Spring Cleanse - The Ayurveda Style
Spring is a natural cleansing season. Once it gets a little warmer, the human organism is wired to shed off extra winter pounds that kept us warm during the winter, flush out toxins that were accumulated from heavy cold weather foods, and to generally lighten up preparing for warmer seasons.
If you don’t recognize this natural pattern or worse try to resist it by loading up on heavy foods, it will lead to internal clogging – spring allergies, sluggishness, water retention, heaviness in the limbs, and seasonal affective disorder.
Toxins or ayurvedically speaking, ama, negatively affect all aspects of our being. If you notice that your tongue is thickly coated in the morning, that joint pain accompanies movement, that your nose feels stuffed even when you don’t have a cold, and that even the strongest anti- perspirant can’t prevent a strong body odor, you body is in dire need of a cleanse. It is not natural for our bodies to exist on reserve power, to require caffeine and sugar to function. A
healthy rested body has plenty of energy throughout the day, a regular digestion, and a glowing skin.
No matter how clogged up we feel, the idea of starving yourself to cleanse is a little scary to most who can’t give up work and family responsibilities and retreat into week-long Spring cleansing. However, detox doesn’t have to be stressful. All you need to do is to facilitate and support the natural cleansing process and the organs responsible for it.
In General It Is A Good Idea To:
- Add foods that can help brush the insides of your stomach and colon the same way we brush our teeth. Think spicy, light, and green! Say no to heavy sauces, everything creamy, or too sweet. A cleanse facilitating diet means eliminating dairy products, wheat, yeasted breads and other baked goods, fried and other oily food, and
reducing meat. Instead, meals should be simple and light, comprising of berries and fresh, lightly cooked vegetables, grains, lentils prepared with small amounts of coconut oil or ghee, and/or lean protein.
- A light dinner is crucial to a successful detox program, since our digestive power weakens considerably in the evening.
- Add some bitter greens and spices to your daily diet to help out a struggling liver. Bitter taste is universally recognized as strengthening for digestion. Bitter herbs cause a reflexive secretion of gastric juices and tone the muscles of the digestive tract. They also support detoxification by helping the liver process incoming nutrients and filter impurities
from circulation. You can get bitter taste out of these herbs: turmeric, dandelion, goldenseal, gentian, milk thistle, and neem. An easy way to add them to your diet is to drink them as tea. Dandelion and milk thistle are my favorite!
- Drink plenty of liquids. To stimulate toxin release try hot water with a pinch of cayenne, ¼ lemon, 1 tsp honey, and a few drops of apple cider vinegar. This recipe is recommended by the founder of Joyful Belly as a vivacious Ayurvedic blend to boost fat digestion and metabolism. A strong sour taste encourages the free flow of bile from
your liver and gall bladder to your gut. This spicy drink restores energy and vitality by helping the body digest high-fat foods. Vinegar and cayenne add an intense metabolic spark that improves energy and enthusiasm. Together with warm water, they strongly stimulate digestion and clear mucus accumulations from the stomach. This has the effect of improving circulation and revving up metabolism. Cumin, coriander, fennel tea (ccf tea) is cooling and soothing for the mind, digestion and urinary tract. These three kitchen spices are balancing for all seasons and body types. Add ¼ tsp of each spice to 2 cups of water, bring to boil and let it cool. Sip throughout the day. You can find a list of my favorite teas for stimulating digestion here
- All elimination passageways should be optimized to get the best cleansing results. It means that a good cleanse program should always include practices that will help you sweat more, promote regularity, create lymph drainage, and encourage deep breathing.
- An ayurvedic blend of herbs called triphala can be very helpful. Triphala is a bowel tonic, not a laxative. It tones the bowel walls and helps the colon function at its optimal level. Ayurvedic texts refer to triphala as an “toxin scraper”; it helps pull toxins out of the intestines and draws them out of the body. It is available in most health food stores
including Whole Foods.
- To increase the detoxifying effect try sauna, steam room, hot baths, and cardio-induced sweating. Most gyms have sauna and steam rooms that you can use after a workout. If you don’t have access to one, take a hot bath with Epsom salt, ginger powder, and baking soda every night before going to sleep. Run, do yoga, jump, dance, whatever gets your heart pumping!
- Breathe Deeply! In an always in a rush stressed out society our breath tends to be rushed as well. Our lungs rarely get a chance to open up and fill up with fresh air or to completely cleanse from all the stale gases. It takes an effort to let the breath be full and complete. Take a few minutes in the morning to just breathe deeply. Two-to-one breathing—a practice of exhaling twice as long as every inhalation—is a great technique for cleansing the lungs and calming the nervous system.
- Avoid eating leftovers, processed foods, and foods grown with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Your body has to work that much harder to eliminate the impurities found in these foods.
- Avoid cold drinks, which reduce the digestive fire and result in the formation of the digestive toxins known as ama. Drink plenty of warm water throughout the day to flush out impurities. Make sure your water is filtered to remove environmental toxins.
- Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke, alcohol, drugs, chemicals, environmental pollution and other toxins.
- Go to bed by 10 p.m. so your body can rest during its natural purification cycle, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
- Do a Yoga Nidra or another type of daily deep relaxation
- Get a massage
- Stretch often
Ayurvedic Group Cleanse in NYC (Join me!)
If you feel that doing a cleanse on your own is too overwhelming and you would much rather have all the food delivered daily to your door, all the herbs chosen by a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner and have a group support, I have a special surprise for you!
A few days ago a founder of BVT LIfe, an ayurvedic lifestyle center, told me that they will be offering a guided ‘all meals prepared’ cleanse in NYC. All the info about the cleanse is here.
This cleanse is very unique because you will get a personalized consultation with an ayurvedic consultant from BVTLife prior to starting the cleanse. Your meals will be based on your body type and current needs. It is not a general one size fits all type of cleanse.
You get everything you need: food, water, and supplements for 3 meals per day for 5 days. You receive written instructions and educational materials prior to the cleanse and daily written descriptions and benefits with each food item.
On Saturday, to break the cleanse and meet other cleanse participants, you will be treated for a lovely post-cleanse lunch at Bhagavat Life, and transition into a regular diet in style!
Registration deadline is April 5th. To get a 5% discount, please use the code NADYASFRIENDS
Please Note: I am not getting paid to promote this program and I am not affiliated with BVT. I just strongly believe in the power of a nourishing detox that Ayurveda can provide and knowing that most of you are super busy and spending time in the kitchen can be tough, I am sharing this cleanse as an option that might work for some of you.