After breaking the chains of addictions, we often find ourselves seeking out other ways to "cleanse" our body+soul from our destructive past.


We long for the simple, perfect life. We want to start over.

Fair enough.

No surprise the temptation to seek out detox is something many fresh in recovery are drawn to.

It partly serves to provide a new set of rules.

Another way of feeling that we are following a path of perfection, that will result in some sort of perfect life. Especially now we don't have the drugs, alcohol and food to numb out our emotional needs anymore. Rather than surrendering and accepting the gray color-scale as part of a balanced life, the journey, the messiness that is life etc., we often desperately look for substitutes to turn to, in order to feel that we are in control. As the control-freaks we are.

Whether we want to admit it or not - the pull of the quick-fix and rigid way of living in a detox, taps right into or black-white addictive thinking pattern.

On the flip-side, one could argue for that it resets our body, and breaks the junkfood addiction that many of us also struggle with.

The key issue to be aware of, however, is that cleansing is highly specific to an individual's constitution and body biochemistry.

If going on a detox to early, it will set us up for relapse. If going on a detox while our body needs building blocks and nourishment to stabilize blood sugar, neurotransmitter and hunger hormones, we will experience craving backlash - yes, that includes cravings for drugs and alcohol. Whatever was our primary drug of choice is what we will turn to - offset by something seemingly as innocent as wanting to do good for our body through a "cleanse".

Vata - the airy energy dynamic of body types in Eastern medicine - is the most vulnerable to cleansing diets. And it is the Vata energy which is out of balance for all addictions. If all this energy talk is getting too abstract for you, think about it in terms of your nervous system. Vata relates to our stress response. In Western medicine we would think of it often as being in fight-or-flight mode.

How to recognize common VATA imbalance symptoms:

1. Do you feel anxious, lonely, nervous or worried often?

2. Is your mind "running wild"?

3. Do you experience dry skin, hair etc.?

4. Do you have joint pains?

5. Do you have difficulty focusing?

6 Are you always busy distracting yourself?

7. Are you struggling with addictions/obssessive behaviors?

Vata needs a steady lifestyle with clear routine, structure and elements of daily self-care to stay balanced.

Yet whenever vata gets out of balance, we tend to gravitate towards escapism and distract from the "ungrounded" feeling we are now experiencing - and this further drives the imbalances, becoming a vicious cycle hard to break unless action steps towards balance are taken.

In general, Vata should be very careful before choosing a vegetarian diet, for example.

They often need the advice of a practitioner to transition into a vegetarian diet. Vegan diets can be a disaster to a Vata constitution unless they have expert advice.

Instead, Vata should enjoy rich, warm, moist and grounding foods in order to get back into their bodies and not feel so spaced out.

vata food

Food should be used as a grounding and loving element as part of their self-care routine.

After our body's biochemistry has balanced out, we can address any fine-tuning as we then have the capacity to deal with cleansing, if needed.

We simply do not clean a house where the walls and paint is missing - that makes no sense. And similar with our body.

We want to start by rebuilding the house, and when the paint is dry and the walls are solid, then we do some house cleansing, if needed.

Reference: S Pole. Ayurvedic medicine. Single dragon 2012