Boost Your Energy with a Spring Cleanse
When gentle spring breezes start to blow, it's time for spring cleaning — not only for your house but for your body too.
Toxins tend to accumulate all year round, due to improper digestion and high levels of stress. Not to mention the chemicals in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the foods we eat.
According to Maharishi Ayurveda, toxic build-up can eventually manifest as a health disorder. And as we grow older, the body's mechanisms for eliminating impurities tend to be less efficient, making it even more important to cleanse every season.
This is especially important in the month of March. Why? When warmer spring temperatures melt the snow, impurities within your body also start to liquefy, flooding the microcirculatory channels (shrotas) that carry nutrients to the cells and waste away from the cells. When these essential channels get clogged, it can leave you feeling tired, sluggish, and toxic. A spring detox may be just what you need to feel fresh and energetic again.
And the good news is — you don't have to go to a health spa to detoxify. Here's a complete plan for cleansing at home using a detoxifying diet, lifestyle habits and herbal formulas. All three aspects work together to loosen toxins and help them flow out of the body through the natural elimination systems of skin, urine and bowel.
Eat a Detoxifying Diet
During the winter months we all eat heavier foods and store more fat to fortify against the cold. Unfortunately, the heavy food also leads to a build-up of digestive impurities (ama). The first step is to loosen the toxins by eating a lighter, detoxifying diet. This will help your digestive system clear away the toxins that are weighing you down.
- Eat warm, light, cooked foods such as soup.
- Favor easy-to-digest fruits, vegetables and grains. Suggested fruits include cooked prunes, figs, apples, pears, pineapples and papayas. Detoxifying cooked vegetables include leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, and crucifers such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. For grains, eat fresh flatbreads such as chapati, quinoa, barley, amaranth, rice and kanji (rice water made by cooking eight parts water with one part rice).
- Season your food with detoxifying spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel, black pepper and fresh ginger.
- Eat fresh, organic foods.
- Avoid canned, frozen, packaged or processed foods, as these are difficult to digest and contribute to toxic buildup.
- Stay away from heavy foods like red meat, leftovers, fried foods, oily foods, yeasted breads, sugary desserts, crackers and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. These are hard to digest.
- Drink eight cups of pure, filtered water a day. Hot water especially helps melt toxins and facilitates their flow out of the body.
- If you are hungry between meals, drink boiled milk with a pinch of cardamom. After each meal drink a digestive lassi (a yogurt drink made with 3 parts water and 1 part yogurt blended with cumin and salt) to aid digestion.
- Avoid cold foods and cold drinks, as these interfere with digestion and create more toxins.
Maintain a More Restful Lifestyle
As your body is releasing toxins, it's also important to help the purification process by getting more rest. Sleep at least eight hours a day, go to bed before 10:00 p.m. and rise before 6:00 a.m. to keep your microcirculatory channels clear of toxins. But avoid sleeping during the day, as that will clog your channels and prevent toxins from flowing out.
- Avoid vigorous exertion or team sports, but keep your body moving and your digestion toned with gentle exercises such as yoga and walking for half an hour a day.
- Give yourself a daily mini-massage (abhyanga), using warm oil to loosen impurities. Take a warm bath after your massage to help the toxins flow into the digestive system, where they can be eliminated easily.
- Eat your biggest meal at noon, as this is when digestion is strongest. Make breakfast a light meal, such as a stewed apple, and eat soup or other light foods for supper.
- Schedule your meals at the same time each day, as your digestive system functions more efficiently when on a regular routine.
Start an Herbal Detox Plan
After you have followed the Detoxifying Diet and Lifestyle for two weeks, continue with that diet and lifestyle and start the following Herbal Detox Plan. You can continue with this step for two to six weeks. Be sure to continue with the Detoxifying Diet and Lifestyle throughout the cleanse to support the body as it releases toxins.
- Take 2-5 tablets of Organic Digest Tone or 2-4 capsules of Herbal Cleanse before going to bed each night to cleanse the bowel.
- Take 2 tablets of Elim-Tox morning and evening to cleanse the liver, blood, sweat glands and the elimination system. Take Elim-Tox-O instead if you have any symptoms of reactive toxins such as skin breakouts or if you have a Pitta imbalance.
- Take 2 tablets of Organic Genitrac morning and evening. This will purify the urinary tract and assist the removal of toxins.
End the Cleanse Safely
Maharishi Ayurveda recommends that you continue following the same detoxifying diet and lifestyle for one week after the herbal cleanse is completed. Take time to gently ease your body into your regular diet and lifestyle. Give your body a chance to adjust gradually. This is actually the most important part of the entire cleanse, to avoid overloading your digestion with heavy foods after the cleanse.
By the end of your spring cleanse you should be feeling lighter, healthier and more energetic. You may notice that your joints are freer and you may even have shed a few pounds.
In order to prevent toxic build-up after the cleanse is over, you'll want to make sure your digestion is running smoothly on a regular basis. Follow the ayurvedic guidelines for healthy food preparation and avoid food combinations that create toxins (see section below).
Take Liver Balance to improve the first step of digestion and metabolism, which involves breaking down food and forming nutrient fluid that nourishes every cell in the body. This formula stimulates the cleansing of the liver to flush out undigested impurities that block the assimilation of nutrients and protein.
Another effective herbal formula for clearing toxins from the liver on a regular basis is Radiant Skin. When the liver is clogged with toxic build-up, it loses its ability to screen environmental toxins, resulting in dull skin or breakouts. So it's essential to keep the liver healthy to enjoy healthy digestion and healthy skin.
Guidelines for Healthy Food Preparation
- Use fresh, organic food of the best quality available.
- Eat food that is freshly cooked and warm.
- Make your food delicious and pleasing to the eye.
- Prepare your food in a happy, settled atmosphere for the best influence on digestion.
Food Combinations that Create Toxins
Maharishi Ayurveda identifies certain food combinations, called "incompatible foods," that are known to cause toxins. Avoid combining the following foods.
Avoid combining with alcohol, fermented foods (such as apple cider, soy sauce, vinegar), citrus fruits, pickled foods, eggs, baked goods containing eggs, green leafy vegetables, meat, fish, salt, salty foods, or yogurt.
Avoid combining with milk, sour fruits, melons, fish, starches, cheese or bananas.
Avoid combining with other foods in general, and especially grains, starches, fried foods, and cheese.
Avoid combining with milk, yogurt, melon, fruit, potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant.
Avoid combining with dates, raisins and bananas.
VEGETABLES OF THE NIGHTSHADE FAMILY (POTATO, EGGPLANT, PEPPERS)
Avoid combining with yogurt, milk, melon and cucumber.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.