It’s that time of the year again when the Lenten days leading up to Easter call for special attention to cleansing the self.
Whether you’re on vacation or staying put at home, there are simple regimens you can do, anytime, anywhere. The following suggestions do not comprise a diet, but a program.
Lighten the load
We carry way too much load each day—mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. What if we eased up on the over-thinking, worrying, fretting, complaining, bingeing?
Physical—Anything and everything you put in your mouth is due for serious analysis. Study all the beverages you drink and the food and snacks you eat.
Water—Rate this high on your priority list. Drink at least three pints (1.7 l of water per day). Should this become boring and repetitive to you, add some natural flavoring like honey, lemon, and a sprig of peppermint or basil.
Juices—Go for fresh fruits, squeezed just before you consume them. If your intention is to cleanse, exclude oranges from the list. It’s the most acidic of fruits. Try instead tangerines, dalanghita, dayap/lime and lemons. Contrary to common belief, these are alkaline. Why should we avoid acidic foods? Because they put a strain on the liver.
Fruits/foods—Remove the following items if you are taking your detoxification seriously:
Avocados/bananas—Too starchy and fatty
Bread—Gluten in wheat flour may be difficult to digest.
Caffeine—It is a chemical stimulant; you need to rest from this.
Chocolate—Too much fat and sugar
Lentils/beans—Too much gas, even if fiber-rich
Mushrooms—Too much fungus
Peanuts—Contain fat and starch
Salt—High sodium levels result in potassium deficiency
Sugar—Causes blood glucose levels to rise and fall quickly, thus disturbing appetite and body energy levels
Tomatoes—Too high in acid
Miscellaneous goodies: Oils like grapeseed, olive, sesame and walnut are beneficial to your health. Recent studies on virgin coconut oil have decriminalized this misunderstood and now highly praised saturated fat. Whatever fat it contains is not stored by the liver and is used as energy.
Seaweed, miso, soy/tofu, tahini (compounded sesame seeds), unsalted rice cakes, and black and green olives can be used for healthy snacking.
Oily fish like mackerel, salmon and herring have added omega-3 benefits. If you cannot have fresh fish and resort to salted canned fish, make sure to rinse it with water. White fish is light and easy on the stomach.
Nuts, while high in calories, are rich in protein, fiber and potassium. Include almonds, cashew, chestnuts, walnuts, macadamias, pine nuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts and pecans.
Each meal should have portions or heaping tablespoons of nutritious food (note: one portion= one full tablespoon), and every meal must ideally include a combination of three portions of carbohydrates (especially rice), vegetables, protein or miscellaneous goodies.
Believe it or not, rice is considered one of the most absorbent of carbohydrates. It literally acts like a plunger for the intestines, causing a flushing effect. Rice travels through the intestines, collecting with it all the waste along the way. The best rice of all is short-grain brown rice. For cleansing purposes, use only brown.
Unshackle your mind now. In the next few days, erase problems from your worry list. In fact, destroy that list.
The more you stress about your problems, the heavier your mental luggage.
Over-exertion can be a bad thing. This, because putting a strain on your muscular and skeletal system will lead to pain and damage.
If you decrease your physical exertion in the gym or workout and go for repetitive, mild exercise, then you are giving your body a much-deserved break.
No handbag rule: If you can manage, leave your office/working bag behind. Replace it with a sporty vacation tote. Even psychologically, this ought to make you feel lighter.
Relaxation exercise: Find a comfortable, quiet corner. Sit quietly for 10-15 minutes. Close your eyes. Just flow with your inner rhythm. Inhale, exhale slowly, deeply.
Yes, it’s time to listen more intently to your heart. It never lies to you. So, give it quality time by connecting to your inner self.
There is a voice that speaks to you in silence. Therefore, shut yourself off from the noise and confusion of this hurried and harassed world. The wisdom you will intuitively learn can be a source of inspiration and contentment.
Pause for prayer
Make time to say a little prayer or to use Body Prayer as espoused by Fr. Joe Quilongquilong of Ateneo. Simple prayers accompanied by the flow and swing of your inner momentum will naturally move you if you learn to simply let go. By allowing the spirit to move you, once you are aligned with heavenly thoughts, not only do you achieve a spiritual workout but also a physical one.
Walk, if you will, into the sunrise or sunset, symbolic of rebirth and release. Early morning walks are soothing to the spirit and senses.
Soulful affirmation: “I am with the heart of God.”
Love and light!
Reference: “Detox Yourself,” by Jane Scrivener