Fall is an ideal time for cleansing. It is important to prepare the body to digest the heavier foods that are typical of a winter diet. In general, a winter diet aims to balance vata, so we often eat more fat in the form of nuts and seeds, ghee or butter, and possibly some meat, fish, or other animal products. Because the liver is essential in digesting these fatty foods, a fall reset should focus on clearing out the liver and promoting bile production. Before the cold winds of fall arrive, consider a 3-day reset to keep you balanced all winter long. The following is a simple protocol you can follow.
Eat More Beets
Raw beets support cleansing of the liver and production of bile. For three days, eat a serving of this Beet Liver Cleanser with each meal. Make it your goal to eat one whole beet each day.
Beet Liver Cleanser
From The Mindbody Cleanse by Ronly Blau and Adrian Nowland
- 2 raw beets, grated
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon lemon rind
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, grated
- 1 small apple with peel on, grated
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
- Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Ideally, this recipe will be eaten in two days. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Keep Your Diet Simple
One of the best things you can do for your gut is a digestive time-out. By choosing foods that are extremely easy to digest (think baby food) you are allowing the digestive system a chance to rest and rejuvenate. This, combined with some liver-benefitting foods, will go a long way toward total wellness. Examples of foods that are easy to digest include cooked vegetables and fruits, brown rice farina, and kitchari (Ayurveda’s favorite cleansing food). Soups are especially beneficial, such as carrot-cauliflower soup, butternut squash soup, and borscht. Also, try chopped apples cooked in a little water with raisins, cinnamon, and cardamom—yum!
Minimize Fats and Oils
Because the liver’s job is to process fats and oils, spend a few days without these foods that make the liver work hard. Steam or boil your vegetables and use spices that add flavor in the absence of fat. Spices also improve agni (digestive fire).
Keep Stress Levels Low
When the body is relaxed, everything works better. If possible, take a few days away from your usual grind and instead read books, walk in nature, or take a relaxing bath. This step is equally as important as what you eat. If you are not able to take time off, simply approach your daily tasks with an open, calm mind. Practice ten minutes of meditation or yoga in the morning or take a walk before starting work. End the day with restorative yoga, such as lying with your legs extended up a wall, which activates the parasympathetic nervous system and invokes relaxation.
Go for the Gold!
No, cleansing is not a competition—in this case, “gold” refers to turmeric, Ayurveda’s golden girl of herbs. Turmeric is an excellent cleanser that supports detoxification of the blood and GI tract. It can be added to food, made into golden milk with saffron and honey, or taken as a tablet.
Most importantly, be sure to cultivate an attitude of self-love around this process. Allow this to be time for elevating the well-being of your entire mind/body. Find books to read that focus on promoting a positive mindset and spend time with people who are supportive.
Now that you know how simple a fall gut reset can be, get out your calendar and choose a three-day weekend in which you can relax and properly pamper yourself. Before your reset starts, create a shopping list of all the things you will need and stock your kitchen with healthy essentials, like mung dal, basmati rice, in-season fruits and veggies, and plenty of beets. Lemons and ginger are always good to have on hand, too. Happy cleansing!