My do-it-yourself detox system is scientific, easy, cheap and you can do it at home. In fact once the detox is underway you must stay at home: it is essential that you have unimpeded access to a toilet.
The yoga was a little more challenging. I found the Dying Duck in a Thunder Storm pose impossible: gazing into the watery depths of the toilet bowl while embracing its icy porcelain was more than my overwrought psychomotor system could handle. However I found the Cadaver Pose simplicity itself. It involves lying on your back absolutely still, with your eyes closed and wishing you were dead.
And which detox method did I use to achieve this unbearable lightness of being? Although detox diets are all the rage at the moment and health food shops offer a wide range of detox kits I wasn’t tempted by any of those. Not even the one which includes a complimentary exfoliating bath mitt along with the liverwort, wormwood and milk thistle. The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of the 17th century may have had faith in the miraculous powers of a few herbs and a bath mitt but my 21st century self was unconvinced.
Initially at least, the online blandishments of a Detox Resort in Thailand were very appealing. The resort described itself as “a centre of excellence for detox lifestyle learning and body optimization.” and promised “total mind, body, and soul transformation”. I rather fancied the idea of being detoxed and transformed while relaxing on a Thai beach sipping fruit juice from a hollowed out pineapple decorated with a tiny parasol. I began wondering whether their Ignite, Enrich, Exceed or Transcend programmes would suit me best.
Then I read the small print. Every programme involved a gruelling daily routine of hot yoga and freezing cold baths, kick boxing and body-sculpting workouts with only a few carrot sticks to keep your strength up. The resort’s system for making “wetter water” sounded as if it had been devised by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries: “Crystal Energy” is added to the water before it is “mineralized” and treated in a “water imploder” in order to “increase hydration potential”. After reading this, I felt it was nothing short of miraculous that I survived my home detox by merely slurping water from the kitchen tap between bouts of nausea. I didn’t warm to the toothy blonde Californian in the resort’s orientation video either. Her advice on what to pack for your stay? “Pack everything you think you’ll need” she said, “… and then double it”. Ultimately though, cost was the real deterrent. It would cost me US$1300 to merely “Ignite”. If I wanted to “Transcend” it would cost US$8500 plus airfares, plus US$150 if I wanted to check in early i.e. before 6pm.
That’s why I decided on the do-it-yourself approach which I am about to share: it’s easier, cheaper, more scientific, and you can do it at home. In fact once the detox is underway you must stay at home: it is essential that you have unimpeded access to a toilet. It is also helpful to have a bed upon which you can practice the Cadaver Pose. An exfoliating bath mitt is entirely optional.
My detox system simply involves ingesting the right kind of bacteria. Campylobacter, salmonella or E.coli are ideal and are sometimes available at supermarkets, delicatessens and other speciality food outlets. Be prepared to search the shelves though, as bacteria are often not as actively promoted as other product lines. If you have trouble locating the right contaminant in the larger shops it’s well worth checking the pie warmer at your local dairy. Sometimes you’ll strike it lucky at a summer party with an egg salad or a trifle which has been left unrefrigerated. An under-cooked chicken is almost certain to provide the wherewithal to kick off your detox in earnest. If all else fails you can experiment with lowering your personal hygiene standards until the necessary bacteria begin to proliferate closer to home. Fortunately, I didn’t have to resort to this ruse to instigate my detox - all I did was thaw a benign-seeming piece of smoked fish, transform it into a palatable kedgeree and consume it for dinner.
I must confess that there is certain unpredictability to my method. The character and duration of your detox will very much depend upon the type and amount of bacteria used to launch the detoxification process. To the uninitiated, the immediate effects may seem very much like food poisoning. Vomiting, diarrhoea, headache and general malaise are not uncommon but as I can attest, the euphoric sense of well-being which follows is well worth the struggle. For at least a week you will marvel at your survival. You’ll be amazed and grateful that you can stand upright without feeling dizzy. And most miraculous of all, your appetite will return. The next cheese scone you have at Yazza will be even more heavenly than usual.