By Rianne Chittenden
It’s time to open the windows, declutter and deep clean. Inside and out.
In Ayurveda, we cleanse in Spring and Fall with the change of the seasons. In Spring, the focus is releasing the fat built up from the wintertime and the toxins stored in that fat. If you immediately cringe when hearing the word ‘cleanse’, know this practice is about being in alignment with nature and yourself. This is not about depletion, starvation or consuming only liquids as that is often what is thought when we hear about cleansing. It is about what our cells are made of and their ability to communicate with each other. The Ayurvedic cleanse is a scientific, strategic process. At its core, it is about resetting cellular fat metabolism. We wake up the blood and the lymph, get things moving, and then eat a really simple diet so our body can focus on one thing: fat metabolism and releasing toxins. If this is something you want to dive into, work with your Doctor and Ayurvedic Practitioner. It is a serious endeavor that cannot be done unguided. This blog is only intended to wake you up to the purpose of Ayurvedic cleanses and perhaps tune into your body a little more by experimenting with simple seasonal recipes if you choose.
The cleanse is an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with yourself. It helps your body prepare for the new season coming by releasing what has built up from the past season. During the cleanse, you remove a number of foods including wheat, sugar, dairy, caffeine and alcohol to name a few. For those who read that sentence and put on the internal breaks, thinking hell no: This.is.for.you. This is where I ask: Do you have control over what you put in your mouth or are you controlled by what you put in your mouth? I didn’t say, remove these for the rest of your life. It’s for a small period of time. Your body then has freed up resources and can work on digesting things that have been stuck and of lower priority in your body.
Operating from the mindset that nothing is good or bad is extremely beneficial and provides more ease around the foods we choose. Wheat, sugar, dairy, caffeine and alcohol are not bad. They all have their purpose. It simply varies with each individual and the season. We just happen to be immersed in a culture that likes to label things as good or bad for an entire population and has normalized the overconsumption of a few select food groups. We consume caffeine to push past our bodies I AM TIRED, PLEASE REST message. We consume too much wheat, sugar, dairy and alcohol for our constitution and it is extremely taxing to our systems. Yet, in the right doses, for the right person, they are all medicinal.
This Spring will be my sixth Ayurvedic Cleanse and although it is truly the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, I will never go without doing some degree of a cleanse (based on what my body can handle at that time and the guidance of my practitioner) each Fall and Spring because of the clarity and vitality I have gained through it. My whole life I was controlled by my emotions and what I put in my mouth. It has been through the cleanses that I took back control.
One meal that has been a game-changer for me, and a staple in Ayurveda and the cleanse, is kitchadi. The ingredients are simple and very easy to digest and the added spices increase the digestibility even further. If I slip off the bandwagon of the diet/routine I know my body needs, this is my go-to to reset my digestion and return to center.
The beautiful side effect of doing the twice-a-year cleanse is I have become so much more in tune with what my body needs on a day-to-day basis through the seasons. I routinely feel more stable throughout the day and rarely crash as much as I used to. I know what to eat to feel nourished and rejuvenated and what to avoid that makes me feel sluggish and heavy. For the first time in my life, I have this deep knowing that this is it. I am thriving.
You truly have no idea how much something has an impact on your body and your life until you remove it. And that shit is hard. When you're detoxing from it, it's not fun. But once you make it the other side.. That's where the magic is. It is so so so worth it. You are worth it. It takes courage to show up and choose to open the windows. Declutter and deep clean. This isn't go big or go home. This is moving one dust particle at a time. You got this.