Sergeant Majors, Maccy Ds & a nice bowl of fruit.

If how I’ve felt for the last three days is any guide to the amount of tox that’s being released by this diet then I should be feeling on top of the world by Wednesday. Right now, I’m just hoping that the headaches, nausea and tiredness will be worth it.

I don’t do these detox diets often, partly because I don’t like choosing to feel really manky the next day but mostly because by the time I need one, I can’t be bothered with the hassle and rethink of all the auto-recipes I use. Fortunately I have Gill, who came to the rescue both for me and her as she took an executive decision, to which she is legally entitled what with being on the board of Burkinshaw Consulting Limited, (the company that Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy trades under), and after extensive research judging by the number of laptop hours she invested in the venture, she laid it on the line as to which particular detox we would pursue.

This one majors on juicing, although we do have alternatives of soup or brown rice and steamed vegetables. For a treat. Obviously.

I’ve never really got my head around the benefits of juicing. I absolutely get it that the juices of raw vegetables and fruit, particularly of the organic variety, are full of vitamins and enzymes together with a shed load of that catch word of dietitians the world over ‘nutrients’. These are good for the body because our evolutionary path was very much via the hunter-gatherer root, (pardon the pun), and we evolved with raw fruit and vegetables as one of our main sources of energy, vitamins, minerals, (it’s always good to have a smidgen of dirt knocking about on your food – that’s where a lot of the minerals are, after all). At the end of the day, we function better eating the food we were designed to eat.

This makes sense. Unlike MacDonald’s and its ilk, (a sort of miniature Elk, I’m told), who firmly believe that we need a large dose of manufactured foodstuffs carefully designed to keep us going or, more likely, coming back for more depending on your point of view. Not that I’m averse to the odd Maccy D’s every now and then, I don’t want to get all evangelical about this. This is a personal detox after all, not one that I have any intention of recruiting you to.

So why the hell am I putting you through all of this dietary nonsense? Basically its this.

I was surprised by the degree of feeling proper crap that has come about as a consequence of this round of detox, together with a minor sideline about juicing which I have yet to some back and finish off. Think of it as a looped metaphor. It will all come together in the  end. I hope. I haven’t planned this particular post out, so I’m not entirely certain that I’ll succeed. Let me know how it goes.

As is my wont, this has got me thinking, difficult though that may be in my current state of fluxing toxins. If you’re one of the ever-increasing number of regular readers of this blog, many thanks to you. By the way, did you know there have been very nearly one hundred and fifty new followers of this blog in the last month? Neither did I until I decided to count them up just now. I was, to put it mildly, pretty gobsmacked and slightly in awe of you all. Meanwhile back to the future, (good idea, pity they had to go through three evolutions to get to make the one they most wanted to, although I suspect there’d have been a good deal more dust and grime than the film seemed to think was apt for the wild and the west).

Anyway. You’ll probably have noticed that one of the themes running through this blog is that there is such a thing as the mind-body connection. You know, whereby what you thinks affects how you feel and how you feel affects how your body responds and how your body responds affects your health, which then goes and affects every damn thing you’ve just read through and sets up one or more of those vicious circles, although why they’re vicious and not just negative feedback loops is probably all down to marketing and advertising. Eh, Rachael?

Mostly, however, I’ve focussed on how past experience affects stress, anxiety, fertility and how we hold pain, finding it almost impossible to let these go without someone showing us the way.

I’ve not talked much about how constant pressure from the world affects your general state of health whilst you’re still coping, albeit you may not be particularly at peace with the world or revelling in unbridled happiness. It’s a bit like the situation Jonathan Miller referred to way back in the 70’s when he talked about the idea that becoming ill was a tactical choice we make at the point we find we can no longer function. Think about it. If you have a cold, you tend to go to work, look after the family, and generally function normally other than a tendency to moan a lot or act like a true martyr not complaining at all whilst making sure that everybody knows that you’re not complaining at all. You know the type. I’m not letting on which one I am.

It gets different if the initial cold turns out to be ‘flu by which I mean actual influenza and not just that your cold is far worse than everyone else’s. I’m talking about temperature spikes, the shivers, hallucination, chronic muscle ache, migraine style headaches, you can’t see properly and it’s pretty much impossible to move let alone think. That sort of ‘flu.

There comes a point in the progress of wellness to ‘flu where you’ve been struggling on, forcing yourself to function way beyond where it was sensible to stop because you don’t want to let anyone down. And then, despite your best efforts, you can’t make it in to work, (always assuming that you thought it was worth making an effort in the first place). You decide that you can’t carry on. And what happens? Your mindset changes from being unwell to being ill. You take yourself off to bed and can’t get out of it for three days.

