Why detox? (Day 34)

I definitely over did the nut stuffed dates last night. While my weight stayed constant on 3 consecutive days at 67.7kg, my Body Fat rose 0.2% to 17.0% while my Body Water and Body Muscle dropped 0.2% to 57.0% and 43.1% respectively.

Inca red quinoa, plums, blackberries coconut milk and agave nectar

Inca red quinoa, plums, blackberries coconut milk and agave nectar

I had my usual hot lemon drink in the morning, followed by breakfast consisting of Inca red quinoa, plums, blackberries, coconut milk and agave nectar. 

Watermelon

Watermelon

Mid morning I snacked on some watermelon. It’s a really refreshing and hydrating kind of snack, great to help you cool down on a hot day. 

Red lentils and buckwheat

Red lentils and buckwheat

For lunch I had red lentils with buckwheat. 

Red lentils with organic gluten-free pasta

Red lentils with organic gluten-free pasta

For my evening meal I combined the red lentils with organic gluten-free pasta made from rice, spinach and tomato. 

Corn-on-the-cob with lime and black olives

Corn-on-the-cob with lime and black olives

I got hungry again in the evening so I ate two corn on the cobs, some black olives and half a lime. 

BBC Watchdog

BBC Watchdog

One of the photos of the 2.0L vs 2.4L Aqua Optima jugs I sent to BBC 1 Watchdog as evidence

One of the photos of the 2.0L vs 2.4L Aqua Optima jugs I sent to BBC 1 Watchdog as evidence

I had a busy day sat at the computer today. I wrote my favourite post so far on blood sugar and also spent some time preparing the evidence that BBC Watchdog asked me to send to them. It seems my earlier appeal on this blog to boycott Argos may have had some impact. BBC Watchdog are thinking of doing a piece on Argos and they may include a section of the show on my bad experience with them! I was up until stupid o’clock in the morning doing my research, writing and evidence gathering. As I was going to bed I noticed a green insect on the ceiling of my bedroom. It looked incredibly beautiful with a bright vibrant green colour. As it was beautiful I let it be and went to bed. 

I'm no expert, but I think it was a female tree cricket on the ceiling of my bedroom. What do you think?

I'm no expert, but I think it was a female tree cricket on the ceiling of my bedroom. What do you think?

A question that I often come across is why do a detox? What’s the point of a detox diet? What is a body detoxification trying to achieve?

Malnutritioned Britain - In Ilford, London, wherever I turn I see people looking like this. I can see the effects of a malnourished nation. In TS1 Middlesbrough I saw the same symptoms.

Malnutritioned Britain - In Ilford, London, wherever I turn I see people looking like this. I can see the effects of a malnourished nation. In TS1 Middlesbrough I saw the same symptoms.

After facing the abyss of nothingness for so many years I was ready to take the plunge into it

After facing the abyss of nothingness for so many years I was ready to take the plunge into it

The first time I did a detox was earlier this year in January 2010. There were numerous factors that made me commit to that detox. First of all I had been suffering from depression for a good couple of years. My psychological state got so bad that I tried to hang myself towards the end of 2009. Lucky for me the hook on which I tied my scarf couldn’t hold my weight and it fell on my head along with a load of dust and debris that was wrenched out of the wall with the force of my weight. The sharp contrast between the utter despair and finally taking the plunge one second, followed immediately by the ruining of the wall, streching  my brand new John Lewis scarf beyond repair and dirtying my rather sexy coat the next few seconds created a moment of divine comedy. I stood there with dust on my head, smiling. I was drunk. Very drunk. I had been out for a regular night out. But as I stood in the club and looked around, I thought about my life, it felt like I was in a deep dark hole from which there was no escape. I couldn’t see how I could get out of this rut. Existence made no sense. I could not see the point in anything. And so I decided to finally go home and finish it once and for all. 

Cannabis Crop Circles

Cannabis Crop Circles

During the days, if I wasn’t self medicating with marijuana, I would be filling the void of meaninglessness with documentary videos on Google and other videos on all kinds of things that are “out there” (e.g. I saw the whole of The X Files from Series 1 to Series 9 plus the two X Files Movies back to back). Marijuana didn’t cure my depression it just made me so apathetic, that I couldn’t even be bothered to tie a shoelace let alone a noose around my neck. Human life made no sense to me. I couldn’t understand why people do the things they do. Why do people go to work? Why do people obsess over money? Why couldn’t I be like them?  But my disillusionment wasn’t limited to humanity. It extended to existence in general.

The leaf-cutter ants from Costa Rica, Central America. Worker ants carrying leaves and the larger soldier ant protecting the workers. But seriously, why do they bother?

