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Glossed in Translation

5 ways to detox before leaving the house

Practice these daily to keep that miserable juice cleanse away
/ 06:00 AM July 03, 2015

Most people think of detoxing as this main event that takes up at least an entire week of their lives, and requires a month of preparation. But if you practice small ways to detox every day, you’ll need to go through another miserable cleanse less often.

Ayurveda, an ancient system of traditional Hindu medicine, practices holistic methods of improving health. Ayurvedic doctors don’t just see a symptom and prescribe medicine to alleviate it—they look for the root of the problem by taking stock of your entire lifestyle.

Practicing Ayurveda requires serious dedication, such as balancing the three elemental substances or doshas—Vata, space and air; Pitta, fire and water; Kapha, water and earth—and mastering the eight canonical components derived from classical Sanskrit literature.

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If you’re just looking to dip your toes into the practice, here are five habits rooted in Ayurveda that can aid in detoxifying your body daily. 

Start the day by scraping your tongue.

Most people wake up with pretty bad breath in the morning, but what many aren’t aware of is that the foul smell and taste in your mouth is because of bacteria in your saliva. When you sleep, your mouth dries out, causing bacteria to proliferate—and your tongue is the hotbed of bacterial activity. In fact, the discoloration of tongues due to accumulating toxicity is a sign of poor health, especially among smokers.

It only makes sense then to scrape your tongue the moment you wake up. Plastic tongue scrapers are widely available, but gold, silver, copper, tin and brass tongue scrapers are recommended. Gently scrape your tongue from back to front seven to 14 times, and you’ll see all the gunk that’s removed. After, you’ll also notice that you’re able to taste your food better in the morning.

Follow it up with oil pulling.

This ancient Ayurvedic dental technique draws out toxins and reduces inflammation. Because holistic doctors believe that saliva traps toxins within its oil particles, swishing oil inside the mouth will cause like to attract like. Reported benefits include whiter teeth, cavity and gingivitis prevention, better breath, stronger teeth and gums, improved sleep and sinus issues and, in some cases, alleviated heartaches.

To oil pull, simply swish a tablespoon of oil (coconut oil is most recommended) in your mouth for 20 minutes. After, spit it out (never swallow; it’s full of toxins!) and brush your teeth right after. While this alone isn’t enough to prevent cavities or tooth decay, what it can do is draw out mucous from the body, clearing up the congestion that most people experience in the morning.

Jumpstart your immune system with an apple cider vinegar drink.

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Believed to be a strong immunity booster and healthy herbal supplement, apple cider vinegar works as a purifying agent in the body. Apart from breaking down mucous and phlegm, it also promotes digestion and neutralizes toxins. Because it contains potassium, it reduces the effects of allergies and the common cold. For those with hyperacidity, drinking warm water with apple cider vinegar helps balance stomach acids.

Every morning, drink a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of honey and up to three tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (the amount depends on your tolerance for the taste). Used topically, apple cider vinegar can treat acne, boils, pustules, even dandruff.

Energize with dry brushing.

Known as garshana, this is a traditional Ayurvedic dry massage that stimulates the skin, enhances lymphatic drainage, encourages blood circulation and releases toxins.

On the surface, it’s an effective way to exfoliate every day, and over time, it’s been said to decrease the appearance of cellulite.

The best time to dry brush is before taking a shower or breaking a sweat. Start from the bottom of your feet, working your way up toward your heart using short, firm strokes. Avoid sensitive areas, along with your face, chest and heart. To encourage the release of toxins, alternate from hot to cold water for a few cycles. This will leave you feeling invigorated.

Break a sweat!

Sweat is the ultimate natural detoxifier, and in our hot, humid country, we rarely have to make an effort to perspire. However, in order to experience the detoxifying benefits of sweating, it’s important to wipe away the perspiration as soon as it rises to the surface. Otherwise, if you allow your sweat to dry, your skin will just reabsorb all of the toxins you worked so hard to dispel.

Sweat can eliminate harmful toxins and chemicals, like phthalates, bisphenol A (known as BPA, a harmful chemical used in plastics) and heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury. You don’t need anyone to tell you how beneficial exercise is for your health, but if you’re not the active type, you can always try something like Bikram or hot yoga, or even make the most of your country club sauna.

Art by Dorothy Guya

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TAGS: apple cider, Ayurveda, Detox, dry brushing, Exercise, Oil Pulling
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