Doing the Detox Dance

I first heard the word detox during a massage.

The therapist told me to drink plenty of water because she had released lots of toxins from my muscles. At the time, I thought, yeah, whatever. But when my head started to pound later that day, I realized that these released toxins might be to blame.

A few months later, a friend asked me to sign up for a cleanse being offered by a chain yoga studio. This detox diet had us subsisting on three liquids: rice protein shakes, Bieler’s vegetable broth and the famous Master Cleanse elixir of water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper.

These drinks were supposed to detox my system, coaxing my liver, kidneys and colon to release internal waste. Again, I got a little headache, but mostly I became the grumpiest woman alive. And strangely, my friend became absolutely giddy. Did that mean I had more toxins than she did or that this cleanse wasn’t a good fit for me?

I decided on the latter. After all, my nickname as a child was Human Garbage Disposal, as my Dad observed I liked to eat everything. So clearly, an all-liquid diet was not for me.

So the next time I tried a cleanse, I was thrilled to see it was whole-food based with no restrictions on the amount you ate. I tried it along with a group of co-workers and discovered that by restricting dairy, gluten and sugar, I felt amazing. (And P.S., elimination was ahem, not a problem.)

Hmm, there must be something to this detoxing thing, I thought. And then, somewhere between the first and second cleanse, I heard Dr. John Douillard give a talk at the Yoga Journal Conference about Ayurveda, the Indian system of medicine that recommends how to eat based on the season, your particular ailment and most notably, your body type or dosha. Here’s a quiz I like to find out your body type.

I learned that my body type is called Kapha, which can easily become lethargic. Ayurveda recommends Kapha-types eat spicy food. Could this be why I loved ginger, cumin and turmeric so much? My body innately knew I needed these spices?

Eating an Ayurveda diet means eating seasonally: warm, cooked vegetables in the winter; salad, in the summer. Another revelation. I hate eating salad in winter.

According to Douillard’s Ayurveda for Detox , mother nature has already designed our food to detox our bodies during each season.

So we can help our bodies limit toxic buildup just by eating the foods that are in season. Which works for me, because if I’ve learned anything on this trial-and-error detox adventure it’s this: I am never drinking that nasty Master Cleanse lemonade again. Ever.

Check out Dr. John Doulliard's Natural Detox for free, right now by visiting the YOGANONYMOUS Take a Class Page via Gaiam TV.

Heather munro

Heather Munro is a registered yoga teacher and content coordinator at