Our bodies are amazingly adaptive, taking whatever we throw at them and making it work. When we give them what they need – good nutrition, plenty of water, and deep uninterrupted sleep, they thrive. But these days, our bodies are inundated with a never-ending barrage of stressors: environmental toxins, processed foods, and psychological stress, to name a few.
Over time, this toxicity accumulates in your tissues, which can compromise your health. The idea behind an Ayurvedic cleanse is to give your body a break; nourishing it with easily digestible foods, supporting it with herbs, and slowing down so it can rest, recuperate, repair…and cleanse itself. There is no fasting, no meal bars or shakes, just nourishing whole foods and gentle herbs. We cleanse at the big seasonal changes in late fall and again in early spring. These are times when a gentle reset can be helpful; moving out of the heat of summer and preparing for the cold and slowness of winter, and then again when moving into the growth period of spring.
In Ayurveda, there is a super deep-dive cleanse called Panchakarma, which is done in a center under the supervision of an Ayurvedic medical doctor. Our home Ayurvedic cleanse is more gentle, and is focused on drawing toxins out of the tissues and depositing them into the digestive tract for elimination, as well as helping to begin balancing the Doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) in your body. You don’t need to know your Dosha for this cleanse to be effective, as it’s designed mainly to detoxify the tissues and rebuild your digestive fire (agni); but once your cleanse is complete it can be helpful to meet with an Ayurvedic practitioner to discover your Dosha and learn how you can support your body moving forward in better balance. (Click here to read more about the basics of Ayurveda and the Doshas.)
In the 3-7 days leading up to your cleanse, we recommend:
- Cleaning up your diet, eliminating or reducing fast food, processed foods, meat, refined sugar, and sweets
- Eliminate (or drastically reduce) intake of coffee, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and recreational drugs
- Begin eating as many simple, whole foods as possible (fruits, vegetables (especially beets), whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds)
During the week of the cleanse:
- You’ll have a very simple diet to choose from. Traditionally, kitchari (basmati rice cooked with split mung beans) is the only food eaten on this cleanse, but some people may find this too restrictive or may not like it. You’ll have alternative options – all nourishing, easily digestible food to give your digestive system a rest. During this week there are cleansing and supportive herbs that you will be taking to help the process, as well as gentle exercise, self-massage (abhyanga), and meditation.
During the 4-7 day reintegration period following the cleanse:
- Your body will still be processing the toxins that have been cleansed from your tissues, so we recommend a slow transition back to a more diverse diet. This is also an optimal time to reintroduce potentially aggravating foods like wheat, dairy, and soy one at a time, giving yourself 24 hours after each to see how your body responds.
We’ll provide recipes for during the cleanse and the transition after to ensure your success, as well as all the supplements you’ll need. You’ll have daily support along the way, and you can always reach out to Shannon with any questions!