How To Detox From Alcohol While Cleansing
I may be a nutritionist, but it's very rare for me to say "no, thank you" to a glass of wine or a well-made cocktail. Drinking is a pleasure--but, of course, it can be overdone. Whether you are detoxing for a cleanse such as the REVIVIFY 14 Day Whole Body Reboot, or for the longer term.
Detoxing alcohol from your system and creating new habits in the interim can be a challenge. That's why I wanted to give you a little support in the process.
If you are a daily drinker, it can be super difficult to not only experience the physical withdrawals (which are very real) but also break the daily habit of reaching for a drink after work, with dinner, or while gardening (my favorite).
Detoxing from alcohol is a two-phase process. The first phase begins within 6-24 hours of the last drink of alcohol and can last up to 5-7 days. It’s during this period that people who are serious drinkers (multiple daily drinks) could experience some dangerous withdrawal symptoms that may require medical attention and should be monitored closely. If you are a daily drinker or social drinker, you may still have some withdrawal symptoms, but they may not be as severe. Everyone has a different experience.
The second, and longer, phase of alcohol detox occurs over many months as the brain slowly begins to resume normal functioning. This is when sleep patterns are re-established and emotions are regulated.
Preparation for Alcohol Detox
While you are detoxing from alcohol, I suggest that you plan things to keep you busy. If you are joining the MHW community for a cleanse, make sure to follow and take action on the daily wellness challenges. They will give you a focus to occupy your thoughts, dig deeper and set new habits. Find things like books, movies, games, etc. to try while you are detoxing.
Also, get rid of all the alcohol in your home. No joke. There is no “saving some for a special occasion” or “just in case”. Just get rid of it – toss it or give it away immediately. Trust me – you will not be able to resist the temptation once the withdrawal symptoms set in.
Did you line up a family member, friends, or a coach to reach out to? If not, do so now.
This needs to happen from Day 1, particularly when it comes to alcohol detox. Most likely after Day 3 you will be feeling better, more confident, and in your cleansing groove.
Home remedies for eliminating alcohol
1. Dietary Changes
Diet is critical and having the right foods and beverages on hand is very important. You’ll want to pick up lots of fruits and vegetables. This is about replacing the toxins that are leaving your body with good things that are going to make you feel better, and Cheetos or Moon Pies aren’t going to cut it (especially if you are participating in a MHW Whole Body reboot).
Berries are an excellent snack that contains natural sugar, which is something that ex-drinkers tend to crave. Oats are also good for controlling blood sugar and serve as a relaxant. Bananas are great for lifting mood and a great source of energy, fiber and potassium. Also pick up some food that is high in protein, like chicken, fish or even peanut butter.
Avoid junk foods and include nutrient rich foods in your diet if you want to get the maximum benefit out of the detox. Junk foods with main ingredient as refined sugar or carbohydrate should be avoided to get effective results. The main motive of detox is to flush out the toxins from the body, so, you may also want to stay away from caffeine as it promotes chemical build-up.
Eat fresh, natural, REAL food during the cleansing regimen. The fresh food will provide essential nutrients to your body and help in the internal healing process.
2. Drink enough water
It’s crucial that you drink moderate to large amounts of water. Do not consume more than 2 quarts in an hour, however. It is fine to mix in a few sparkling drinks (no sugar added) or coconut water for flavor but try to stick primarily to water for fluid intake. Drinking enough water will ease the withdrawal symptoms and allow the body to flush the toxins out of your body more easily. Avoid caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee as much as possible. Your sleep patterns may be disturbed. These drinks only exacerbate that and will not help calm yourself.
It is very important for you to drink around 100 ounces of water every day to wash off the chemicals, toxins and alcohol from your body. Drinking water at regular intervals will also help you to combat dehydration caused by alcohol consumption. If you get bored of just plain ol' H2O spice it up with some fresh cucumber, mint, rosemary, lime, lemon, or orange slices!
3. Have enough vitamin B
Alcohol consumption on daily basis causes the deficiency of vitamin B. In order to heal the body from within, it becomes very important to replenish and restore this vitamin in the body. In addition, the restoration of magnesium and vitamin C is also imperative to ensure smooth body functions.
4. Use Milk Thistle & Kudzu
Milk thistle extract acts as a natural cure to remove the toxins from the body. It not only blocks the absorption of alcohol in the liver but also reduces the severity of side effects of alcohol consumption. These milk thistle capsules not only promote liver health, but boosted immune response in clinical trials.
Kudzu has been used since times immemorial to cure several ailments and treat alcohol addiction. The powerful medicinal virtues and antioxidant properties of this herb reduces the damage and regenerates the damaged liver tissues. To curb the craving for alcohol, take ten grams of kudzu powder every day.
5. Use Angelica Extract
Angelica reduces the craving and withdrawal symptoms of alcohol. It is an anti-inflammatory herb that curbs the desire of having alcohol. This herb can cause sickness and nausea if you go back to drinking at all. The recommended dosage is three to five drops per day. You just have to add the extract to a glass of water and have it. This herb will also relieve headaches and bloating symptoms caused due to abstinence from alcohol.
