Cleansing vs. Building: Transition into Spring with Ayurveda

As the season begins to change from winter to spring, it is an ideal time to gently transition your diet, daily routine, exercise patterns and even supplement intake to match and flow with the new season.  This of course doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul, but subtle, simple shifts in your health routine can help you maintain a healthy relationship with the world around you and support your diurnal and circannual rhythm.  I think the most common way people try to do this is by doing a “cleanse” around this time of year to “re-set” their body for the new season.  Now, there are some great ways to do this, however in many circumstances cleansing can be a very depleting process, and cleansing well takes some time, forethought and guidance to do it in a therapeutic and sustainable way.

Every single day, your body is naturally detoxifying itself through multiple stages of liver detoxification, kidney filtration, healthy digestive elimination and perspiration.  What you put IN your body either helps or hinders this process (i.e- the food that you eat and the beverages that you drink).  Most cleanses on the market today are touted for their quick results, simple steps and short time frame which is usually what people are looking for – short term solutions that don’t hinder their daily routine or habits too much.  These cleanses (usually the 2-3 day cleanses that involve lots of pills, fiber, and weight loss claims) are not a sustainable approach to cleansing and can be shocking to your essential detoxification organ systems, therefore depleting their overall vitality.  The body likes gentle transition and slow adjustments.  This gives all of your organ systems time to adjust, respond appropriately and compensate for changes in inputs.  A thorough, balancing and sustainable way to cleanse can be done effectively with the foods that you eat every single day, incorporating gentle herbal inputs and increasing nutrient rich, simple beverages over the course of your life.

One of the best seasonal dietary ways to practice a building and nourishing cleanse is through the Ayurvedic practice of a Kitchari Cleanse that includes a mono diet of Kitchari for up to 7 days with the addition of optional vegetables, extra proteins and herbal tea to support the kidneys, digestive tract and liver. Kitchari is a nutrient rich dish with warming spices to balance your digestion while normalizing any imbalance in the detoxification process and nourishing optimal colon health. It is considered tridoshic, meaning it is balancing for all body types and easy to digest. I love making a pot of kitchari daily to enjoy the gentle warmth of this nourishing dish and transitioning into each season with this practice. If this is your first time doing a mono diet or partaking in a food based cleanse, I would recommend only doing this for 3 days at a time, and slowly working up 7 days after a few seasons.

One of my favorite Ayurvedic Kitchari Cleanse kits can be found through Banyan Botanicals.

Doing a cleanse should not be used as a compensation for continuing a poor diet.  Supporting your body’s natural detoxification processes’ long term is perhaps the best way to gently transition from season to season without even having to intentionally do another cleanse again if your daily diet is wholesome, nutrient rich and colorful.

If you’re interested in learning more about an Ayurvedic Cleanse, I am teaching a class on April 5th at Richmond Natural Medicine and kitchari will be making a delicious appearance here as well!

 

Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN | HealthCoach@EllwoodThompsons.com

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