New Year’s Eve and all I can hear is a sketchy rendition of Steely Dan’s “Are you reelin’ in the years?” It’s that prickly time of the calendar year that we set our intentions to detoxify our bodies, lose the Xmas pudding pounds, and survive the mosh-pit that is school holidays. I personally prefer the more extreme “wall of death” mosh with my kids – swinging my arms back and forth and moving my legs in a rhythmic fashion. Some might call this dancing but I call it losing my mind…..and it is only January.
I am one of those peeps that don’t buy into the New Year’s rave. The only NY’s resolution I want is to be Matt Corby’s – the rest of the weightless declarations for a better life seems a little deft to me. I have resigned to rolling with the punches of my monthly Zodiac rather than proclaim a newer version of my Self. I figure I’ve been in a 39 year cycle of bodily renewal – just a little in reverse – as my body ages, my mind improves – and that’s a good thing because my 20’s were MENTAL.
I am greatly amused by the word detox – the one single word that separates my profession from the average highly paid neuro-surgeon (sarcasm intended). The word detox as specifically defined as: deprivation of biblical proportion. A 6 week stint of birdseed, alfalfa & (filtered spring) water and your inner Rebel Wilson magically morphs into Sarah Wilson kind of action…..(see below)
I have experienced a lot of detoxification in my time. Guinea-pigged myself into all kinds of health oblivion – juice fasting, liver purging, skin brushing, hot & cold baths… so on and so forth. I have had long moments of confronting addictive patterns, gut wrenching emotions, life stalling decisions over whether sugar and coffee could really be that bad for the human body. They were both plants at some point, right? ….Catch my drift.
You know those moments – hanging on the fridge door like a demented Orangutan, seeking the holy grail of flavour that heals like Ghandi but tastes like Nigella Lawson – something akin to dry chic-peas Vs fresh warm chocolate croissants. The moments you find yourself swaying psychopathically in front of the pantry with an absence of hunger but sudden fetish for food. And not just any food, it’s the kind of stuff that didn’t interest you last week – like vegemite on dry weetbix: a food marriage made in hell.
The body is well equipped and able to heal and regenerate the cells of itself by itself, simply because it is intrinsic to the body. Given the right environment and conditions the body has the inner wisdom and ingenuity to cleanse, restore and rebuild cells. Our greatest obstacle is providing that unique platform for health & healing. Our natural evolution towards food pollution, poor eating habits, processed foods, anxiety and stress wages a daily war on our biology which complicates the natural channels of detoxifying. There is little kindness in the way we tend to our innards, and even when it comes to outrageous health kicks – our New Year Health Resolutions can be risky deals littered with self-flagellation and impermanence.
Wait! Did I just say that Detox’s were a waste of time?
NO. But you were swinging on the fridge door hoping that I did?
Sometimes the body needs to be pushed. Sometimes organs don’t do their job well. Sometimes we need to declare our intent of being ‘healthier’ via a systematic course of weeding, seeding and rebuilding. And though these are all valid reasons to therapeutically detoxify your body, know that the benefits of providing the right conditions for your body to cleanse naturally is the best LONG-TERM approach to health I bear witness to. Which is to say a culmination of daily gestures of movement, fresh food and inspiration. I use Detox programs in my clinic. They are purposeful in their intent – to push the body’s channels of elimination and declare a state of renewed well-being. They are not a beacon of ultimate transformation and serve mostly as a passage to a healthier version of Self by simply coming to understand our body more intimately and to teach people how to lovingly provide the platform for ongoing and habitual health. It’s about making an effort to think clean & eat clean and then feeling good about it – knowing that at any given time we stray from the pious road of perfection we have created a well-oiled machine of self love and vitality.
Melanie Robinson ND BHSc Naturopath, Mother, Health Blogger, IGNITE 2015: Food as Medicine, Contributor to Nurture Magazine and occasionally a demented Orangutan hanging from her fridge door……