Emotional Detox

Posted September 12th, 2011 in Detoxification, Featured, Naturopathy by Hannah Yang

There’s something very melancholic and wistful about the changing of seasons – especially from summer to autumn, when everything just starts to….well….die.  With Spring  there is the earthy, mossy scented scattering of rain-showers, bringing with it the first green buds of life. The breeze comes calling with a little more warmth, promising sunshine and, to many hot-blooded heterosexual males out there, short skirts skimming the tops of lean (albeit pale) thighs.  But with autumn, the mood is more sombre.  The fresh scents of summer flowers, fresh-cut grass and grilling meat on charcoal bbq’s become muted by the northern winds that always seem to give a slightly frosty, metallic tinge to the nose.  The leaves that once created a green ceiling over streets and boulevards have now been converted to a multi-coloured carpet.  Now, I love the fall, in spite of the slightly depressing tone that comes with it.  Fall fashion always brings a smile to my face – the mixture of textures, colours that glow like embers, layering wools with silks, knee socks, open-toed booties, bright scarves….Autumn cooking is also a seasonal delight, with the apple pies and crumbles, pumpkin soups and muffins, butternut squash, root vegetables, slow-simmering meats in pressure cookers – ha!  Even the foodfare is dressed in fall fashion colours!  But I think what is probably most significant in a Naturopath’s world is that transition seasons call for Detoxification!  It is during this time that your body naturally starts to prepare for winter’s long haul of hibernation – it is during this time that it is best (both in eastern and western philosophies) to allow your body this chance to do a little bit of intercellular cleaning and give yourself a break from all of the things that summer patios and all-inclusive vacations do so well.  Fall is Detox Season.

Now it would be irresponsible of me to publish a detoxification programme on my blog for everyone to follow as each individual has unique needs, and detoxifications should not be taken lightly.  It isn’t about starving yourself in order to lose the beer belly – it’s about respecting your body’s organ systems and allowing them a temporary vacation from the excesses of the summer and being mindful of what you put (or not put) into it.  Not only is it about a clean diet in order to help clean out your digestive organs, but it’s about aiding the other organ systems to help flush out the toxins.  From your lungs to your kidneys, to your skin to your soul – these are ALL going to get rid of their shit.  Yes…even your soul, which brings me to the point of this here blog entry.  Beware the emotional detoxification that may occur during the physical detox.

Baggage.  We all have it.  We all deal with some of it, ignore others – some of us successfully shed a few pieces of luggage only to collect a couple of other key pieces.  It’s a constant battle to try to either dump it out so that you never have to carry it around again, or to hide it so that nobody else (including yourself) will see how absolutely f&*ked up you truly are, but no matter what your method of compensation, all your shit eventually comes to the surface.  Especially during a detox.  So be prepared for that really special side of yourself that seems to only make an appearance during Christmas dinners and family vacations, because I can almost guarantee that it will be triggered to come out again.  And when it does, acknowledge it.  Be present with the anger, the hurt, the pain, the fear.  Understand that it comes from a place of wanting to protect yourself.  But then try to let it go.  Much easier said than done.  I know.  TRUST ME, I know.  Six months of meditating in various ashrams in India, a divorce, a start-over in a new country, eloping, another start-over professionally, avoiding, crying, praying, yoga-ing, journaling, blogging, raging against anyone who tries to tell me what to do and I’m STILL dealing with the same.old.shit.  During that time I have found solace in running away, writing, wine, marijuana, music and a few relationships, both toxic and nurturing (friends, family and lovers) some of which i’ve let go of, some of which i’m still clinging to.  But it’s a process – a lifelong one – one that will require more than a few more years of all of the above.  But if you take care of your body, it makes it easier to take care of your mind.  Detoxify.  Breathe. Then rinse.  And repeat.

