Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Post - Festival Detox

     Getting back to best health after a festival, wedding, vacation or any other occasion during which any quantity of rich food is consumed for a few days, is always a challenge. One’s commitment, too, has to be renewed at the earliest. 

     Of course, you can consciously shift towards healthier versions of traditional preparations yourself but it may not be possible to avoid everything offered when out socialising. When you and your family have eaten out (including bought foods like sweets, savouries and catered food) especially, it is critical to cleanse your bodies of the additives such as colouring, flavouring, preservatives, etc.

     You may have heard of juice cleanses in the media. These may or may not work but even if you opt for one, never consume only liquids for more than two days. Also, it is not safe for you to administer such a diet to children under the age of 18 years. If it is medically required, it is best done with the guidance of a Nutritionist. Juice cleanses and detoxification protocols do have value for adult health but do so in consultation with medical / alternative health professionals always.

     Real body cleansing can happen easily and tastily, with the right kind of foods and liquids. So is this all about a ‘diet’? No. This is about making radical changes in eating for a total of 1 WEEK. 

     If you sustain the majority of good habits created during this time, natural and perpetual cleansing will make you and your family glow with health.

     What to eat….It is always best to choose organic products for detoxification and yes, these foods can be cooked. Cooking with less water and for only a short duration will help retain nutrients. As far as possible, eat stuff raw. Stock up as much as possible before Diwali (or any other occasion) or else you’ll be hard pressed for time to shop as you start the work and school week.

Best Ingredients to Use…..

Whole grains ….Millets, Oats, Brown and Red rice, etc.

Whole Pulses….Sprouts, Whole grams like Channa, Moong, Horse gram, etc.

Raw Veggies….Green leaves and veggies, colourful vegetables.

Fruits…..Regional and seasonal varieties are best.

Seeds and nuts….Pumpkin, watermelon, flaxseeds, walnuts and almonds.

Dairy….Organic milk, curds, cheese if possible. If not, limit dairy intake to just bare minimum in adults and half of usual quantity for kids (or cut out completely for the duration– they will be making up on Calcium and Protein with nuts, seeds, green leaves and sprouts).

Meat…. Consume once or twice this week if you need to. Choose organic, grass fed poultry and wild caught fresh water fish…. Marine fish have higher levels of mercury and other heavy metals. Ordinary meat and poultry contain antibiotics and residues of other chemicals.

Healing Cooking Oils....Organic cold pressed coconut / sesame / mustard / kardi (safflower) / olive oils. Organic and cold pressed oils retain the highest amount of healing properties in those oils.

Superfoods (all organic as far as possible) like Green / Herbal Tea, Amla (gooseberry), Methi sprouts, Hemp seeds / oil, Avocados, Wheatgrass (fresh or powder), Kombucha, Spirulina and Chia seeds.

1 – 2 litres of purified water (depending on age). 2 + litres for adults.

Must Avoid at All Costs…..
Sugar or jaggery, any food with added sugar (candies, chocolates, baked goods), processed and fast foods, coffee, milk tea, foods from external vendors (including eating out as well), starchy refined foods such as white rice and white bread, refined oils, deep fried foods and every other type of food you ever heard was bad for you (just in case I missed anything), too.

     Specific foods and spices that aid in detoxification -
Include a lot of these during this week and use them regularly in large quantities from now on.

     Coriander, Garlic, Papaya (with seeds), Watermelon (with seeds), Lemon (with seeds), Moong (green gram) sprouts or any sprouts for that matter, Beetroots, Turmeric (raw and powder), Flaxseeds (don’t roast), Almonds, Avocados, Cabbage, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pineapples, Sesame seeds, oil and butter and Wheatgrass.

 Inputs from Creative Movement Expert, Mrinalini Sekar:

   Cleansing through physical activity: 

“    For children and adults, any aerobic activities especially those which make you sweat, help to eliminate waste partly because the skin is a major route for excretion of toxins. 

     Toxins stored in fat tissue are released, kidneys filter and excrete unhealthy compounds more efficiently and exercise also stimulates regular bowel movements. So at least 45 minutes of vigorous exercise / play is essential on the days you are cleansing your system. 

     During festival / vacation time, encourage children to be active. Even better, walk the talk and keep exercising, yourselves.  Engaging yourselves in activity empowers you to control festival indulgences.

     Don’t forget ‘Dancercise’… organise some music and create a dance event for everyone who has gathered. Include the very young children and seniors too!"

Apart from cleansing through food, also teach your child to breathe deeply. Enrol yourselves in a Pranayama class and teach them the importance of breathing properly, especially during physical activity.

Detox Smoothie Recipes: (Have everyone in your family drink at least one veggie / fruit combo juice + one green juice during the day). Add seeds / nuts for more protein calcium and good fats.

1] Anti-inflammatory Banana-Turmeric Smoothie: (Credit Rob R, www.yummly.com)


Curds (yoghurt) – 2 cups
Bananas – 2 big or 3 small
Mango / apple / orange – 1 no.
Ginger – 1 inch piece, freshly grated
Forest Honey – 2 tsps
Lemon juice – 1 no., freshly sqeezed
Turmeric – 3 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1 ½ tsp / 2 inch medium pc.
Himalayan pink salt – a pinch.
1 cup water or more if you want it thinner to serve more people.
Makes 3 – 4 servings.
Blend all ingredients together in a mixie / blender till a smooth consistency is reached. Play around with the quantities and innovate.

2] Green Smoothie: (Chew your green juice to get your saliva going as it contains enzymes important for digestion and absorption).


Spinach, Amaranth and Dill (sompukeerai / sapsige/ savaa / shepu) – 1 small bunch each. (Dill is strongly flavoured so introduce it cheerfully to your kids)
Apple -1 no.
Strawberries 1 cup / Orange – 1 no.
Ginger – 1 inch pc
1 cup water or more if you want to dilute it. ***

     Natural Colon Cleansers for kids and grownups…. The colon forms the end of the intestine and its effective functioning is vital for good digestion and absorption. 

     Enemas and colonics may be required in certain medical conditions but these natural food cleanses do a good enough job if consumed monthly. Drink any two cleansing drinks twice in your detox week.  Don’t worry if kids (or you) have loose stools for a couple of days after or if they are a weird colour. That’s just gunk accumulated in your gut being discharged.
A)  Add 1 tsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 tsp of freshly grated ginger to a cup (200ml) of freshly boiled and purified water.
B)  Add 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 tbsp honey and a teaspoon of lemon juice to a cup of freshly boiled and purified water.
C)  Slice an aloe leaf lengthwise and remove the valuable gel. Add 1 tbsp of this gel and 1 tbsp lemon juice to a cup of room temperature purified water, mix well and drink immediately. Use 1 tsp of the two ingredients for children under 16 yrs of age. Add 1 tsp honey if required. 

A festival, vacation or wedding doesn’t even need to be all about the food. Shift the focus (through conversations with your kids) from food to observing and understanding the actual rituals, meeting and getting connected to family members, making new friends and playing (a lot, even you). This is a conscious process and involves effort when you or family members are otherwise inclined. So get active, disconnect from your electronic gadgets and have fun this festival season.

The edited version of this which appeared in Parent Circle, November 2015 issue:

Feedback about this article published in the Dec 2015 issue,


  1. Madam, nim blog sikkaapatte tumbaa chennaagide.nange tumbaa ishta aaytu. Nan hesaru satyaprakash anta, 78 yrs old man. I loved ur blog very very much. I ll send u friend request in facebook.

    1. Thumba dhanyavaadagalu Satya avare! Would love to hear about all the healthy habits you have created.


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