When we live in the ebb and flow of nature, we encourage our mind and body to stay in balance and live optimally. According to Ayurveda the spring season is the ‘kapha’ season and it is influenced by the earth and water elements from around mid March to mid June depending on where you live, kapha has qualites that are cold, heavy, static, dull and wet.
Over the winter months we indulged in foods that are heavy, wet and unctuous to help maintain our energy and immunity suitable for this season, but as we transition into spring, like a frozen river water that starts melting and flowing by the heat of the sun, the stagnation in the body from the winter also starts to flow. After the never-ending winter, it finally feels like the right time to naturally cleanse.
If you continue the diet from winter, you will run into some health issues if our constitution is vulnerable. During the springtime, all the qualities of kapha become amplified. Coupled with the weakening of the digestive fire, this season can give rise to seasonal allergies, water retention, heaviness, sluggishness and conditions such as coughs, colds, sinus problems, hay fever.
In the spring, physical strength and appetite reduces. A detox and cleanse can be as gentle as adjusting our diet and lifestyle for the season. A successful cleanse is one where you create long-term healthful habits not an unsupported quick and harsh 3 day cleanse. Now that you prepared what you need from the last blog, here is what you can do to gentle physical body cleanse for a 15-30 day period (more on fasting in the next post):
- Avoid cold drinks and drink warm water throughout the day, better still opt for detoxifying herbal teas, such as burdock root, dandelion, milk thistle, nettle, a coriander, cumin and fennel tea, which is cleansing for the digestive and urinary systems
- Avoid heavy, oily (fried), sour, salty and sweet foods, foods that clog the system such as dairy, wheat, yeasted or processed foods and meats
- Mindfully eat 2 -3 moderate-sized simple meals a day with no snacks between meals – just herbal teas or fruit. Key rule: Eat only when you have hunger!
- Favour light, dry, easy to digest foods especially for the evening meal when the digestive fire is naturally lower. Get recipe for kitchari
- Eat foods with pungent, bitter and astringent tastes, think - light, dry, green, spicy foods. Bitter tastes such as turmeric (powerful blood and liver cleanser), neem, bitter gourd, ginger (your best spring friend), fenugreek, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon etc strengthen digestion and support detoxification of the liver. Lemons act as a great daily digestive cleanser. Drink a hot lemon water in the morning. We simple need to mimic nature and see what’s available in the markets and choose these foods.
- Seasonal fruits and vegetables (kale, broccoli, spinach, fennel, pea shoots, green beans, daikon, asparagus, cabbage, lentils (mung beans etc.) and old rice, grains such as barley, amaranth, quinoa, corn lightly cooked with ghee and spices are best in spring
- Take regular light exercise, stretching often, meditate, and remember breath consciously and deeply!
- Gargle with warm herbal decoctions and practice ‘oil pulling’ (gandhusa) traditionally used in Ayurveda to pull and expel the impurities from the saliva as well as maintain oral hygiene amongst other benefits
- Herbal powder massages (udvartana) and dry body brushing invigorate the body and encourage lymphatic drainage.
- It’s a great time for the sauna. Soak in the bath with Epsom salts and ground ginger to help remove toxins by sweating
- Treatments such as neti pot cleansing and nasya (nasal errhines) are suitable cleansing treatments for ENT blockages.
- Time for Triphala – boost your colon health with this amazing digestive tonic – the benefits are truly endless. Take 1-2 500mg capsules in the evening with warm water or as directed by your practitioner.
- Get plenty of exposure to the sun especially in the morning time.