Sickness Blues

Posted October 26th, 2010 in Naturopathy, cold and flu, home remedies, homeopathy by Hannah Yang

I am a really really bad sick person.  I know that most of the time, we women have the pleasure of condescending to our male counterparts when it comes to being able to ‘’suck it up and take it’’ when inflicted with some sort of flu or cold virus.  We place cool caring hands on hot feverish foreheads and make chicken soup from scratch and bring our (lame) boyfriends/partners juice and rent DVD’s when they are feeling sick while inwardly rolling our eyes at the male body’s absolute inability to deal with even the smallest of sniffles without looking for someone to mother them.  Oh…shove a tit in it! I want to say at times when a large, hairy, mouth-breathing, congested crybaby asks for a belly rub.  And then….I hate to admit it, but shamefully, I join the ranks of these young soldiers in the sickness trenches.  I am a freaking whiny baby when I have a cold too.

Everything just seems Wrong in the world when your body is too weak to perform simple tasks without having it scream out against you, like eating, or going to the toilet.  The imbalance that one feels – like when one nostril is completely blocked and the other one is so clear that every inhalation feels like knives whizzing past your sinuses?  I am in awe of my friends who are able to go to work with a runny nose and a rattling chesty cough and a mild fever.  Why?  Why put yourself through that sort of torture?  Why Be A Hero?

Being a Naturopath, I feel I have a bit more leeway with my sick days and how easily I can cave when it comes to cancelling patients and staying home.  I cancelled my patients yesterday a) to avoid leaving the house and the warm confines of my husband’s track pants and b) because it’s just intelligent PR.  Who wants to see a dripping, nasally, sneezy, wheezy naturopath?  It’s like signing up with a fat fitness trainer.

I feel that in our society, one is made far too guilty for calling in sick.  I know that sometimes in life you just do not have the luxury of being able to lie in bed all day, not with deadlines and projects and bills to pay – I get it.  But sometimes that one day you spend in bed with a pot of herbal tea and the latest season of Mad Men will bring your healing time from a dragged out miserable (and not so productive) 2 weeks down to a 4-day recovery slot.  Sometimes it IS just worth it to do yourself a favour.

But how about those times where you cannot afford to miss work?  Well, make sure you have these things in your medicine cupboard at all times – powdered Vitamin C (Metagenics Ultra Potency-C Powder – 1000mg per quarter teaspoon – it’s potent stuff), a good quality Zinc (Biocare – 30 mg capsules), a good probiotic (BioKult – www.bio-kult.com) and tons of raw ginger, good honey (manuka if you can afford it) and lemon (organic, preferably).  What do you do with all of this?  At the ONSET of the sniffles, take about 4000mg of vitamin C – this potent antioxidant will help boost your immunity and clear out any toxins.  Then every hour, take another 1000mg until you start getting the farts (oh beware these farts – they WILL clear a room) or loose stools.  Then you stop.  Throughout the day make a HUGE pot of Lemon/Ginger/Honey infusion and drink as much as you want.  Lemon supports your liver to flush out the toxins, ginger is good for your lungs and is warming and honey (especially Manuka) is nature’s antibiotic and will help fight off whatever has invaded your body and made you feel like a heaping pile of steamy poo.  Keep hydrated, so drink lots of water too.  Take 2 capsules of the probiotics at every meal to help your immunity as 80% of your immune system is along your gut and without probiotics, no immunity.  Before you go to bed, take 60 mg of Zinc – another immune booster and cell-healer.  In the morning, you should feel about 60% – 100% better (depending on how early you started this regime) – enough to be able to make it through a day of work.  If you catch it early enough, botanical treatments such as Echinacea purpura or Red Korean Ginseng can give your immune system the boost it needs to fight it off before it turns you into a zombie.  Aconite 30CH homeopathically can also help – but only if caught at the Very Beginning – like when you start feeling like you’re About to turn into a blood-sucking zombie.

In the meantime, learn to listen to your body before it breaks down on you.  If you’re getting sick more than twice a year, or if it’s taking you more than a week to get over something, it’s probably high time that you change something in your life to support your immune system.  You can start by going to see your friendly neighbourhood Naturopath.