New Year, New Me: A Dose of Detox

acrylic, July 2007.

“It’s not you; it’s me.”

Well, who hasn’t heard that one before?! But there often comes a time when a break from something you love is necessary in order to move forward in life, and right now, I’m taking a brief pause from drinking alcohol to focus on the non-boozy aspects of my life and jumpstart a health kick. While studies seem to come out every week saying booze is either good for you or bad for you, there’s no doubt that all of the congeners (impurities caused by the fermentation process) in alcohol give the liver a workout. Choosing to treat your body well is a personal choice, and I’m not here to preach, but I think the liquor industry should be more proactive about promoting health and drinking in moderation.

Of course, it would hurt the bar industry if every imbiber decided to detox at the same time, but something about the new year seems an appropriate time. So beginning today, I’m taking 10 days off from the sauce, which to a lot of people probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but considering that this past year I drank approximately four cocktails per bar visit and attended several spirits tastings per week, not to mention bar and restaurant openings, seminars, and special events involving booze–let’s just say it’s time I slowed my roll. Fortunately, I have a decent amount of features and news lined up to keep this blog active, so hopefully you won’t even notice my short break (unless you’re used to seeing me on the barstools of NYC’s cocktail bars Mondays-Thursdays).

In addition to going on the wagon, I’ll be eating mostly raw veggies and fruits, vegetarian foods, and juicing to cleanse my body. It’s not that I feel the need to lose weight; it’s just that one of the downsides to indulging in alcohol is that I often crave greasy, carb-heavy foods the next day, causing an unhealthy cycle. I refuse to give up coffee (although I will have less than normal), and I’m sure I’ll have a tiny amount of dairy and some fish within the 10 days. In fact, I have a scotch tasting scheduled for Jan. 14, so I’ll have to ease back into drinking a little before then so I don’t make myself sick. I’m not following any specific method, and I’m certainly not fasting–although I am consulting several books, such as “Food As Medicine” by Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa. If you would like to follow my progress, you can check up on my Twitter feed. If you are interested in doing a detox of your own, here are some juices Dr. Khalsa recommends for regenerating your digestive system and for promoting a healthier, longer life (choose organic produce for maximum nutrients):

  • Carrot juice: Carrots are rich in phytonutrients, especially beta-carotene and vitamin A. Carrot juice benefits the immune system, respiratory, and heart health.
  • Carrot-beet juice: Excellent for the liver, flushing out toxins, and for strengthening the immune system.
  • Carrot-celery juice: A great combination for supplying vitamin A and many important minerals. Great for the heart, respiratory, and immune systems.
  • Cucumber juice: The best for balancing your emotions and helping you ease off addictions such as alcohol, drugs, or nicotine. Cucumber is also good for hair, skin, and nails, and it helps eliminate bloating.
  • Parsley-carrot-beet-spinach-apple juice: Very energizing and healing; good to have once a week.
  • Orange-carrot juice: Deliciously sweet and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. Excellent for the immune and respiratory systems.

“Don’t chase after the past,
Don’t seek the future.
The past is gone.
The future hasn’t come yet.
See clearly on the spot
That object which is now.”