Detox guru to the stars

Gwyneth loves him. Sadie swears by him. Kate worships him... but can Dr Joshi, the holistic detox guru to the stars, save Deborah Ross from coffee, cigarettes, alcohol - and herself?
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Dr Nish Joshi has just published his first book, Dr Joshi's Holistic Detox (21 days to a healthier, slimmer you - for life). It is mightily endorsed. "I love him," says Gwyneth Paltrow. "An amazing man," says Sadie Frost. "Oh, piss off," says Deborah Ross, who is particularly partial to toxing 'till she drops and then picking herself up and starting all over again.

Dr Nish Joshi has just published his first book, Dr Joshi's Holistic Detox (21 days to a healthier, slimmer you - for life). It is mightily endorsed. "I love him," says Gwyneth Paltrow. "An amazing man," says Sadie Frost. "Oh, piss off," says Deborah Ross, who is particularly partial to toxing 'till she drops and then picking herself up and starting all over again.

Oh, typical Deborah Ross. Sneer and ridicule. But, deep down, and most pitifully, she would love to clean up her disgustingly filthy, artery-clogged act. In particular, and perhaps even more pitifully, she yearns to be like one of those women you see photographed on yoga pamphlets, on the tip of a jetty, possibly not in Margate - Daz-white lycra; lotus position; face and palms upturned to the sun - who look so serene and unpolluted that, Deborah Ross suspects, should you cut them they will bleed Evian.

At this stage in her life, Deborah Ross feels that if you were to cut her she'd bleed such a tarry tobacco/caffeine/alcohol slick that you'd never get it off birds' wings and it would be kinder just to break their necks. Deborah Ross says she will consult Dr Joshi and try his 21 days to a healthier, more bird-friendly her.

Deborah Ross now feels like such a new Deborah Ross she can only write about the old Deborah Ross in the third person, as that Deborah Ross is too disgusting to have anything to do with. If this Deborah Ross were to now meet that Deborah Ross in the street she would snub her most profoundly.

WEEK ONE

First consultation with Dr Joshi at 57 Wimpole Street. Nice reception. Fish. Curly Bamboo. Water cooler to fully address all your hydration needs. Pamphlets that show pure-looking women in yoga positions on the end of jetties, possibly not in Margate. Up to see Dr Joshi, who is forty-something, as is Deborah Ross, but looks much younger, whereas she doesn't.

He takes her blood pressure and announces "very sluggish" as if she doesn't know, as if, these days, she isn't aware that she exists in such a exhausted fug she can't whip cream without rest breaks. He weighs her and says she has no need to slim, which at least confirms what Deborah Ross has known all along: she has a smashing figure. He quizzes her about her lifestyle and so she lies like she does at the doctor's. "Smoker?" Now and then (by which she means "every other minute".) "Drinker?" Only socially (except for when I'm on my own). "Coffee?" I can take it or leave it (but only after 49 triple espressos). "Exercise?" Always. But then, somewhat amazingly for someone so utterly mendacious, she adds: "Only joshing, Dr Joshi! I'm a chain-smoking, caffeine-addicted drinker who suffers headaches, stomach aches and whose liver has probably gone to mush. Please sort me out".

"I will," Dr Joshi exclaims. And then, before you know it, it's top off, bra off, face down on his treatment table - "Dr Joshi," she wants to cry "never on a first date!" - but it's a good job she doesn't because all he wants to do is 'cup' her. Cupping is the thing that made Gwyneth's back look like a pepperoni pizza that time. Cupping is an ancient treatment that's said to draw toxins trapped in the tissues into the blood stream for elimination. Cupping involves heating small jars and then applying them to the back where the suction causes the skin to rise and the blood to rush up. Deborah Ross thinks it feels rather pleasant, like a lot of randy schoolboys giving her simultaneous lovebites, which is OK by her.

Next, she is given Dr Joshi's special Metabolic Detox Diet sheet with its long list of foods to avoid, like alcohol, yeast, dairy, sugar, coffee, red meat, all fruit (apart from bananas), nuts, fast food and everything that is nice. Foods allowed include brown rice, pulses, soya, tofu, wheat/gluten/yeast free breads/cereals, some fish and basically everything that sounds totally foul, including the suggested breakfast, "gluten-free oatmeal made with rice milk or water".

Deborah Ross promises Dr Joshi to take a brisk 20-minute walk everyday, but then he doesn't know what her promises are worth. But she does take a brisk walk round the cosmetic counters in John Lewis on her way home, so maybe she can be as good as her word. Dr Joshi says we'll not worry about the smoking just now, which makes Deborah Ross go "yippee".

Deborah Ross paid £285 to consult Dr Joshi and purchase several bottles of his special supplements. She thinks: if nothing else, this is an excellent way of flushing excess cash out your system. Deborah Ross gets home and shows partner and son the coaster-sized weals on her back and they scream. Deborah Ross decides that if she is starting the diet tomorrow she might as well get drunk tonight, so she does.

