Healthy Living

Edel Swords, Healthy Living Therapist.Photo. Jimmy Fullam.
I love coffee, everything about it, even the smell of it makes me happy, so it was a real challenge giving it up for an eight-day detox.

I love coffee, everything about it, even the smell of it makes me happy, so it was a real challenge giving it up for an eight-day detox.

I replaced my beloved coffee maker with a juicer and enrolled in the detox programme with Edel Swords of Kildare Holistic Centre in Kildare Town on Friday, February 7.

The night before the detox began, we met to collect a lovely box of organic vegetables sourced locally from Deirdre O’Sullivan in Carbury and our programme which became my new way of life for the next eight days.

Along with ditching the coffee, I also wave goodbye to sugar, chocolate, diary, wheat, pasta, fizzy drinks, cereals, pizza, alcohol crisps and rice. Even olive oil is replaced with coconut oil. We are given Himalayan Rose Crystal Salt, which we are told is essential to your bodies workings and contrary to popular belief that salt is bad for you, this one is not.

“You are giving a really big gift to yourselves,” said Edel before we embark. “Enjoy every minute - even through the hard times. A detox allows stuff to surface so you can rid your self of stagnation and potential illness.” We also got acquainted with new grains that were on the menu, including buckwheat, quinoa, corn pasta and brown rice.

Day one is one of my busiest work days and I have spent the night before chopping, peeling, boiling and organising vegetables for the following day. The thing about a detox, I quickly learn, is that you have to be organised, not to mention strong willed. I miss my morning coffee break with my colleagues and I find myself doodling the word ‘starving’ all over my note book. A headache creeps in mid- afternoon but I am focused and I spent the best part of two hours munching through my big organic homemade salad. I wilt a little in the afternoon but keep going and make it to our first meeting. We meet each evening during the detox programme; from Monday to Friday, 6.30pm to 8pm and each Saturday and Sunday 5-6.30pm. Edel and fellow therapists Claire Sinnott and Ursula Hannigan meet us for support, massage, acupuncture, yoga and mediation.

This is a wonderful, warm space created to meet with fellow detoxers, who are in the same place and going through a similar journey. I grew to value these meetings every night and found myself looking forward to them as the day wore on. Edel is a great teacher who gives so much of herself during them that I never failed to leave without learning something new and in good spirits.

Some of the effects from the detox include tiredness, achy joints and muscles, feeling cold, feeling hot, irritability, crankiness and teariness. I can testify to all of the above at different moments but also to a feeling of empowerment as the days wear on. And after each of the support meetings, the love and good humour in the room is uplifting. There are jokes of Edel being ‘down wind’ at various yoga poses and giggles as we are put through our paces. There are tips on how to get the most out of the recipes and how a little heated almond milk before bed can really hit the spot. Coconut water added to a juice can dilute it if it is too strong.

There are even talks of bowel movements. There are also texts of encouragement from Edel during the week and a very kind offer to bring me a juice when I run out of vital ingredients.

The detox is a way into a new experience in healthy living. Its a new way of thinking about food and it reawakens the taste buds to appreciate the flavours in fresh organic foods, which are full to the brim in nutrients.

My body was crying out for a detox but I didn’t really listen for a long time. I knew I needed something but I wasn’t sure what and this was it. It was not easy but anything worth doing in life never is. Edel, who is a qualified therapist and teacher for over 12 years, combines all of her therapies, knowledge, skills and wisdom to devise the healthy eating/living programmes in the form of detox’s to encourage deep cleansing and healing at cellular level.

The detox is described as ‘a time to give your life an overview and allow fresh energy to dance through your cells removing toxins from the liver helping it work efficiently, literally rebuilding your cell walls to do what they were meant to do and not spend their time trying to keep out toxic substances’.

Within a few days I noticed the difference in my mood, skin texture, sleep patterns, energy levels, tolerance levels, joint mobility, flexibility, cravings disappeared, my digestive system began to kick back into gear and my abdomen was no longer bloated. I even started to wake refreshed and not like I have done ten rounds with Mike Tyson. The first morning I dragged myself out of bed to do my morning breath work and movement after which I felt a little sick. By the fourth morning I am up and moving like it was second nature to me. My six year old, who has grown to love the exciting new green and red juices being put in front of her first thing, even joins in.

Edel, who also runs sugar free cooking demos, says that this is a new way of living, which requires changing old habits, and belief systems with new fresh habits and new belief systems about yourself and your health.

On day one instead of going for pub grub in work as I would normally do, I opt for a walk in the rain instead. I text Edel as I am feeling a little like I am missing out and a reply of “brilliant, you’re great” is enough to keep me motivated.

There is no doubt that during the detox it is hard cooking one meal for the family and another for yourself or getting a waft of freshly baked bread as you pop into Tesco. It is also in a way anti-social as everything we do revolves around food, a cup of tea here, a chat and a biscuit there.

So I made sure to keep to myself as best I could out of temptation’s way. There is no denying that taking time to listen to your body, and the right steps to cleanse and revitalise allows the space for something else to arrive and that something else is inner joy.