Freedom from Toxins

It pays to reduce all sources of toxins from our life - including poor food choices, toxic chemical use, and even toxic thoughts

Man having tea and breakfast

Pesticides, herbicides, radiation, preservatives, air and noise pollution from automobiles, electronic gadgets and other untold toxic residues exist globally in various proportions.

It also seems that toxic exposure to some extent has become simply unavoidable, more so in the last few decades. Chemical by-products are in our water, our food, and our air. Exposure damages the body, and places a high demand on our bodies’ natural detoxification mechanisms. Result: it is clear that human intervention has become urgently essential to cleanse the planet and also ourselves periodically, systemically, and safely.

Detoxification is the process of clearing toxins from the body, neutralising, or transforming them, and clearing excess mucous and congestion. Many of these toxins come from our diet, drug [ab]use, and environmental exposure – both acute and chronic. Internally, fats, especially oxidised fats and cholesterol, free radicals, and other irritating molecules act as toxins. Poor digestion, colon sluggishness and dysfunction, reduced liver function, and poor elimination through the kidneys, respiratory tract, and skin all add to increased toxicity.

The skin, the kidneys, the bowels, and the liver are the best known detox organs. Daily elimination, good intake of water, skin care, regular physical exercise, and balanced nutrition are essential to keeping these systems intact – and, also for giving them the ability to efficiently and effectively eliminate toxins from the body.

But, what happens when we fall off the proverbial wagon, and invariably slip into drinking too much caffeine, alcohol, eating junk-food, and sweets, several times a day, and/or skipping our daily work-out? Being typical workaholics with no holidays or relaxation etc., can also add up to slowing down the detox organs of your body.

This results in skin changes; it may get rough, or oily, with acne or eczema. We gain weight, the bowels go kaput, and energy becomes sluggish. This leads to headaches, weak immunity, addictions, heart burn, nausea, pains in the joints, the neck, and the abdomen.

In addition, premenstrual syndrome, irritability, sinus drainage, or headache remind us that it’s time to clean up. Our detox systems tell us that they help best those who help themselves.

The important rule is to treat the cause: eliminate all sources of toxins from your life, including poor food choices, toxic chemical use, even toxic thoughts. The physical system should be daily cleansed to avoid piling up of toxic material, or one could do it once in a fortnight, or according to change of seasons too.

“At-home” cleansing

There are some simple effective procedures that one can follow at home to cleanse the body. The daily regimen advocated by ayurveda called the dinacharya and ritucharya [seasonal regimen] aims at this cleansing. This helps prevent premature aging and diseases.

Eat whole, fresh, natural foods, and organic – if possible. Buy your produce fresh, and consume it quickly. Eat cooked foods, warm, or at room temperature. Stick to lighter, easier-to-digest foods from the choices you have. Drink lots of warm water through the day. Accompany meals with small sips of warm water as needed. Eliminate junk-foods from your diet. Avoid heavy desserts, heavy meat and cheese, deep-fried foods, candy and chocolate, white sugar, carbonated drinks, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.

Minimise breads made with yeast and fermented foods. This includes left-overs, foods with preservatives, additives or chemicals, and foods grown in an environment laced with chemical fertilisers or pesticides, and canned, frozen or processed foods.

Avoid iced-water and cold beverages. Avoid excessive raw foods such as uncooked salads, sprouts and cold sandwiches, because raw foods are harder on the digestive system. Avoid yogurt, as it sometimes clogs the channels of the body.

A detoxifying “tea” is always better. Coriander, cumin, pepper, fennel and ajwain [Carum copticum] are digestion-enhancing spices to choose from. Water, boiled with fresh ginger pieces, cumin, fennel, clove, mint, and cardamom with or without milk can be consumed daily.

Medicated lassi [buttermilk with the above spices, coriander and curry leaves] is highly recommended to cleanse and tone up the digestive system. Honey, ghee, nuts, onion, garlic, amla, turmeric, buttermilk, and food with a variety of tastes may be consumed daily.

Eat when hungry, and avoid eating when not hungry. Avoid eating in the middle of the night; no snacking; try to maintain regular eating and sleeping patterns.

Honey in warm water consumed early morning with or without lemon juice helps cleanse the skin. It also helps eliminate toxins daily.

Drinking hot water at bed-time [water boiled to be reduced to quarter of original quantity] helps tone up the urino-genital system.

Regular oil massage for the whole body not only imparts glow to the skin but also makes one relax and rejuvenate. A person sleeps much better and wakes up invigorated.

Regular elimination is important. Empty your bowel and bladder regularly to flush the toxins that have been loosened or released from the tissues, joints and organs out of the body.

Sensible water fasting or simple elimination can be adopted. Fasting can be adopted once a fortnight. It could be a day with only liquids or fresh fruit or broth or kichhadi. Taking a spoon of castor oil with one tablespoon of hot water, once a week or fortnight, helps keep the system cleansed.

Get a good deal of rest. Sleep is important any time of year, but especially during purification, when your body needs the quiet time to cleanse itself and recharge. Go to bed early and rise early. Avoid napping during the day. Exercise, done everyday, is important. Exercise early in the morning. Walking is excellent exercise for all body types. Learn some aspects of yoga and be regular in your practice. This helps to draw in oxygen and cleanse the air channels of the body.

Ayurvedic Cleansing

  • Ayurveda highly recommends periodic internal cleansing as a way to maintain good health and prevent disorders from taking root in your physiology. Just like you regularly flush out the plumbing system in your home, or change the oil in your automobile engine, helping your body flush toxins out periodically is a good maintenance technique. This will help the organs and systems stay more efficient for a longer period of time. After age 40, when your body’s own cleansing and rejuvenating capability starts slowing down, supporting it with a cleansing regime is important for on-going health and vitality. Get a cleansing panchakarma [massage] under the supervision of a qualified ayurvedic physician.
  • Take responsibility for your health and avoid toxic materials, which may also be carcinogens. Stay away from animal-based foods [meat, eggs, and excess dairy products], tobacco, excessive radiation, artificial food additives, and colourings, and pesticides. Have your tap water tested for possible chemical contamination, and test your house for radon gas.
  • Many experts surmise that toxic exposure may well be responsible for the increase in chronic diseases – e.g., cancer, arthritis, allergic reactions, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] etc., Needless to emphasise, all of us need to keep our natural “detox” mechanisms in high-functioning state.

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Shantala Priyadarshini
Shantala Priyadarshini, MS [Ayurveda], is an academician-researcher. Her areas of special interest are: chronic degenerative eye conditions, compromised states of immunity, cancer and auto-immune disorders. She lives in Mysore.


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