As the Earth changes and moves into different seasons, so to do our emotional, physical and spiritual bodies. As we move from summer into fall, just as when we move from winter into spring, the importance of detoxification is essential. In Ayurveda, spring and fall are the two optimal times to detoxify. In spring, detoxification is seen as a type of cleansing rebirth. A time to strip down the layers in preparation for warmth. In the autumn detoxification is about grounding and nourishing. About balancing and stabilizing in preparation for the vata months ahead.
Juice and raw foods cleanses are excellent detoxification methods for the springtime. However, as fall is about grounding and stabilizing, a more substantial, gentler cleanse is recommended.
For my nutrition clients I recommend a Whole Foods Cleanse for the fall. A Whole Foods Cleanse is comprised of exactly what it sounds like – whole foods. A healthy balance of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein balances and nourishes the body on many levels in preparation for the colder months ahead. Root vegetables are especially grounding on an energetic level as they are buried deep within the Earth. A simple dish of rice and mung beans is used widely throughout Asia as a way to purify the body. And ghee (clarified butter), is used in Ayurvedic cleanses to lubricate the digestive tract helping to expel toxins from the body.
In addition to nourishing foods, there are certain herbs that can be used to facilitate a Whole Foods Cleanse. Dandelion Root tea is an excellent liver detoxifier and should be consumed 3x/day before meals. Triphala is an Ayurvedic tonic comprised of three fruits with very high antioxidant properties; it is used as a mild laxative. Ginger is a powerful purifier and cleanser that also naturally stimulates the respiratory and digestive systems.
Along with foods and herbs, an autumn detox should focus on slowing down. Taking time to be alone with yourself, focusing on quieting down, limiting the amount of time you spend around or using electronics – these are all equally important as the food you consume during a cleanse. Taking a walk or practicing gentle yoga can be very therapeutic. Taking a bath, or even a shower, are also both very detoxifying.
Reminding yourself this fall that cleansing isn’t about how aggressive and limiting you can be, but rather how grounded and balancing you can feel. Talking with a trained nutritionist, Ayurvedic practitioner or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner is a great place to start. Remember that detoxification is a natural and nourishing process. It’s not a race, and it’s not meant to make you suffer. Fall detoxification aligns with our natural rhythm, with the energetic part of us that is connected to Mother Earth and her changing seasons. Look at this time of change as a time to reconnect inward, a time of balance, transcendence and enlightenment.