A few years back, I wrote an article titled “Detox In The City”. I spoke about the struggles I had immersing myself again into urban life after a radical but life-changing tenure living in rural India (which I chronicle in my memoir—Holy Cancer: How A Cow Saved My Life). I had spent nearly two years detoxing myself not just of the food and the medicines that had given me so much over the years but had also taken its toll on my body, my mind and what I realised, my soul too. 

As I acclimated again into society and city stressors, I found my outlet through physical activity and meditation. I felt so compelled by my new way of life that I wrote that piece offering my own version of the “urban detox”. But it’s been some time. I’ve lived, I’ve struggled, I’ve relapsed and I’ve also found other outlets to keep my body going. But in order to be on the journey, we’ve got to cleanse ourselves, we have to let our body rid itself of the toxins.

Here are the 5 toxins we need to target and why detoxing needs to be a way of life. 

1. Physical Toxins: Our body is our hard drive. What we save there, gets stored there. But every drive has a carrying capacity and no matter how clean we live, eat, think—there is still an accumulation of physical toxins. It’s important every once in a while, to clean up our drive and detox to make sure it works we’re working at our optimal level. Without this, we are just setting ourselves up to be corrupted! 

2. Social Toxins: We need one another. But through our engagements and interactions we also share and exchange energy. It isn’t always an equal exchange and as a result, the imbalance can cause significant stress which can manifest itself in hormonal changes, emotional struggles and even physical ailments. Through detox, we shift the focus back to ourselves and we try to find the balance that works to keep us going, and smiling. 

3. Financial Toxins: Money is the universal currency. Even if we try to veer away from our dependency on it, it’s a very real aspect of our decision-making process for whatever we choose to do or not do. As a result, given that our identity is often based on our choices, it’s important to reflect and make sure our priorities actually match up with what we believe. Detoxing is important to ensure we live the life we want rather than the one we’re told.

4. Emotional Toxins: Knowledge is power. But in this information age we’re hyper stimulated to such a point that our minds can’t settle. Whether on our phones, on the computer, in front of a TV, this constant focus on acquiring sounds and sights takes its toll. We record every moment and we store every emotion attached without giving ourselves the time to let it go. Detoxing offers a way to ensure that we don’t just stay with ‘wait and let procrastination substitute for productivity’. 

5. Spiritual Toxins: There is a journey we all are on. Whether it involves a God, a Guru, or science, we are guided not just by knowledge but also what it means. At a time when there’s an answer for every question, we have to ask ourselves if we actually need to ask the question in the first place. Detoxing is essential to keep our focus where it needs to be, on our health, on our heart and on our happiness. Sometimes too much of everything leaves you feeling obliged. Detoxing helps rid the obligation. 

At the end of the day, detoxing is not a diet, it’s a way of life. No single expert can transform us because it’s hard work and we have to do the heavy lifting ourselves. We have to feel empowered to be on our own journeys. Only then can a real comprehensive, holistic detox take place.  

(“Detox In The City” at The A Club, Mumbai, on 28 September 2019, invite only, will focus on warding off these toxins.)


  • Amit Vaidya

    Wellness Empowerer I Writer I #FoodIsMedicine Advocate

    Amit Vaidya is first and foremost an inspiration. While his life has taken him from Wall Street and Hollywood to the rural farmlands of India, he has always embraced the “live for today” philosophy (a phrase his Mom repeated constantly as he played caregiver to her as she battled a terminal brain tumour).  His own mantra that happiness is the constant has guided him to advocate for patients and individuals alike. As a late-stage cancer survivor himself, he opted not to return to his cush life back in the United States, published his best-selling memoir, Holy Cancer: How A Cow Saved My Life instead and founded Healing Vaidya Foundation, designed to empower individuals to be in the driver’s seat of their own lives. Leading by example, he’s opted to take the road less traveled and lead an organic way of life where diseased or healthy, he follows one simple routine and subsequently enforces it with discipline. He champions this lifestyle through social media campaigns, empowerment talks across schools, colleges and companies and also via educating his followers through articles and books. With the upcoming #foodismedicine cookbook series and a sequel to his memoir chronicling the challenges of returning “back to life” slated for release next year, Amit is finding different ways to alert seekers to the realities of life and the practical steps required to make permanent changes with acceptance and a smile.  Amit is the in-house Wellness expert for Kapiva Ayurveda and has collaborated with them for a series of limited edition, hard to source/scale natural products that he believes in, has a monthly Ask The Expert column in Mans World India, contributes to Conde Nast Traveller and also curates events like “Detox In The City” in association with the Indian Chamber of Commerce to help urbanites manage city stresses.  “We have to put in the hard work to heal and improve our own lives. Rather than just blindly following coaches, gurujis or Googleji, I want every person to be comfortable enough to trust their instincts, listen to their body and be their own best advocate in life."