The leaf-cutter ants from Costa Rica, Central America. Worker ants carrying leaves and the larger soldier ant protecting the workers. But seriously, why do they bother?

Why did ants, bees and birds do what they do?

Why does God do what He does?

What’s the point in any of it?

A test? What’s the point in that?

Evolution? What’s the point in that?

Self discovery? What’s the point in that? 

Trying to escape reincarnation? What’s the point of that?

Trying to escape suffering? Hey that’s a good idea!

In the search for enlightenment, sometimes the thought of hanging oneself seems like a bright idea

In the search for enlightenment, sometimes the thought of hanging oneself seems like a bright idea

Why bother with sitting under the Bodhi Tree and hoping for enlightenment when you can just end the suffering right here right now? Or can you? This is the dilemma faced by one hoping to escape suffering famously articulated by William Shakespeare:

 

“To be, or not to be– that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep
No more – and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to – ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay,

A trip into the afterlife? The Ascent into the Empyrean - Hieronymous Bosch - 1450-1516

A trip into the afterlife? The Ascent into the Empyrean - Hieronymous Bosch - 1450-1516

The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.—Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.” 

Hell: an eternity of suffering and suicide?

Hell: an eternity of suffering and suicide?

What if what follows this existence is far worse upon death? What if death isn’t just ceasing to exist (which is more than often the aim of the suicidal)? What if it’s a transformation into something far worse? If I transform into another form of existence, what if I get depressed there? Will I continue trying to cease existing and therefore attempt suicide in these other forms for the rest of eternity? What if the theists are right after all and suicide leads to an eternal damnation in hell? Or, even worse, what if its a union with God who’s existential suffering may well be far worse than our own? At least we can attempt to end it with suicide. God has no such option, for He is doomed to eternity. We think we have it bad. We think we had no choice into coming into existence, but did He? No He didn’t. Not only did He not choose to exist nor is He able to not exist, he gets blamed for the suffering that we all face too. At times like this, it must surely suck to be God. 

The Despair of God

The Despair of God

I tried to see if self help books could help. I read Napolean Hill’s Think and Grow Rich hoping that it would help me to be a bit more “normal” and influence my thinking into embracing the meaninglessness of capitalism by making it a bit more meaningful. While many people who have read Think and Grow Rich will swear that it turned their life around and made them into the millionaires they are now, for me it had the complete opposite effect. In one of the chapters it said that in order to be rich you must cultivate an intense burning desire for money. One must create an obsession for money. One must become Augustus or George Agdgdgwngo.

 

 

Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill

Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill

I could only respond with many curse words and gestures involving my index and middle fingers to such advice. There was no way I was ready to become like that! Not for now anyway. I had more fundamental issues to deal with first. However, if you are someone who does seriously want to be rich and make lots of monies then I do highly recommend reading Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill. It could well change your life.

The dark cloud of depression - a physically percieved phenomena by the depressed

The dark cloud of depression - a physically percieved phenomena by the depressed

Other than this state of affairs, overall, I always felt tired and I was always physically ill. I would walk around and literally notice a dark grey mist in my vision. It felt as if a dark cloud was following me wherever I went. Even if I went outside into the sunshine I’d notice a grey cloud surrounding my person. I’m not speaking metaphorically here, literally it appeared as if there was a grey mist in my vision. On top of these symptoms I would end up contracting some sort of flu virus: the effects of which would last a month or two, and then I would get better, be well for a week and then contract another flu type virus and be ill for another couple of months. This cycle continued all year round. It seemed my health, both physically and mentally couldn’t be worse.

Our parmo's mint!

Our parmo's mint!

Diet wise I would eat whatever was convenient and cheap. Lot’s of takeaway shops were close to my place in Middlesbrough. I’d eat takeway quite frequently (3-4 times a week). When I was really depressed I couldn’t be bothered to go shopping as it was too much effort so I would eat only when I was starving and it would be in the most convenient form i.e. a take away or a delivery. The famous Boro Chicken Parmo (my favourite Parmo’s in Middlesbrough were from 1. Montanas/Malones, 2. The Halal Centre and 3. Europa Restaurant), Fish and Chips, Chicken and Chips, Pizzas, Donar Kebabs, McDonalds, KFC, Chinese… you name it. We’d eat it! Much of the time money was really tight, so I often opted for Sainsbury’s Basics brand of crappy processed food for the poor, stingy or uninformed eater. Sainsbury’s Basics Cottage Pie was regularly on the menu. These Basics meals were often a treat as 10p ASDA noodles were a staple for us for quite a while. Great for the wallet and relatively convenient too. But what exactly was it providing our bodies and our minds in terms of nutrition? I’d eat a lot of junk food too and my junk food consumption doubled or tripled during the munchies after smoking the good shit. No thought went into what I ate. I grew fatter and fatter by the day. And as I had lost faith in my religion only a few years earlier, where once what I ate and did was governed by strict religious restrictions now I felt liberated. I could finally explore what the world had to offer and not worry about upsetting my Creator in the process. I welcomed the experience of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and the flesh of every animal I could have the opportunity to consume with open jaws. I thought I had liberated myself, but little did I realise that I was poisoning myself. I have now come to realise that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. 

