Part I of this topic was written many years ago and recently reposted because of the interest in this topic by Marie Claire Australia.
I thought I would take the opportunity of Festive season indulgences to expand upon the idea of how you could start the new year feeling fantastic. The bottom line is that it is important for your body to be in an alkaline state. In Chinese medicine we say there are only two places from which you can get energy “ the food that you eat and the air that you breathe”. When your body is alkaline you are better able to absorb nutrients from the food you eat and your blood is more highly oxygenated so you will have boundless energy, your immune system will be stronger and you will feel happier within yourself.
Christmas tends to be a time when we over indulge in party food. Eating like this affects the pH of your body because this food tends to be rather acidic, it is usually highly processed and filled with chemicals, flavours and preservatives as well as being full of sugar or artificial sweeteners. The Christmas party schedule also tends to result in consuming too much alcohol and then to keep up with this crazy pace requires over indulging in caffeine. When your body is acidic you are essentially not absorbing essential nutrients from your food, additionally toxins and waste from your cells are not being properly eliminated. An acidic body is also a great environment for the growth of viruses and bacteria. All this boils down to feeling tired, toxic and sick. On top of that overeating blocks the flow of your qi, from a Chinese medical perspective, and that also contributes to feeling sick and tired which then often leads to more inappropriate eating so ideally try to stop eating when you are 70% full.
Alkalising is vital to maintaining good health, maximising your body’s energy levels, preventing chronic illness and promoting healing.
Spending time after your Christmas indulgences detoxing and alkalising can help you have plenty of energy for a fun and active summer.
Even if your diet is good, an annual alkalising detox can revitalise your internal ecosystem. Ideally this should be done over a 4-week period but try to last at least 10 days to get some benefit. It is great if you can then repeat this process every 6 months.
The best times to detox from a Chinese medicine perspective is in Spring when your Liver energy is strongest and in Autumn when your Lung energy is strongest as both these organs are important in detoxing. So schedule in a big cleanse every March and September and little one after Christmas.
For those who are new to the idea of detoxing there are two main steps to an alkalising detox.
- The first is to avoid eating foods that add acidity (or toxicity) to your body like alcohol, sugar, caffeine, nicotine, processed food and too much red meat. When you stop consuming toxins your body can start to eliminate the stored toxins.
- The second step is to add alkalising foods to your diet. Eat nourishing foods like fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, white meat and fish and drink plenty of spring water. You can support the process by adding lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to your water. Part I has recipes for the wonderfully alkalising apple cider vinegar drink and lemon drink.
Other things you should consider when alkalising is the toxicity of modern life – all the pollution and chemicals in the air, skin and hair care products you use, the water and food you consume – disrupts your body systems. Your body tries to protect you from dangerous substances by setting them aside, surrounding them with mucous and fat so that they will not cause an imbalance or trigger an immune response. Once you stop putting toxins in your body and start alkalising then your body will start to release old stored toxins and you may experience symptoms such as headaches, nausea, irritability, rashes or tiredness but this should pass after about 2-3 days. Also once you start shedding toxins you will also shed the fat cells that were storing them and have a bonus loss of weight. So pay attention to not only what you put in your body but what you put on your body.
These guidelines are the foundation for the post festive season 10-day detox that I will share with you in Part III so stay tuned.
For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Tania Grasseschi (Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs and Wholefood counselling). Tania is a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (AHPRA registered) in Katoomba and Botany and is a Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Sydney campus.