6. Add Cayenne Pepper to Food
Cayenne pepper reduces the craving and increases your appetite. Adding pepper to food can ease the most common withdrawal symptoms such as nausea and decreased appetite you must be facing after quitting alcohol.
7. Drink Passion Flower Tea
Since many people suffer from insomnia and possibly even delerium after giving up alcohol, drinking passion flower tea can help them to alleviate these symptoms to a great extent.
Basil’s potent medicinal value induces spiritual healing. Basil is one of the most effective herbs to curb alcohol craving. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. This helps to free the body from harmful free radicals and detoxifies the body properly. You need to pluck some soft basil twigs and soak these overnight with twenty peppercorns in a glass of water. Regular intake of this water can easily curb your desire for alcohol.
Ashwagandha is an ancient herb and has powerful medicinal value. This herb is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This is an excellent way to improve the brain function and reboot your whole body. This herb alleviates alcoholism related tension and stress and induces a sense of well-being. One teaspoon of ashwagandha with a glass of milk or non-dairy milk (if you are doing the reboot) should be taken twice a day. Alternatively, ashwagandha supplement capsules could be used as well.
10. Gotu Kola
Gotu kola is a supplement which improves the function of nervous system and brain. While acting as a blood purifier, it also helps to decrease the stress and anxiety related to alcoholism. The recommended intake is about 50 grams that is to be taken three times daily.
***The above mentioned home remedies can stimulate your stamina to combat alcohol addiction and help you overcome any withdrawal symptoms you may be experiencing. If you have any health concerns or are taking other medications I would recommend that you consult your doctor for more information on herbs and other supplements.
Other things you’ll want to do during detox to ease symptoms include taking frequent baths, or sitting in a pool if you have one available. The water temperature should really be to your comfort – whatever is going to make you feel better and more comfortable at that moment. It could be the complete opposite just a little while later. Mild exercise, such as stretching and going for a short walk, may also help with blood circulation and anxiety through the release of endorphins. Rest when you are able to and keep your mind busy.
Your body clock may be off for some time if this is the first time you are removing alcohol from your diet. So sleep when you can. When you can’t sleep, keep your mind occupied with those books or movies that you have on hand and planning that wonderful new life liberation that you are creating.
Dealing With Cravings
Cravings are a normal part of any addiction and are totally common when you are cleansing. They can also pop up months or even years after you stop using drugs or drinking (if you are removing alcohol for the long-haul). Here are some important things to remember about alcohol cravings and some ways to deal with them.
What You Should Know About Cravings:
- They are not caused by a lack of willpower or motivation. However, that doesn’t mean that you are doing something wrong or failing to do something right.
- Cravings don’t mean that your detox and withdrawal aren’t working.
- Cravings are never constant and their severity lasts for a very short period.
- Psychological or physical discomfort can trigger the cravings. Managing this discomfort (getting in tune with your emotions and your lifestyle choices) can reduce the cravings to a significant extent.
Things You Can Do to Manage Cravings:
- Identify cues or “triggers” that may have brought on the cravings. They could be people, places or things that remind you of alcohol. Re-direct your mental energy towards ways in which you can avoid these same triggers in the future.
- Remind yourself of why you stopped consuming alcohol in the first place. This would be the time to re-list the negative effects that the alcohol use had on your life and also list the positive things that you stand to gain by sticking to your goals.
- Call on others for help. This is where a support network comes in. The REVIVIFY reboot community (if you are following along with the guided cleanse), family members and friends that support your efforts.
- For those that are spiritual, meditation and prayers can play a significant role in keeping the mind calm and helping you focus on things that are important.
Alternative Drink Ideas:
If you miss the ritual of a dinnertime glass or two, the way it can stretch out both the meal and the conversation. A glass of water doesn't have the same effect. But there's a certain knowledge you get from interrupting habits, and you will work to be more mindful when you pick up the wine glass again. (It can go from one glass to three so quickly!)
Here are some drink ideas:
- Water - Just drink it! Add cucumber, lime, rosemary, mint, orange to mix it up and keep it fresh! I encourage a hydration habit during the cleanse. From my perspective it definitely helps me get through the challenge of the cleanse.
- Sparkling water- At dinner, I rely on my old friend, bitters and bubbly water, which looks enough like rosé to make me feel like a grown up in the company of wine drinkers. It has enough of an edge to break up the water-drinking tedium. The bubbles in my bitters mocktail help fool me that I’m drinking pop.
- Herbal tea - Though they don’t give me the same buzz as coffee or black tea, the advantage is that I can drink them all day and not just in the morning. I tend to sip and savor them, rather than gulping them hungrily down. A couple options that I like are the Pukka Detox tea and Recover Wellness Tea.
- Coconut water
- Golden milk with non-dairy milk of your choice
- Chaga Tea