Spring has sprung! It’s the perfect time of year for a spring-cleaning inside and out. This is a time of year we think of cleanses for our bodies as well. Many friends and clients tell me about cleanses they’re trying or have tried in the past, usually with different amounts of success. Ayurveda believes in a spring cleanse as well, but it’s probably much easier than anything you’ve attempted in the past.
Last month the kapha diet was discussed, which is essentially eating lighter to ensure we have a strong digestion with the heavy moisture of springtime. There is plenty of water in the air, which can give us an imbalance of kapha (earth and water) in the body. This usually appears as congestion in the sinuses and sluggish digestion. Recommendations are to eat lighter, skip a meal, and focus on the tastes of bitter, astringent, and pungent.
There are several types of cleanses that can be done throughout the year, but as an ayurvedic practitioner, I recommend 4 throughout the year to keep a body healthy: lymphatic, digestive, liver, and kidney.
In our modern environment we put an incredible strain on these systems by eating a modern diet and living a fast-paced lifestyle. Several MD’s are now supporting legislature that would ban certain kinds of GMO foods and acknowledge that certain foods, like wheat, have been modified to a point that they may induce an inflammatory response in the body.
Obviously food intake is very important during a cleanse. I recommend eating a mono-diet of kanjee or kitchari during a cleanse. Kanjee is 1 cup of brown basmati rice, well rinsed with 8 cups of water. Add a pinch of salt, turmeric, and ginger powder. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour.
If that seems a bit challenging or you intend to do a cleanse for longer than 3 days, eat kitchari. Kitchari is:
6 cups of water
1 cup of basmati rice
½ cup of yellow split mung dal (best to soak these an hour or more)
2 cups of veggies, spiced with salt, cumin, coriander, fennel, and topped with ghee and cilantro.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. There are several versions of kitchari that are easy to find online. This food is balancing for all doshas; cleansing yet nourishing for the body. Ideal vegetable choices are beets, carrots, collards, dandelion, kale, parsley, swiss chard, asparagus, cauliflower, and daikon.
During the mono-diet, herbs should be given by a practitioner. Depending on the cleanse you’d like to focus on, herbs will be given to gently stimulate that part of the body during this time of relaxation from heavy digestion. For those who don’t know where to start, I’d recommend a liver cleanse. Herbs, either in capsule or powder form, will be taken 2-3 times a day. There should not be noticeable effects or feelings of discomfort. You will have normal bowel movements and normal levels of energy.
Many people know that the liver is responsible for filtering everything that comes in the body whether via the skin, mouth or air, but do you have symptoms of a sluggish, congested liver?
Poor digestion – acid reflux, problems digesting fats, bloating
Hormone imbalances – the liver breaks down hormones, if it’s overworked you’ll notice weight gain, cravings, skin eruptions, high blood pressure, sleep problems, fatigue
Bad breath and a white coating on the tongue – this is due to indigestible food in the body, or ama and could indicate candida overgrowth
Chemical sensitivities – strong odors giving you a headache or alcohol having a strong effect could indicate an overworked liver
Pain in the right side under the ribcage – the liver and gallbladder live here and will enlarge and be sensitive when inflamed
If you would like to try a spring cleanse and receive an overall health assessment, please contact LA Ayurveda at 310-614-3669.