You went from hero to zero in 60 seconds. This is what Jonathan Miller was referring to when he said becoming ill was a choice. He absolutely didn’t mean that we choose to bring illness on ourselves, he meant that there is a point beyond which each individual tallies up the pros & cons of forcing yourself forwards and once that reaches a sufficiently negative tally, (which is different for every person and situation), you make a choice to down tools and enter a self-protection mode of being. You shut down as much as possible so your body can recover and recuperate. You move from being unwell but functioning normally, to being ill.

This is why some people can ‘soldier on’ (where do you think that phrase came from – there are way more important things on your mind than being ill when life or death threatens, including having to face down a drill-sergeant bellowing in your ear to stop being a whatever it is he’s telling you to stop being and which is way too impolite for this post), and others can’t. (Back track, it does read correctly, honest). It all depends on you personal tally and your personal situation both external, (caring for children is a big driver to continue functioning), and internal, (your father despised weakness so your unconscious is locked into ‘we’ll show him’ and you’re never going to give in. Even though he died fifteen years ago).

It’s a fairly obvious changeover with illness or injury. At one moment you can carry on, at the next a switch flicks and you can’t. Decision made. The cons outweigh the pros. It may be an unconscious decision but it is a decision nonetheless. According to Jonathan.

Unfortunately, it’s more subtle with stressors of the mind. If the particular stressor is slow and insidious, you may not even notice just how much pressure you’ve been under. If the pain is ongoing and permanent, then even at a level most people could handle for an hour or so, after six moths and longer it gets tougher to function. It drags you down. Yet you may not have reached that point that your unconscious flips the recovery switch and shuts you down. Sometimes it just doesn’t notice how tough it’s got.

Enter again the mind-body connection. If you’ve been under prolonged stress, low-grade illness, long-term pain at a level which hasn’t stopped you functioning, you’ve never been dumped into recovery mode by your unconscious. So the mind-body connection link has been working in full reverse for some time, storing up the negative processes which have followed as a direct result of this long-term difficulty. Guess what one of the consequences is?

Your body doesn’t metabolise particularly well. You crave foods that give short-term relief because that’s the nearest thing you can get to looking after yourself. You slowly deplete your body of essential long-term micro-nutrients and don’t metabolise away the build up of waste. Toxins.

Enter the detox diet beloved of magazines whenever there’s a lack of other interesting articles to publish.

So I find myself on one of these diets.

Why oh why am I so surprised that there’s apparently so much crap to be flushed out? I really should have expected it. Without any detail, because sympathy is not the aim here, here’s a brief resume. Since 2005, we found out that we all had undiagnosed conditions which affected our ability to function, I’ve had two (minor) heart operations, both daughters were diagnosed with serious and permanent health conditions, I became redundant and set up a business and Gill had to leave work for health reasons. There is more but so what, you get the gist. This has all been low to medium, (and occasionally high), level stressfulness. And it’s been going on in the open for 7 years and for many years before that when we weren’t even aware of it.

Most of the time I’ve been functioning ‘normally’, so that mind-body connection must have been building up a mass of wonderfully toxic crap in my system for years. No wonder it’s taking more than a couple of days of detox to flush it out. The worse the headaches are now, the better I’ll feel by the end.

See what I mean? If I wasn’t detoxing, I’d more than likely have taken to my bed feeling really ill and wondering what the hell I’d caught. On the other hand, maybe it’s got nothing to do with the diet and there’s a manic virus running riot in my system. Time will tell.

in the end, I suppose this post is really about those people who haven’t reached the point, mentally or physically, of having to down-tools because of their stress or health.  Sometimes the answer may be as simple, if unpleasant, as a detox. A change of lifestyle. Out with the old and in with the new.

Sometimes though, even that is too big a step to take. There simply isn’t enough left in the tank to consider it. It just doesn’t fit, doesn’t feel right. Yet you know something must be done. Over the years, toxic thought-habits and reality tunnels build up unnoticed and start to take over. Perhaps what’s really needed is a detox of the mind.

Guess who can help with that one? Feel free to get in touch if that sounds useful.

And what of the missing juice loop? The part I don’t get is that juicing fresh fruits and vegetables leaves an awful lot of ‘waste’ behind. But isn’t this ‘waste’ that self-same fibre these self-same dietitians promote in their other, non-juicing, diet books. The stuff that gives fresh food it’s crunch?

Whatever happened to a nice salad and a bowl of fruit?

Juice that!© Tony Burkinshaw 2013

Juice that!
© Tony Burkinshaw 2013