Ali Choi is the Manager of the Detox Program at Ananda Yoga & Detox Center in Ko Phangan, the place where I did the Yoga Teacher’s Course with the incredible Johnny Nasello. Ali is a gentle soul with a deep knowledge and experience in eating patterns and how food affects our overall health. Ali is a gentle soul with a deep knowledge and experience in eating patterns and how our relationship with food affects our overall health. The gut is one of the most important organs of our body and it’s the second one (after the brain) with more nervous cells. Our relationship with food affects (and sometimes even defines) our entire life. In this insightful interview, Ali tells us more about gut health and how it affects our overall mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
1 – What makes our gut so special and why is it such an underestimated organ?
The gut is extremely important for your body’s health. The gut is now being understood as the body’s second brain, where it contains trillions of bacteria that control the functioning of our digestive and immune systems. The more balanced you can keep your gut bacteria/gut flora, the better your body can function and defend itself from any illness or disease.
2 – How does the Detox program work?
Our detox program at Ananda Yoga & Detox Center is a fasting detox program, where you give your body a chance to go through a rebooting process to get to optimal health. You engage in a daily schedule of detox herbs and shakes, along with fresh juice, coconut water, and vegetable broth. You also have Colemas (colon cleansing) each day to promote deeper detoxification process. You consume only liquids and herbs without any solid foods to allow your body to have maximum benefit in a short duration. Our most popular program is the 7.5 Day Detox Program.
3 – What are the physical benefits of the program? What can one expect to achieve by the end of the Detox?
There are many benefits of going through a fasting detox program. It can help increase immunity, reduce inflammation, improve digestive functioning, increase cellular repair, reduce aches and pains, improve sleep, improve mental focus & clarity, reduce food cravings, increase metabolism, increase overall energy, and more. At the end of the detox, one can expect a noticeably improved overall sense of well-being – many people also report feeling cleaner, lighter, more focused and clear, and even improved vision.
4 – What are the mental and emotional benefits of the program? How does food affects our emotional state?
During the Detox period, many of our clients notice ups and downs emotionally. This is very common as your body goes through a cleansing process. Not only are you cleansing your physical body, you go through a process of emotional cleansing as well.
There is a close connection with food and emotions. When we go about our days, we are digesting not only food, but also emotions. Many people have issues with binge eating or emotional eating and undergoing a detox program can help your body to work through any emotional issues you may be holding onto, allowing release to take place.
5 – How can one be more mindful about food and support the body and particularly the gut in such a way that it promotes health and wellness in one’s life?
Understanding and becoming more aware of your own body’s needs can greatly improve your general health and your gut health. For many people, doing an elimination diet can be a tremendous help. Cutting out the usual problem causing foods such as, dairy, gluten, and refined sugar, and starting a food diary where you keep a record of all the foods you eat along with recording any physical and emotional effects each meal has on your body can give you a better picture and an understanding of what foods work well with your body and which foods don’t.
For people who have taken antibiotics in the past, it’s important to take probiotics supplements or foods rich in probiotics to bring your gut flora back to a balanced and healthy state.
6 – Any last words you would like to share with Skin at Heart readers?
I think one of the most important things people can do to take care of their bodies and their health is to become more in-tune with and aware of their own bodies. To start listening to and to start taking care of the body before things become broken. Take preventative measures such as eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and doing periodic cleanses or fasting. If you take care of a car with regular maintenance, it can run beautifully for years and years. Same would be the case with our bodies. Take care of your body – your amazing vehicle of life, and it will take care of you for a long time!
Skin at Heart thanks Ali for this inspiring and clarifying interview!