Spring and Fall are traditionally time to reset and renew mind, body and spirit with a cleanse. In the spring we weed our emotional garden that has grown stagnant over the long winter and plant spirit seeds to harvest over the summer and fall. In the fall a cleanse can help bring clarity around what you have harvested successfully and what may need more work - helping set the groundwork for the winter. Cleansing pulls up the residue in our physical body and reset the mind.
I am not a proponent of extreme fasting or really low calorie detoxes. The cleanse I follow is based on what the most vibrant people I know eat on a daily basis. Vegetarian, vegan, paleo whatever it may be, the common denominator of these - most radiant - people, is drinking A LOT of water and eating A LOT of organic vegetables. They supplement their veggies with nuts, seeds and healthy oils, a little bit of organic fruit, and a tiny bit of organic whole grains and legumes, and a teeny weeny bit of fish, meat ( for the non-vegan/vegetarians).
Here is my formula for a successful cleanse.
How to grow a soul garden ~
- Make a plan that I know I can follow successfully.
- Plan out meals and snacks. Choose favourite dishes and others I’ve been wanting to try
- Look at my calendar. Try to plan around events that could derail.
- Follow the full detox for 10-14 days with a week on both ends to ease in and out.
- Take a week and cut back on all of the really bad stuff and indulgences I think I “can’t live without”.
- Allow a week to ease back in to normal eating - a readjustment period so my body isn’t shocked
- If things derail don’t judge or criticize -- get back on track.
- Use the cleanse to pay close attention to my body. Note if something makes me feel bloated, gassy, moody or otherwise uncomfortable.
- Get at least an hour of fresh air everyday!
- Meditate with purifying and empowering mudras and mantras
- Practice detoxifying yoga.
- Get lots of sleep and downtime.
- Keep life simple!
Plant your seeds ~
- Eat vegetables - almost exclusively
- 3 meals a day plus snacks
- Mix up the colours. Lots of dark green and orange
- Smoothies, soups, salads, stir-fry
- Add healthy oils to my veggies
- Ghee is my favourite over cooked veggies
- Coconut oil for cooking
- Olive or avocado oils for raw veggies and salads
- Add avocado to salads
- Get my sweet fix from fruit
- 1 or 2 portions a day in the morning, when the sugar craving or when the afternoon lull hits
- Avoid high sugar fruit (tropical)
- Think berries
- Get my fill of seeds
- Chia and sunflower are my best picks
- Add a tiny bit of starchy vegetables, whole grains (no wheat) and easy to digest legumes
- White potatoes, millet, quinoa, brown rice
- Lentils and mung beans are my best picks
- A wee bit of lean meat, legumes and nuts –
- Organic meat is a must!
- Fish and chicken breast
- No BBQ or heavy frying
- Flavour with Mother Nature’s bounty.
- Fresh herbs, turmeric, ginger, lemon, lime
Water your garden ~
The standard daily recommendation is 8 glasses of water a day. For me, it depends on the time of year, the amount of exercise, food I’ve eaten etc... My general rules are:
- Listen to my body, drink when I’m thirsty
- Drink warm or room temperature water
- Drink a glass of warm water and ginger first thing in the morning.
The weeds ~
Now that I’ve told you about all the stuff I do eat here’s a look at what I have to take away. I will avoid all high allergen, mucus forming and inflammation inducing foods. These include: dairy (not including ghee), soy, wheat, corn, sugar, alcohol, processed/pre-prepared food and processed grains (e.g., GF pasta, cereal), vinegar, coffee, caffeine, yeast and fungi
The really prickly weeds ~
Also known as indulgences or the really hard stuff... the things that I crave, the foods I think I can’t possibly go without. For me its cheese, chocolate and my daily dose of gluten free toast. To fully cleanse I need to cut these. I go in expecting it to be difficult but I have to keep in mind that in the end it will be incredibly sobering (no pun intended) to let go of the vices. My body resets and I build emotional clarity.
There are an overwhelming number of cleanses out there. What works for one person could be extremely aggravating to someone else. Some people do really well eating vegan while others need meat, some people love raw food, others need cooked. So how do you decide what is right for you?
The key to a successful cleanse is
- Knowing your own body,
- Planning and
- Setting yourself up for success.
Research different options, reflect on what foods make you feel great and which ones make you feel not so great. Choose a plan you know you can follow (it may mean only doing a partial detox the first time and that’s ok). Don’t be hard on yourself. If you don’t already meditate trying adding a short meditation each day to reflect - without judgment - on what you’ve had success with and what you’ve struggled with.
The right cleanse for you will make you shine body, mind and spirit.
Have you followed a seasonal cleanse before? I'd love to know why you do or don't. If you do what has been most successful?