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To detox or not to!

To detox or not to!
Highlights

Kartikamasam, the Telugu month considered to be supremely auspicious begins immediately after Diwali. For the devout, it is all about prayers and...

Cleansing gives a natural high and energy and inspires you to keep one good habit

Kartikamasam, the Telugu month considered to be supremely auspicious begins immediately after Diwali. For the devout, it is all about prayers and fasting, especially on days considered important. A few go without food of any kind; a few others do supplement their fasting with fruit juices or cut fruits and a few others just drink water. The fast usually ends with a meal usually minus the masala, ginger garlic, etc. It is usually “satvik” food minus too much salt and strong flavours. Doesn’t this sound familiar to some of the modern-day detox formulae. In fact, if you look at traditional practices, every religion preaches fasting at some point; we need to look back at our history and traditions says noted nutritionist and dietician Sridevi Jasti. “In fact, when you want books on detox, all you find are Western books and concepts. We need to look at detox closer home,” she adds.

In fact, Ayurveda recommends fasting (in limitation and according to body type and ailments) and says that it helps to exercise control over mind, brings clarity of thoughts, helps clear stomach and intestine and aids digestion, helps in overcoming laziness and makes you feel lighter inside (from a blog by Dr JV Hebbar, easyayurveda.com) – and these are mostly the benefits that a detox too promises to bring to the body.

Even while there is no foundation to the concept of washing away toxins from the body by following a diet regime according to Western concepts of medicine, Detox is becoming extremely popular all over the world, with hotels, health-conscious individuals, nutritionists and entrepreneurs developing their brand of detox juices embracing the concept with gusto. And despite the raging debate between the scientifically inclined who do have a point when they say that there is no tangible proof of the benefit of detox; the people who follow it and those who propagate it vouch for the feeling of goodness that is associated with it.

It is a common practice to see the breakfast buffets in major hotels ensuring that there is a vegetable juice, or a combination juice made using fruits and vegetables on the menu in addition to a few superfoods. Sometimes just a slice of cucumber or ginger or a piece of cinnamon, etc is dropped into plain water, kept in the fridge overnight and is presented for the breakfast. Yet again, one is reminded of holy basil that is traditionally kept in water and had the first thing in the mornings.

Executive Chef Thimma of The Park Hyderabad has introduced Detox Shots as a part of his Sunday buffet menu. “After a night of Saturday partying, food, and alcohol the body needs a certain amount of good happening to it. We use ingredients like ginger that is anti-inflammatory and digestion-aiding along with mint and carrot, wheatgrass, green apple, cucumber and lemon and fresh turmeric that fights bacteria, to make our shots alongside health food like fresh salad, quinoa and flax seeds,” he shares. “It is during the past two years that I see this increased health consciousness in Hyderabad.”
As more and more people are leaning towards detox in the hope of a better mental and physical health, nutritionists and people in the business of health foods and supplements are honing their skills in making the process of detox an enjoyable and wholesome experience.

“Trying to eat better than what you have been eating is also a kind of detox,” says Sridevi Jasti. “For someone who is used to eating junk and out all the time, switching to home cooked food and being aware of eating healthy is detox.” While, practising healthy eating habits is any day a good practice, if one is aiming to take up a detox regime, one needs to do it with proper understanding of the process and with complete knowledge of what one is getting into. Caution and expert guidance are prime to a safe detox agree all the stakeholders; more so if one is taking up an intense detox programme.
“I promote cleansing all the time. It gives a natural high and energy and inspires you to keep one good habit, each time you do it,” shares Sridevi, who propagates detox through various diet regimens and juices and natural supplements that she has created. However, she cautions against going ahead without expert guidance.

Sridevi Jasti recommends detox regimes that range from one-day, five-day to 21-days depending upon the individual, and her supplements are usually food-based. “We give vegetable and mineral broths (enriched with mineral - rich food) to flush out toxins, we put in a lot of superfoods, antioxidants and probiotics,” she shares. Her custom packages include a fermented tea formulation that she calls Kombucha. It is a vegan source of probiotic available in different flavours. She also does cold-pressed juices under her brand ‘Vibrant Living’. There is also healthy solid food involved. She also puts in a bit of yoga, gym and massages to make detox a holistic package. However, as they say, one size cannot fit all, which is where guidance becomes important.

“One should be mindful of the ‘fad’ word. To begin with, it is important to make an educated choice. If one is going in for a detox programme, one needs at least a day to get into detox and a day to get out of it. It cannot happen that one has been indulging in heavy food and suddenly decides to go in for intense detox programme, it may create bad side effects.”

Feeling good, energetic and clear in thoughts and even loss of weight are the good side effects of detox. Sometimes people may experience eruption on the skin or mild dysentery, which mostly is about the body releasing the toxins. But if your body is ailing or weak and you go in for a long-stretched detox programme, bad side effects can range from weakness to blackout.

Amitesh, CEO, N Coldpressed, a Hyderabad-based startup that is successfully introducing detox juices and marketing them through their website shares, “Detox reacts differently to different situations and body type. It is like a litmus test and tells about your body. If you are not used to eating healthy, the system adapts to junk, and it will not understand when you take in this all- natural, no-sugar no-salt-added juices – it reacts and pukes. It is important to be prepared before going in for a detox and that includes having a good sleep the day before.”

N Coldpressed has randomly added ingredients that provide the carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins in six bottles (that are prescribed for a day) to make natural and healthy juices made of the best quality fruits, vegetables and nuts. “We have three verticals – Nutritionist, who designs the nutritional requirement, Food Technologist, who ensures a combination that works, and stays good for long, and a consultant chef who ensures taste as much as possible. The process of detox has to be an enjoyable affair for you to continue,” shares Amitesh. People can order for their juices online, and the company ensures that calls are made to the client to constantly check on their experience and guide them. “Everything needs a break, and by drinking our detox juice you will be giving your body a break from unhealthy eating,” he adds. “It is not about replacing meals. We are ensuring that the natural and healthy ingredients in tasty combinations help in cleansing the body, and by drinking juices you conserve energy while digesting,” he explains.

No wonder N Coldpressed juices read delicious – a ‘Quick Fix’ has sweet lime, beetroot, gooseberry, ginger and chia seeds; yet another juice ‘Pro Pack’ has broccoli, moringa leaves, red apple, almonds, figs and hemp seeds – Detox does not sound so difficult to follow if broccoli, beetroot or wheatgrass is made palatable by adding few other tasty and healthy ingredients.

In short, it is fine to go in for a mild detox on your own by nourishing yourselves with water, coconut water, vegetable juices, etc that will keep you hyderated and not make you go weak; but only for a day or two. An extensive detox regimen should be adopted only after proper consultation and guidance of an expert.

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