Absolut bacon (vodka infused bacon) and no I haven't tried this!

Absolut bacon (vodka infused bacon) and no I haven't tried this!

Shrine of Ali ibn Abu Talib in Najaf, Iraq. If paradise is real and there is a spot on earth from paradise then it is here. I recommend every mystic and aspiring mystic of any or no religion to visit this place and share with me what they feel

Shrine of Ali ibn Abu Talib in Najaf, Iraq. If paradise is real and there is a spot on earth from paradise then it is here. I recommend every mystic and aspiring mystic of any or no religion to visit this place and share with me what they feel

My parents knew I was going through a rough patch and searching for meaning. Their offer of help came in the form that they knew and were familiar with. They were going to go on a Shia pilgrimage to Syria and Iraq and my Dad offered to pay for me to accompany them. They were hoping that I converted back to the path I was once an avid proponent of. I was open to experiencing these places of pilgrimage, but wasn’t sure I could handle travelling with emotional crazy Shi’ites to their most holy of holy places. I more than welcomed visiting the resting place of Ali ibn Abu Talib (who’s sincerity I still could find no fault with despite my loss of faith), however, hanging around with a load of fanatics for a whole month whilst avoiding being detected as a non-believer in their midst? It was a tough call. But I agreed anyway. I thought I’d give it a shot. The change in scenery might do me some good. And at the time I was open to experiencing something out of the ordinary even though I was convinced it wouldn’t be something that would make me believe in the same old way of thinking I used to believe to be the Truth. The potential of experiencing something spiritually sublime was worth the risk of being found out and potentially being executed (apostates get the death penalty according to the majority interpretations of Islamic law).

My faith-losing process wasn’t a horizontal movement from one faith to another, it was more like a vertical ascension, which would start in me losing faith in faith itself and in the end help me to rediscover FAITH anew. I warned my parents that it was unlikely that I would convert back and that they shouldn’t pay for me if they thought that is what was going to happen. They agreed (but still hoped).

Me and my dad and Ali ibn Abu Talib (Outside Imam Ali's Shrine in Najaf, Iraq)

Me and my dad and Ali ibn Abu Talib (Outside Imam Ali's Shrine in Najaf, Iraq)

Fantastic! A free holiday to places of historical and spiritual significance to millions of people with no catch! A couple of days later my dad called and informed me of the fine print… As he was paying for me to go to a place of pilgrimage, he wanted me to “purify” myself from the things Islam forbade. i.e. no alcohol leading up to the trip and no pork, oh and start praying namaz. What? As if it wasn’t bad enough that I was agreeing to accompany them to a place I knew I would be surrounded by suffocating Islamic culture he wanted me to abase myself to rules set by him prior to the trip?!! I can’t tell you how angry my initial response was (which I didn’t express to my dad). This is what really bugs me with the Islamic way of always asserting itself on people into behaving in a way that it thought was appropriate. It is proudly explained to people that Islam means “submission”. This is true. But another word which expresses this philosophy is “domination”. For submission is meaningless unless there is someone doing the domination. Ironically this rebellious streak I have against being dominated by others may well be due to my Zaidi and Fatimid genetic heritage. My ancestors never accepted that anyone other than they had the right to lead the Muslims (literally means ”those who submit”) after Muhammad, their forefather. Most of the Fatimid Sayyids took a non-violent approach to what they deemed was the usurpation of their divine right. However, the Zaidis (a branch of the Fatimids) made it a part of their religion that a descendent of Muhammad could not be an Imam unless he rebelled violently against the usurping government of their times. I digress, where was I? Yes! How dare anybody try to control how I behave!

A Muslim prostrating in namaz

A Muslim prostrating in namaz

After thinking about it for a bit, I agreed to cutting out the alcohol and pork but informed my dad that it was nonsensical asking me to pray 5 daily prayers like a Muslim as I was no longer one. In fact I had been thinking of doing a detox for a while, and my dad’s insistence that I should cut out alcohol and pork leading up to the trip felt like a good opportunity for me to finally commit to a detox and see what effects it had on me. I decided to experiment and cut out five things: 1) All Meat including fish and eggs; 2) Alcohol; 3) Tobacco; 4) Granulated Sugar and 5) Caffeine. I didn’t know what to expect. Little did I know that ten days from the start of the detox that I would feel how I can only describe as “ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!!” I felt so good I wanted to proclaim the Gospel of Detox to all my family, friends and the whole world! For someone who had been in the depths of depression for years, who had not yet deciphered the meaning of life, yet feel such intense joy, surely it was worth sharing with my fellow man? This amazing feeling didn’t require expensive drugs, a fad diet, a belief in any particular religion or cosmological perspective, nor the purchasing of products of any particular brand. All it seemed to require was stop poisoning the body with poison, giving it the nourishment it needed and making use of the limbs it was born with physical activity like exercise. Simples.

