Detox Rash

I’ve been away from the blog a couple of days, not for lack of time or inspiration, but I have been (and still am) plagued by something I have never experienced before – detox rash. This is something that can happen with radical changes to the diet, or undergoing a dietary detox. I didn’t do the detox on purpose, but ever since moving into the new house and cooking all my meals myself instead of all the take out and fast fast food I have been consuming in the past months, my body suddenly reacted to flushing out all the excess fats and toxins. I was aware that I was not eating healthily back in Vila Franca, especially with the convenience of food delivery at my fingertips (not to mention living above the pizza place!). There were many days that I came home exhausted from work and the long commute, that the last thing I wanted to do was potter around in the kitchen, or if I was in the mood to cook, there was somebody already there. As a result, I gained weight, and I felt increasingly uncomfortable.

Cooking fresh meals with equally fresh ingredients makes a huge difference, and eating homemade bread that is high in fibre, eliminating all junk food from the pantry and diet, was a radical change and I suppose my body was in shock. It wasn’t until I began drinking water infused with fresh ginger and cinnamon sticks that the revolutionary change began to take place. I had stumbled on an article praising the benefits of cinnamon water – weightless, anti-inflammatory, increased metabolism, reduced blood sugar levels, just to name a few. It basically breaks down fat cells and flushes them out along with other other toxin that come from processed foods. Ginger infused water, on the other hand, is a natural antioxidant that also reduces the blood sugar levels and aids in digestion. So I figured, why not combine the two and see what happens.

For starters, I have been making inordinate trips to the bathroom at the most inconvenient times. The next thing was an intense itchiness and hives that broke out all over my arms, neck and thighs. At first I thought I was being eaten alive by mosquitos but this house is not prone to them in a way that I would be bitten in this manner. Besides, lately it has been do bloody windy up here the mosquitos don’t really stand a chance. Nevertheless, I plugged in the electric fan and the anti-mosquito diffuser last night to discourage any such invasion. It didn’t help. I was awake mos of the night, if not running to the look then my body was on fire and the itchiness intensified. The only thing that helped was topical application of lavender oil.

Then I thought it might be ants, as I am highly allergic to ant bites, but the manifestation of the “bites” was different and so was my reaction. Besides, not an ant in sight either. It wasn’t until this morning that it dawned on me that these are hives and not bites. The itchiness is internal (most frustrating and uncomfortable) and the hives subside briefly with the lavender or peppermint oil (I eventually switched to my own mix of peppermint, tea tree, and lavender). I smell like a sauna but at least I am no longer scratching. Welcome to the world of detox hives / rash.

Detox rash is a normal reaction of the body undergoing dietary detox, and the hives are a confirmation of toxins exiting through the skin. I can tell you that it is uncomfortable and scary as hell, but if I think back on the last ten days, there are several things that I have reintroduced to my diet that I have gone without for the past six months. Garlic, for example. While working in an office and surrounded by other people, I avoided garlic altogether. But ever since working from home, I went back full scale in true Filipino style! The medicinal properties of garlic have been known for millennia, so it should be no surprise that it has a chemical reaction to the detox water that I have been drinking, throw in the plethora of apples (thanks to the weekly farm delivery) that also have anti-oxidant properties, and voila! detox hives galore.

I joked this morning during a Zoom call that I am now a certified country girl, or probinsyana as we call them in the Philippines, or Landei in Germany, living where I do. I suppose that having spent all my life in huge metropolitan cities and smog-ridden air, my body is also reacting the clean air up here. I’m just not used to simple clean country living, yet, but I am determined to get there once I get rid of these darn hives!

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