This 5-Step Cleanse Will Reset Your Mind, Body, and Spirit
While spring is the season of rejuvenation and growth, our bodies and minds can have a hard time shaking off the weight of winter. This can manifest as excess mucus in the body, sluggish digestion, mental fog, seasonal allergies, and colds. A seasonal cleanse can help us reset and find balance.
This cleanse is inspired by the tradition of Ayurveda. It is intended to last four days. In order for this cleanse to be most effective, our bodies need to feel like they can release and let go. So favor nourishing activities to support your body's ability to relax. If possible, land two of the days on a weekend so you can really rest and restore.
If you experience intense headaches, nausea, or any prolonged discomfort, take appropriate action to make yourself feel better. Sometimes those symptoms can reflect the work the cleanse is doing, but we are not looking to suffer in endless pain. Listen to your body, and consult your doctor with any questions or concerns.
1. Mono Diet of Light Foods That Are Easy to Digest
The main goal of the diet is to give your body a break from the heavy work of digestion and elimination while staying well-nourished. By keeping our food choices easy on the tummy while still nutrient-dense, our body is supported in doing the hard work of breaking down and eliminating old, sticky toxins deep in our tissues.
Traditionally, this cleanse asks us to eat kitchari three times a day, for four days. Kitchari is an Ayurvedic staple of spiced rice and legumes (mung beans or lentils), and it is rich in nutrients. It is meant to be cooked into a very soft and almost soupy consistency so that it is very easy to digest. To keep it interesting, you might add different steamed, seasonal vegetables each day.
Here is an easy kitchari recipe you can follow.
Alternatives to kitchari: try oatmeal or stewed apples in the morning, and cooked grains, legumes, and steamed vegetables in the afternoon and evening. Avoid heavy spices, and cook everything very well (no raw foods) so your body doesn’t have to work to break it down. Opt for whole, organic, and unprocessed foods.
Sugar and caffeine are off the table for this cleanse. But being hangry and upset is also not what we’re going for. If you need to have a snack between meals, a banana is recommended.
Sip hot water throughout the day. It can be plain, you can add lemon or ginger, or make different herbal teas. The hot water will help to keep the digestive fire awake while promoting movement and lubrication in our tissues and circulation.
2. Morning Ghee
Ghee is an important part of this cleanse as it will penetrate deep into your tissues where fat cells and emotions get stuck. Each morning you will increase your ghee intake by two teaspoons. Start with two teaspoons on Day 1, and end with eight teaspoons on Day 4. And yes, you’re going to drink it. Feel free to warm it up in ½ cup of milk (or non-dairy substitute) and add a little cinnamon or ginger. If you want to make your own ghee, check out this easy recipe. Wait 30 minutes before eating.
Dry brushing (garshana) and oil massage (abhyanga) promote lymphatic cleansing, removal of toxins and cellular waste, increase circulation, support metabolism, and reduce stress.
These practices are helpful for people feeling dull, sluggish, fatigued, constipated, immuno-taxed, stagnant, or congested.
During the cleanse, aim to dry brush before every shower, and get at least one or two oil massages in, especially on the last day. Follow instructions for dry brushing below, and click here for oil massage instructions. (You can also simplify your oil massage into a quick five-minute massage before or during your shower using the same techniques described for dry brushing.)
How to dry brush:
Use raw silk or linen gloves or a natural bristle brush (which can be found at Target)
Use a vigorous and stimulating stroke, keeping the direction of the strokes always toward the heart
Apply circular strokes on your stomach and joints, and long sweeping strokes along the arms and legs
Start at your feet and continue upwards toward the neck. Do your hands and lastly your stomach and buttocks in a circular clockwise direction
Be mindful if you have very sensitive skin, a skin condition, or an open wound.
4. Bath + Beverage
On day four, eat dinner on the early side. An hour or two after you eat, warm up one cup of prune juice or Smooth Move tea. Sip slowly while you draw and enjoy an Epsom salt bath. Add a few drops of lavender essential oils, if you have it. Soak for 15-20 minutes and simply rinse off when you’re done. Head to bed soon after.
This is the stage of the cleanse where we help our body let go of all the gunk it’s brought to the surface. Both the bath and the beverage will help your body relax and eliminate properly. If you have been eliminating as normal throughout the cleanse, you might not notice much to be different. Do not be concerned if you don’t have a bowel movement until the next day. We’re releasing old and sticky toxins from our body, so it’s normal for your stool to be slightly different than normal.
5. Optional Add-On Practices:
light and relaxing yoga, pranayama, and meditation
social and/or media break
set intentions for what you are actively releasing and with what you intend to fill your newly cleared space (i.e. releasing anxiety, cultivating clarity)
Anytime we are actively targeting and removing toxins from our bodies, it isn’t easy. So while it’s likely you’ll feel so much better after you cleanse, sometimes the actual process is challenging. That’s okay. We want you to practice deep self-care and self-love during the process so you feel supported; personalize it to work for you.