Like Jamie Oliver, I'm on a Nutrition Mission

Like Jamie Oliver, I'm on a Nutrition Mission

Some medications can make you feel really spaced out

Some medications can make you feel really spaced out

I should point out that pretty much immediately after my attempt at topping myself, I finally sought medication in the hope of dealing with my situation. My sister had been encouraging me to get on medications for a while. I tried a few medications. The first few were horrendous, with unacceptable side effects (like becoming asexual and being so dazed you can’t do anything anyway). It was the third type of medication I tried that finally suited me. It helped me sleep at night (which was fantastic as I used to suffer from sleep apnea). And it worked without de-philosophising my mind and turning me into a non-thinking machine. At first it did make me feel a bit doped out during the day, but after a few months of using it I felt normal during the day. Starting the medication was a crucial decision in helping me to recover. However it was only after I started the detox did I feel “ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC”. I started the detox about 3-4 months after starting the medication. I kept up my medication during both detoxes. I would not recommend coming off medication for a detox without the supervision of your Doctor. So if you suffer from depression (i.e. do you have regular thoughts of killing yourself?) then I can’t recommend enough the use of medications prescribed by your Dr to help kickstart your recovery. For most of my life I inherited the opinion that depression was my fault for not thinking “properly” or thinking too much. Many people who have not experienced depression think that you should just “be strong and pull yourself together.” This is utter rubbish. Seek medical help immediately and do not be ashamed or embarrassed to seek help particularly if your thoughts have a suicidal pattern to it.

I feel fantastic!

I feel fantastic!

A PET scan can compare brain activity during periods of depression (left) with normal brain activity (right). An increase of blue and green colors, along with decreased white and yellow areas, shows decreased brain activity due to depression.

A PET scan can compare brain activity during periods of depression (left) with normal brain activity (right). An increase of blue and green colors, along with decreased white and yellow areas, shows decreased brain activity due to depression.

Taking medication helped me get to a level where I could have the motivation and the will to commit to a detox. I believe the detox took my physical and mental health to another level beyond just prescribed anti-depressant medication. I do wonder if a person who is suffering from depression is able to be cured by the healthy diet a detox encourages. I guess it would depend on what is causing the depression. If it’s due to bad brain chemistry as a result of poor nutrition or toxins/stimulants then maybe it would. However if there is instead a physical malfunction in the brain then I doubt it would cure it. But then again what if the good nutrition was combined with a strong faith and reprogramming of the brain as well as influencing other factors which impact on a healthy mind and body? Then maybe it could. I haven’t tried this so I can’t comment from experience. It would be interesting to see. Perhaps this could be a focus for me next time I do a detox…

Going on the kind of detox I have been doing seems to create the conditions that boost the body’s and mind’s ability to perform optimally. The basic principle of the detox is very simple: cut out the crap and give the body what it has been designed/evolved to consume. If it requires synthetic packaging and a massive marketing budget to persuade you to consume it, it’s more than likely a load of rubbish. Of course there are exceptions to any rule, though it is true most of the time. If it’s natural  and comes in biodegradable packaging (I’m thinking an Orange for example) then its more than likely good for you. Of course there are poisonous natural things out there too like poisonous mushrooms and berries that you shouldn’t eat, but you hopefully get the point I’m trying to illustrate!

Processed food: throw it in the bin

Processed food: throw it in the bin

As a result of going on a detox I notice: clarity of my mind; enhanced physical senses; significantly improved sexual health (e.g. increased libido; increased sensitivity; more intense orgasms; increased semen volume and trajectory; more solid erections); drastic increase in positive moods and emotions; a feeling of freshness and increased energy levels; a renewed desire to be creative; increased ability to remain focused on a task and a sustained ability to work towards goals; a reduction in body fat; fresher breath; clearer more vibrant looking skin; increased confidence and charisma. Need I say more?

Detox your diet and become healthy

Detox your diet and become healthy

I can’t recommend going on a detox enough. I invite you to give it a go!

Please share your detox experiences with me. If you blog your experience let me know and I’ll put a link to your blog on mine.

Good luck!

 
October 19th, 2010
40 Day Detox Diary
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