A Cleanse Retreat at Home

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Recently I picked up the book Urban Remedy by licensed acupuncturist Neka Pasquale. In it, she explains how you can create your own four-day cleanse retreat at home. I loved the idea of this book for several reasons: a) you don’t have to spend a fortune at a spa to look and feel amazing. b) food is your medicine, rather than fancy herbs or remedies. c) anyone, with the right equipment, can do this.

In my last post, I talked about all of the things you can do to improve your health such as drinking lemon and water in the morning, dry brushing before a shower, eating a variety of colours (i.e.fruits and vegetables) and castor oil packs. Pasquale recommends these approaches, and more. The challenge was finding the time to incorporate these healthy habits over just four days, plus the food prep, lifestyle suggestions (walking, yoga, tongue scraping, etc.) and the salt and vinegar baths (don’t worry, you won’t smell like a chip!). The best part of the cleanse is Pasquale’s creative and delicious recipes, such as Asian Kale salad, Zucchini Pasta with Tomato Sauce, and countless fresh juices and smoothies. At the beginning of Day 1, my fridge was packed with food (so much in fact, I had trouble closing the fridge and it wasn’t a rare occurrence for a cucumber to fly out). The fridge was rebelling against my veggie gluttony. And, to be honest, I was wondering how on earth I was going to eat all of these vegetables. It was an embarrassment of riches.

By Day 2, I was getting into the swing of things. But I felt like all of the fibre that my Omega juicer spewed out was a waste. My juicer groaned as it tried to process the cornucopia of fibrous vegetables. Celery, spinach, kale, beet, apples, carrots, watercress, lemon, ginger, and parsley were greedily gobbled up, but all that was left behind was a 12 oz. glass of juice and, with it, a gigantic mountain of fibre. Maybe I could make doggie biscuits with it? This thought crossed my mind as my cocker spaniel eyed the chopping board lustily, waiting for a rogue carrot to fall from the sky.

By Day 3, the cleanse had become more restrictive. I jumped out of bed to make my daily lemon and water drink, dry brush my body and jump into the shower (with a cold spritz at the end for good measure). A Dandelion Liver Tonic was the next order of business, followed by an Alkalizing Mineral Broth for breakfast. Yum! Shitake mushrooms, seaweed, and other veggies are boiled and processed into a swamp-like looking concoction, but over the course of the cleanse it had become a treat. Combined with miso it is a savoury delight, a nice alternative to the cooling properties of green juices.

Day 4 and I have finally forgotten that dark chocolate and brown rice chips exist (well…almost). In fact, I look forward to all of what the next day has to offer. Sunflower Sprout and Carrot Juice, Tummy Lover cabbage juice and Mediterranean Mix Salad were on the menu and, while it sounded a little bland in comparison to an omelet or pancakes, I couldn’t deny that my head felt clearer and I had more energy. I also noticed that I didn’t hesitate to take time out of the day to meditate or do yoga, or write in my journal. Prior to the cleanse, I had had this ominous cloud of obligation (or guilt) hanging over me of all of the things I had to do. My “To Do” list was not getting any smaller and yet I was working all the time, but not taking out enough time for myself. However, since doing the cleanse, my work had become more efficient and I found that the more I invested in self care, the more I could give to others.

For all of the work required to do your at-home cleanse retreat, you get so much back. The selection and preparation of food alone gives you a deeper appreciation of the powerful healing properties of nutrient-dense foods. The baths are a lesson in taking time out to recharge. So often we hop in and out of the shower, forgoing the timeless and meditative quality of a therapeutic bath. Since finishing the four-day cleanse, I have continued to take more time out during the day to recharge. I have also made juicing a daily habit and feel more energetic and motivated than ever. I invite you to embark on your own at-home journey into self care.

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