Boston Cocktail Summit: Detox to Retox
As the new year is upon us, chances are that we all need a small break from holiday treats and cocktails. In the last installment of our posts from the 2012 Boston Cocktail Summit, here are some simple tips to keeping your body healthy.
Despite my wishings otherwise, the Boston Cocktail Summit came to a close on Saturday and after three days of learning, tasting and drinking, I’m ready to give my body a small break. (Emphasis on the word small because I had such a great time in those three days that I think I’m in withdrawal.)
Back to the task at hand: detox. For their seminar Detox to Retox, Boston’s own Kirsten (Kitty) Amann teamed up with Kendra Strasburg, a Holistic Health Coach that has recently focused her efforts within the bartender and spirit industries “to help them find balance in their lives and stay healthy despite the unique challenges of their job.” Together, they highlighted ten steps for a detox, emphasizing the fact that you will have to ultimately choose the plan that is right for you, your lifestyle and your schedule.
A few facts related to detoxing:
- The brain holds a lot of water. When you are hungover and dehydrated, your kidneys pull water from your body. This means that your headache is from your kidneys pulling water out of your brain (yes, creepy).
- There is scientific fact to not sleeping well after a night on the town. Glutamine is a natural stimulant, and when you stop drinking, your body wants to overcompensate by producing more glutamine. More stimulant = restless night of sleep.
- Unfortunately, liver disorders and diseases start to form when your liver is tired and/or backup from overuse. You can combat this by finding ways to support your liver.
- Your adrenals sit on top of your kidneys and produce adrenalin. Stress, both physical and emotional, put stress on your adrenals, which leads to a lack of sleep.
- Kendra recommends a minimum 3-day detox, with an ideal length of time being 5-7 days. Of course, this could easily require a week-long vacation as it doesn’t easily fit into most schedules. In these cases, even one day a month can produce positive results.
- Supplements like magnesium, milk thistle and maca root all aid in detox and liver support. Same with select bitters shown here, as recommended by Kitty. (I was able to find both at Whole Foods, although you can find milk thistle at a general pharmacy like CVS.)
Without further ado, ten things you can do to help your body detox.
1) Detox with Food: Don’t starve yourself! Focus on foods that will work for you: real, whole and unrefined food like brown rice, veggies and healthy fat. These foods are simple to digest. Not entirely sure what “whole foods” includes? Try picking out items that have five ingredients or less, or as Kendra puts it, “Ingredients that your grandmother would know.” In other words, if you can’t pronounce, skip it. Foods that are good for the liver include green apples (help prevent gall stones), dark/leafy greens (bring in extra oxygen), lemons (include in your cocktails to maximize their potential), and beets.
2) Make sure you have room in your life to detox. It is said that anger resides in your liver, and during a detox, you might not be the most pleasant person to be around. Do everyone a favor and minimize commitments.
3) Clean something else in your life. Be it a drawer, a closet, an old relationship, matching a physical activity to your detox and your body will pick up on it.
4) Timing. Again, three days is a recommended minimum, five to seven is ideal. Doing so twice a year can be really beneficial, and preferable in the spring and summer. During winter is difficult as your body wants to hold on to everything, which is not as conducive to detoxing as spring or fall.
5) Stretch it. Since your adrenals are linked to this process, and reside on the sides of your abdomen, stretching them out can help release toxins.
- Pull arms over your head and lean to one side and hold for a few seconds, then repeat on other side.
- Twisting at the waste (seated or standing) also helps flex out the adrenals.
- Breath work can help you release stress (instead of that cocktail you might normally reach for). Do a quick breathing exercise with your eyes closed to help relax.
- If that doesn’t help, try laying on your back, arms extended out to the side with your legs raised and resting up against the wall. The reverse blood flow can help calm the body and a great exercise before bed.
6) WATER. Seems like a no-brainer, but include lemon in your water for added effects. Spent three days at the Cocktail Summit? Drink hot water with lemon all day for one day; if you are still thirsty by the end of that day then your body is very dehydrated.
7) Herbal Tea. Look for a traditional herbal tea, or one with ginger, which works as an anti-inflammaotry.
8) Sauna. Just sweat it out.
9) No Sugar. For chemical reasons beyond the scope of this post, refined sugar is bad, natural sweeteners like honey are good.
10) Never Go Hungry! (aka my personal anthem) It’s not about denying your body food, but giving your body the nutrients it needs.
To help you in your journey, Kitty and Kendra have provided a few recipes (which are copyrighted so don’t steal them!) to help in your journey.
2 oz Plymouth gin
3/4 oz honey syrup (natural sweetener!)
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Shake with ice, strained into chilled cocktail glass and serve.
Ginger Apple Blossom
2 oz Plymouth gin
1 oz honey syrup
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz fresh apple juice
1/4 oz fresh ginger juice
Shake with ice, strained into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with fresh ginger.
Lemon Liver Flush
2 organic lemons, juiced
3 cups pure water
1 tsp organic, pressed olive oil
1/2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 dropper of liquid stevia (herbal sweetener)
Blend together and enjoy each morning.
Have you ever tried a cleanse? What was your experience?