, striving to be mostly vegetarian, and when I can, aspiring to vegan. That is a bit of a challenge when it comes feeling great on the paleo diet but feeling that it is wrong for our times now to eat so many animals, to put it bluntly. But that will come later, when I come back to regular eating. For now, I am mostly eating vegetables and some berries, along with the other smoothie ingredients, with one mostly vegetable and legume dinner.  And doing great great with the beverages except for… well, that first cuppa coffee with half and half is so wonderful. After that, I am good–oh so good, until well, yesterday my old friend and I sat looking out at the magnificent ocean water surrounding our island home and we shared some wine. Just a glass, mind you, and it was red, so I can pretend it is good for me and it is, mostly– except for when it isn’t– which is now. So there you have, blogger friends, I confess. Detoxing in the real world for a social animal like me with ingrained habits is challenging. I think I will be able to slowly do this right so that by the time I get it down, the detox will be over! I intend to detox, or even mostly detox until the Equinox, which is September 21.

Detox diets always start with the standard advice to “consult your health car professional before starting…” Excuse me, but from where I am sitting, that’s a big joke. Health care professionals know very little about detoxing or supplements or much of anything in the preventative department. Right now the biggest ally I have is Julia Cameron’s book, “The Writing Diet”. I think it is essential to become aware of how we eat as well as what we eat. Being on the Detox Diet enlivens my relationship to food and my body, writing about it will bring me home to why I want to eat THIS and not THAT.  For that matter, how and why I use food to cover up other things I am feeling or to soothe the stress away. This is a good job for food, I think. And an old one. I want to do this without feeling deprived or too severely restricted so that I can come back time and time again to my smoothie or lentil vegetable laden soup and regard them as comfort food, not punishment.   This is a journey. I will report the days as I experience them.

DIY Detox Beverages

The Smoothie

Well, this is probably the most important “meal” of the detox. It is a cross between a beverage and a meal but I don’t count it as water.  Here are my basic ingredients:

Scoop-Whey Protein powder

Scoop-Fiber (I use Smart Fiber)

1-2 Tablespoons Chia seeds that have been soaked in water for 30+ minutes

1-2 Tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt

Almond or hemp milk

Half to whole cup water

Blueberries or other berries

Greens: broccoli, spinach, purslane, cabbage

If you need it sweeter, try a quarter to half an organic banana.  Or try Xylitol.

You can put a quarter of an apple, chopped, if you are not worried about insulin resistance.  If you having a hard time losing weight, the newest research advises to limit fruit intake. Make berries your first choice.

If you like the taste, this would be a great time to add cinnamon, ginger or garlic.

Other Beverages

They always say drink plenty of water, but really—it is boring to drink that much water, especially if you live in the cooler climates. So, I find ways to make my hot drinks count! Here is my A-List to choose from.

1-Dandleion Tea or Dandy Instant Dandelion Beverage.

2-Apple Cider vinegar and honey (or use stevia) in hot water.

3-Master Cleanser (lemons, maple syrup, cayenne) in hot water.

4-Decaf green tea or herbal teas.

5-Teeccino Java Herbal “Coffee”

6-Ginger Tea—chopped ginger steeped in hot water.

DIY Detox: Cleansing Supplement

In the spirit of Do It Yourself energy, I am entering September with a detox.  Fall always arrives suddenly to me. I know it is the turn I denote by the calendar, but still, it seems startling when I walk outside and though the sun is shining, I sense the oncoming winter beginning to stir.  It seems appropriate to make a change myself, allowing this human animal to channel an instinctual urgency to prepare for the shift in seasons.

Why to do this? This is best answered by motivation. I have plenty of energy and I don’t get many colds. However, I do have insomnia. And I would like to see if I can challenge my genetically inherited apple shape to lose a bit of its middle. And truth be told, I would love to see some of my former libido return. I want my moods steady and my mind sharp. Finally, it is the simple fact that I have lived for a rather long time on this planet by paleo standards. I have accumulated toxins I don’t even know how to pronounce. So, it seems like a good idea.

How am I doing it? Why, DIY, of course. I am taking a bit of this and a bit of that, to make the best detox for me and my lifestyle.

Start the say with Master Cleanse

You can google Master Cleanse and get all kinds of information. There are fasts that go with the Master Cleanse and diets that use it extensively.  I like the taste of it, and so having it in the morning makes me feel good, and maybe also as a refresher in the afternoon.  Here is the basic recipe: Squeeze Fresh lemon Juice, then add Maple Syrup, and Cayenne Pepper into Pure Water. Drink that one down before you drink your green tea, the alternative morning beverage to coffee.

Use a cleansing support supplement

All detox diets use a basic cleansing supplement, containing the standardized herbs that are known to cleanse and support the liver, kidney or blood. Look for milk thistle, dandelion, burdock. I use my own nettle tincture, made from the springtime fresh growing nettles in my backyard, but any nettle tincture or freeze dried nettle supplement will work. FYI: Take your herbal supplements once or twice a day with your smoothie (more on that tomorrow), not on an empty stomach.

As a budding herbalist, I love it that these liver strengthening “herbs” are Old World weeds that essentially followed us into the New World. One could say, out of the Plant wisdom and generosity, they knew we would need them.

One could get lost in the world of what to take for Detox Support. I know, I have done it. But I think I know enough now to begin the process, and that’s what’s important just now. To begin.