For me, the whole of January is about getting ‘clean’ both inside and out. It’s a New Year so a fresh start and I always try to make a resolution of some kind to get cleaner. Some people would assume this means to take more showers, put lots of beautiful scented chemical concoctions on my skin and spray heavy chemical perfumes; this is not what it means to be ‘clean’!
Yoga is basically a philosophical science all focused on getting clean from within. All limbs of Yoga aim at ridding the old and welcoming space for the new. Put very concisely, meditation creates a ‘clean’ empty space in our mind and soul so we destroy old negative, self-limiting beliefs and create new positive affirmations grounded in our authenticity. Asana literally sweeps our internal organs clean, squeezing and rinsing out toxins and increasing the lymphatic drainage to kick-start detoxification and assist circulation and elimination. Cleanliness, pure eating and a clear consciousness are all yogic actions.
To attend a weekly yoga class is to get a weekly clean. But if I were to have a nice, long bath and then go for a run straight into wet, muddy fields, you might ask me what was the use of having a good clean in the first place?! And this is the point; to get clean is one thing but there is little benefit if you are attempting to clean once a week but putting little or no effort in keeping clean the rest of the time. Starting to clean your life up in other areas will increase the benefits of Yoga one hundred fold. Hence why Yoga is not just a physical practice.
So this coming January my focus is on getting even cleaner. I wanted to share with you some simple ways on how to get clean and start living better, stronger and for longer with more vitality, health and happiness.
‘True preventative medicine is not about preventing disease…..It’s about keeping people close to 100 per cent health, in which disease is not a possibility’ Patrick Holford
Getting clean and dis-ease free is a holistic practice involving all levels; body, mind and soul. Everything we do is anything we do. By making one small positive change, it affects all parts in a positive way. If I give up drinking coffee, my body has less carcinogenic (cancer causing) substances entering it and so is a cleaner, less toxic environment. My body does not have to work so hard at getting rid of that toxicity and so it can focus on repairing and renewing my skin instead; added bonus. If over time, my conscious choice to forego coffee means that I can drink more vegetable juices instead, I am increasing my antioxidant properties which means my body not only has less toxicity but it now has double antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to battle any infections or viruses.
Each action has a positive effect on my body but both actions together may make the difference as to whether I get breast cancer at a later stage in my life, or not. I have many friends who smoke and drink lots and they happily declare that their granddad did the same and lived to be 90 years of age. But I ask them this; did their granddad have optimum health throughout his whole life? Chances are, he was like mine; he survived on many tablets; aspirin to thin his blood, inhalers to help his lungs, insulin to balance his sugar and he probably couldn’t walk very far unaided, his hearing and eyesight may have depleted, he may have suffered heart disease. Add to this he may have adopted a negative outlook on life based on the pain he suffered as a result of poor health and poor nutrition and a constant reliance on medication and conventional medicine which does not consider the whole; it simply deals with the parts. So yes, he lived a long life, but was he really able to live his life? Was he able to run, walk, participate in hobbies and breathe pain free? My argument is that ‘to live’ does not necessarily mean to be living.
Modern life is the root of disease
Our modern, Western reliance on manmade chemicals is worrying and it has been proven to be the root cause or effect on almost all modern illnesses including cancers, heart disease and Alzheimer’s to name but a few. The chemicals we use in our homes to clean, the cosmetics we slather and spray on our bodies, the additives and preservatives, pesticides and ingredients in our foods are laden with substances with very little long-term research into the effects they have on our health. What we do know is that we are exposed to hundreds of these chemicals each and every day. As these elements oxidise, they become carcinogenic which means they act as hormone disruptors, damage cells and can cause our cells to act abnormally, even causing cancer to grow and certainly reducing our chance to fight illness. These chemicals directly interfere with our cells and therefore affect our health. They cause our body to weaken and lose the fight against illness and disease. We are no longer strong and healthy but weak and suffering.
Known carcinogens include cigarette smoke, coffee, alcohol, white flours (the bleaches cause it to become carcinogenic), white sugars, pesticides, nitrates in meat and other food preservatives and the radiation emitted from televisions, pcs and mobile phones.
Illnesses associated to carcinogens and chemical toxicity includes but is not limited to cancer, heart disease, depression, lung disease, asthma, arthritis, high blood pressure, migraines and anxiety. Thousands of years of evolution of the human body and the amazing acts it performs on a daily basis means that while it tries its best to fight these illnesses, it simply is not equipped or used to these new substances that are un-natural and in the long-term proven to be lethal for our body, soul and mind.
Of course, we can give in and give up; perhaps that fried donut and cigarette mean a few minutes of delight to some, but I know that I would prefer to be healthy, strong and able to fight illnesses of all kinds by making a few small changes. For me, my life is a miracle worth living and I want to be here as long as I possibly can.
Nature is medicine
Luckily our planet provides an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds; all of which hold medicinal power and literally can build our body up to fight these oxidants, carcinogens and battle against disease and poor health. These natural plant-based foods contain a whole heap of phytonutrients, vitamins (A, D, C and E to name a few) which literally heal and strengthen us. They clean out the bad toxins and chemicals and fight against illness. They are collectively called adaptogens as they help our cells to adapt to different environments and destroy any deformed cells. The real secret to long, good health is in decreasing our exposure to toxins and carcinogens and increasing our intake of the antioxidants and vitamins and minerals necessary to strengthen our immune system. It is as simple as it sounds.
The skin is our largest organ; it literally takes in and absorbs everything that comes into contact with it; be that synthetic, chemically dyed clothes, chemical products, toxic air and the household products we spray in our home environments. So our skin needs to be fed good, pure, natural products as much as possible in order for it to work correctly at releasing toxic substances and regenerate properly leaving glowing skin rather than dull, congested, toxic-loaded cells.
We are what we absorb; feed your body toxic, foreign substances and the body will become toxic and the cells will act abnormally therefore weakening your health and strength to fight illness in any form. Eating healthy, pure, natural vitamins and minerals and the body will become healthy and pure, naturally able to fight disease and illness.
Getting chemical free is not an easy task; let me be clear; the words ‘natural’, ‘organic’ and ‘chemical free’ mean little to nothing on cosmetic and cleaning products. A famous branded cleanser has a label of ‘natural cleanser made from fruits’ yet check the label and do a little research and it’s clear that it contains 95% chemicals and just 5% fruit. So you can see that ‘labels’ and ‘tags’ can mislead us quite a bit. You think you are buying a toxic-free cleanser when in actual fact you could make a better cleanser using bleach and an apple; not good and certainly not something you would want to slather on your largest organ for absorption into your body! So getting clean means reading the actual ingredients labels and a little more research so we can go beyond the names and words to actually understand what these products consist of.
Simple ways to get clean
So here are few ways to get clean. I have split them into groups of 6.
You can easily google any of these suggestions to find sources, research and studies to support the ideas behind why these suggestions are going to clean you up. I have included a few pointers but I know that for some of you, the reasons may not be all that important so I have highlighted the actual action in orange so you may choose a few to adopt into your life as you choose. Please see Clean Parts 2 to 7 for ideas, tips and inspiration. Here is to you living longer, stronger and cleaner!