We must nourish and build our bodies with a healthy foundation before we embark on the deeper layers of physical and emotional cleansing…
Claire Ragozzino recently led our Berkshires FP Escapes retreat through a 3-day Ayurveda-inspired cleanse. Along the way, we learned how to follow the rhythms of nature, adapting our daily routines to honor the energies both around and within us. Prior to the retreat, Claire shared a preparation guide with our attendees and is now generously sharing her prep tips with our BLDG 25 community. If you’re thinking about doing a fall cleanse this year, read on and be sure to follow Claire’s tips before you get started.
Remember that the time you take to transition and prepare for a cleanse is just as important as the cleanse itself. We must nourish and build our bodies with a healthy foundation before we embark on the deeper layers of physical and emotional cleansing, and the deep rejuvenation that follows.
In this time of preparation, focus on slowly limiting and eliminating certain food groups that are commonly inflammatory and allergenic. Acidic foods like caffeine, alcohol, white sugar, red meats and processed food products can slow the functions of the body down as you accumulate what is known as ama, or toxins, in Ayurveda. Ama is formed when agni, your digestive fire, is low. Excess ama in the body and mind can be physically felt and seen. Signs of ama are foggy mind, fatigue, swollen joints, bloating, gas, thick tongue coating, excess mucous, indigestion, and even lack of appetite.
These dietary upgrades aim to gently ease your transition into a cleanse and support you in making long term sustainable shifts in thinking and being. Think of this as a period of letting go of habits from the past that are no longer serving you in the present.
“The body is your temple, keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.”
LIMIT & ELIMINATE
- Cane sugar and artificial sweeteners
- Excessive salt
- Processed food (fried, baked, or otherwise)
- Red meat
- Homogenized dairy products
- Gluten products–also including barley, wheat, rye and oats
A note to caffeine/alcohol drinkers: Slowly (key word!) begin to cut back on your morning coffee or your evening vino routine. If you’re used to consuming caffeine, alcohol, or processed foods daily, it’s important to ease off of these gently by replacing them with healthy alternatives. For avid coffee drinkers, try using roasted chicory or dandelion to give you the bitter taste of coffee, or try a hot tea or elixir to give you the comfort of that warming morning ritual.
- Pasteurized cow’s milk to raw milk or plant-based milks
- Butter to organic ghee
- Regular beef and red meat products to local organic, grass-fed meats or wild caught Alaskan salmon
- White bread to sprouted whole grain breads like Ezekiel products
- Regular eggs to cage-free organic brown eggs
- White pasta to whole grain pastas or zucchini/squash pastas
- Canola oil to cold-pressed olive oil
- Canned and frozen vegetables to fresh, organic vegetables
- Coffee to green tea, yerba mate, and herbal teas
- Processed sodas to kombucha or sparkling water
- White sugar to raw honey, coconut nectar, maple syrup, dates or stevia
- Processed candy to extra dark chocolate (raw chocolate is even better!)
Use this list of upgrades to help limit and eliminate the foods listed above. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, simply focus on incorporating one or two dietary upgrades that you connect with the most. You may focus on upgrading your nighttime routine, bringing in more intention and self-care into your evenings.
ESTABLISH SET MEAL TIMES
Continual snacking throughout the day weakens the digestive system and contributes to the buildup of ama in the body, which in turn runs down your immune system. Our bodies need breaks in between eating to digest, then rest. If we are continually eating from the time we wake up to the time we sleep, we slow down our body’s ability to digest and eliminate. Establish set meals times 2-3 times a day. The ideal times for meals are breakfast between 7-9am, lunch 11am-1pm, and dinner 5-7pm. Lunch should be your largest meal of the day, as this when your digestive fire is at its highest. If a snack is needed in the afternoon, opt for something simple and easy to digest like a piece of fruit.
SELECTING FALL FOODS
In early fall, the energy of fire (pitta) is lingering from a hot summer, while Vata is beginning to present itself with the colder, dryer weather. We select certain foods with both cooling qualities to balance out the abundance of heat in our bodies and surrounding environment. Favor fresh ingredients that are sweet, bitter and astringent in flavor while the days are still hot, then opt for foods that are oily, warming and grounding as colder days begin. As you stock your fall fridge/pantry, consider the following foods, herbs and spices:
|Beverages||Vegetables||Fruits||Herbs & Spices|
|Coconut water; Fresh organic juices (strained); Warm teas of mint, nettle, chamomile, lavender, hibiscus, rose, tulsi, ginger, CCF||Beets, Broccoli, Butternut Squash, Cabbage, Carrots, Collards, Green Beans, Kale, Okra, Pumpkin, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Winter squash||Apple, Avocado, Banana, Dates, Figs, Grapes, Grapefruit, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Raisins (soaked)||Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Cumin, Coriander, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Mustard Seeds, Oregano, Saffron, Turmeric|
What to Avoid or Limit:
- Excessive raw foods, icy beverages, cold/frozen foods
- Dry foods; crackers, popcorn, hard breads, hard cheeses
- Reduce pungent, bitter and astringent flavors
- Warm, cooked, soupy foods
- Lightly steamed or roasted vegetables
- Lightly cooked fruits, like chutneys or stewed fruit with spices
- Sweet, sour and salty foods reduce vata excess
- Healthy fats/oils from ghee, olive/flax/sesame oil, avocado
Ready to try a nourishing approach to seasonal cleansing? Our FP Escapes guide, Claire Ragozzino, is leading an online community cleanse to align body and mind this new year. Learn more about the New Year Renewal | 14 Day Holistic Cleanse and how to transform your wellness with Ayurvedic wisdom.
Images by Emily Pearl Creative