The next day Deborah Ross starts the day, as advised, with a cup of hot water with lemon, which she considers as much a substitute for coffee as, say, a little something from Primark might be for a whopping something from Prada. She has a banana and yoghurt for breakfast as she has nothing else in the house that suits. Deborah Ross sniffs the Sugar Puffs packet longingly then makes for Waitrose, which has an amazing faddy diet aisle that she has never noted before. Deborah Ross, astonishingly, has no coffee all day. At supper, her partner and son have yesterday's roast lamb in wraps with fat slices of avocado and fat dollops of Hellman's. As the mayonnaise drips off their chins, Deborah Ross has two boiled eggs with some gluten-free, wheat-free, yeast-free bread. For the first time in her adult life, she doesn't have her nightly most-of-a-bottle of wine. She has a horrible empty feeling. Still, she enjoys the novelty of going to bed sober and reading a book knowing that, when she comes back to it, she might remember what she has already read.

Deborah Ross does surprisingly well on her new regime, even the bread, until day four. She feels sick and has a strange swooshing sound in her head. She can't even smoke. She lies in bed and whimpers all day and can not attend Dr Joshi's book launch party because she thinks she would have to spit on the wheat-free canapés. She reads his book, which says she should expect to feel like this at this stage, but still.

WEEK TWO

Second consultation with Dr Joshi, more cupping, then a fiddle with Deborah Ross's "tense" neck which makes the vertebrae crack like starting pistols.

Deborah Ross wonders how it all began for Dr Joshi. He says he grew up in London, studied for a medical degree in Mumbai, then returned to the UK as a clinical tutor at the British School of Osteopathy. He specialised in treating ballet dancers, who generally live on Diet Coke and cigarettes, some of whom were suffering brittle bones at a terrifyingly young age. His focused shifted from bones to diet which, in turn, led to his Holistic Detox Programme.

Dr Joshi says he now has a surprise for Deborah Ross. Oh goodie, she says, a Terry's chocolate orange? No, he says, it's a colonic irrigation. Deborah Ross is booted upstairs to the nice Russian lady but whose name she never caught in the trauma of it all. Deborah Ross is so prissy she won't have sex with either the light on or off. (This is why she's convinced her son is the new Jesus).

She will only say that when she was offered the chance to have a look at what was coming out the tube, she said thanks but no thanks. Afterwards, she was told to hang around for 15 minutes because if there is any excess water in the bowel, it will want to expel it, and if that's the case, you have very little time to play with. So Deborah Ross hangs around reception, as does someone from Girls Aloud. Deborah Ross eventually departs but half-way up Wimpole Street her bowel says playtime is over. Deborah Ross races towards Dickens & Jones as fast as someone fiercely clenching their anus muscles can. Deborah Ross luckily makes it to the fifth floor facilities, although would have preferred them to have been on the first floor. Deborah Ross wonders if this kind of thing ever happens to Kate Moss.

WEEK THREE

Some weird things are happening to Deborah Ross: 1) she wakes more easily; 2) her skin has improved; 3) she no longer has that feeling of lead in her veins; 4) her stomach aches have diminished; 5) she had a glass of wine but it gave her stomach pains and she didn't want another; 6 ) she appears to be effortlessly getting though a lot of water, even though last time she aimed for two litres her shrunken, dehydrated bladder complained so much that if it weren't for the nice man opening Argos on the Holloway Road early one morning there would have been an embarrassing incident.

And this is not all. One morning, Deborah Ross finds herself in her local health food shop asking if pumpkin kernels count as nuts (not allowed) or seeds (allowed). The packet is passed round all the staff until one finally announces: "Seeds". Yippee, thinks Deborah Ross, I can have them! Bloody hell, thinks Deborah Ross, who is this Deborah Ross? And who is to say I'll ever take to her?

Deborah Ross returns to Dr Joshi who weighs her and discovers that she's lost 5lbs. God damn it, thinks Deborah Ross, I'm even more adorable than ever! Deborah Ross receives acupuncture to help her with the smoking, as she's not getting through enough packets a day. Actually, Deborah Ross has cut down magnificently.

So, to the new Deborah Ross, which is me. I now don't drink and don't do coffee and eat chicken rather than bloody steaks and do feel a great deal better and less achy. I accept it may be a pragmatic fallacy - that what you hope will work will - and know, too, that a recent major study on detoxing concluded that people who do feel benefits possibly do so not because of elimination of toxins but because they've changed over from a poor diet.

Still, what the hell. I've felt as if I've kissed by a lot of randy schoolboys, which must be worth something. And I'll also say that while lemon and ginger tea is nice,blackcurrant and vanilla promises everything but delivers nothing (tastes of pond). The old Deborah Ross would never have known that. But then she was crap. As for the new Deborah Ross, who is hoping to receive RSPB approval shortly, she has still yet to try gluten free oatmeal made with rice milk or water, as you have to draw the line somewhere.

The Dr Joshi Clinic, 57 Wimpole Street. 020 7487 5456. Dr Joshi's Holistic Detox, (£12.99, Hodder Mobius). To order your copy for £11.50 (inc p&p) call 08700 798 897

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