There are thousands of toxic chemicals out there, and many of them get into our bodies. We inhale them, we eat them and absorb them through our skin. So it is good to give our body a rest once in a while. Here LotteTisenkopfa-Iltnere, one of the founders of Madara, takes us through her 7 day Birch Water detox.
Spring is round the corner and the birch water harvest has just started. These two things together give a perfect reason to finally put myself on a detox diet.
I have to admit that even though I eat organic and healthy most of the time, and have banned chemicals in skincare, my body shows 5 of the 10 signs of needing a detox. Fatigue: check. Trouble sleeping: check. Headaches: check. Trouble concentrating: check. Occasional muscle stiffness: check. Moreover: I would really love to lose a couple of kg, to get back to my pre-baby weight I had 10 years ago.
Taking advantage of living in a northern climate and having a birch grove near my country cottage, I choose the most cost-effective and traditional form of spring cleaning – flushing out toxins with birch water.
The birch water harvesting season starts in early April and the juice or sap runs from the tree for one to two weeks. The sap, liquid and crystal clear, is generated by the birch tree to carry essential nutrients for new leaves to grow. I harvest my own sap by drilling a hole in the trunk, inserting a pipe and… ready to pour into a glass. And no – it does not hurt or damage the tree.
Birch water is rich in minerals, like K, Mg, Ca (it is low in Na, which is a great thing), free amino acids like citrulline, glutamine, asparagine, a wide variety of proteins and enzymes. It is a powerful antioxidant. It provides essential nutrition and re-hydration to the body, allowing one to reduce the intake of food. And very importantly – birch water contains healthy sugars (fructose, polysaccharides) that suppress appetite.
The rules of the birch detox are very simple – drink 2 litres of birch water a day (watch out for fluid retention), eat when hungry. I will not skip coffee or anything in particular, I will just try to reduce food intake and let the birch water remove the toxins.
Body weight 8:00 a.m. 60 kg
I drink 1 litre of freshly harvested birch water and a cafe latte.
I almost fail to follow up my detox plan. Day started with two huge mugs of birch water at 5 am, then rushing to the airport to catch an early flight to Amsterdam. Instead of 2 liters a day I barely manage to drink one, as security would no way accept more than 100 ml. Instead of birch I drink fresh juice smoothies at Hotel Droog, that kindly hosts the presentation of MADARA SOS Hydration range. Intense day but feeling very well.
Food consumed today: organic granola, smoothies and two vegan tapas.
I’m catching up. It’s not until 5 o’clock afternoon when I get back home from AMS and reach the birch water supply in my fridge. By the way, birch water must be stored in fridge as it is full of enzymes and is easily spoiled by microorganisms in just couple of days. My husband and son have harvested fresh water from the tree last night. I drink couple of cups and realise that it so much easier to drink sap comparing to plain water. Polysaccharides of birch add a hit of sweetness and smoothness to the juice. I have to force myself to drink a bottle of water but with birch – it’s so easy. Headache was back this morning (is it because I had no birch water last night?). I noticed that my skin looks better, more radiant. I am surprised because it always looks dehydrated after flights.
Food consumed today: yoghurt, Dutch cheese 100 g, cappuccino, 2 big plates of carrot-beetroot soup (I cooked for kids, they did not like it), slice of rye bread, perhaps something more.
Flying high. To Helsinki. Early wake-up, drinking birch, skipping breakfast. I can’t take birch water with me but my Finnish friends treat me with a pair of bottled sap from Nordic Koivu, a Finnish company that has discovered how to keep it fresh without adding preservatives. It is clear, tasty and packed with minerals, which are also listed on the label. Before flying back home the same night we visit a small Helsinki cafe that served fabulous falafel. That’s my only food today. …well… Please let me forget the airport sandwich.
It has been now 5 full days drinking birch water and I must say – IT WORKS. My energy levels have been up since day two (gone is that terrible fatigue) and today it just exploded when I replanted potted indoor plants and then went into my yard to catch up on some gardening work. I dug up my flower beds (60 square meters), cut out dry branches of roses, replanted 5 potted plants and put natural fertiliser on around 40 lilac trees. Kids were dirty, I was hungry and totally happy to have that all done at the very last moment, really. Was that birch or that warm spring sunshine that made this happen?
Well, it has been almost a week now flushing out toxins with birch water. I must say I really feel better. Headache – gone, fatigue – gone. Also I’m sleeping much better now. I have been able to say “no” to coffee. I assume that birch water has kept my energy levels up. With only 18 calories per 100 ml, birch water supplies body with healthy polysaccharides and minerals. I feel less hungry when drinking 2 litres of sap each day, and generally consume less food. Tomorrow is the last day of my detox and I will be ready to take my body weight.
I did it! 18.5 litres of refreshing birch water in 7 days and YOOHOO!!! the scales show a nice weight loss of more than 2 kg. I don’t know why, but I even fit into a size 34 black bodysuit. I noticed that my skin got more radiant and smooth. Maybe it is because my body finally got enough hydration and stopped taking water from the skin. Headache, tiredness, difficulties to concentrate – all gone! Gardening work – done! I feel healthier and stronger. Even though 2 kg is not massive weight loss, I definitely look much skinnier. I am in love with the effects of birch water, it delivered more than I anticipated! Now when the harvest season is over I am trying to figure out how to secure supply of fresh sap all year round. Options: bottled or frozen. If I don’t find room in my home for another freezing unit, I will very much look forward for the next spring to drill another birch tree.