Our bodies, while protecting us from the oncoming coolness, also want to kick out the internal heat we've built over the summer when we may have eaten more difficult food to digest than at other times of the year (think ice cream, corn on the cob, bbq, and anything you ate at the county fair). Therefore, fall is a great time to cleanse and there are a dozens of cleanses out there for you to try. I myself have done many--master cleansing, castor oil purges, oleation, kitchari cleanses, and so on. I will be honest, while I'm sure I got some benefit from them (at the very least a toning up of my discipline muscle), I think I may have also been too hard on my body. The "lemonade" of the Master Cleanse is way too acidic for my constitution (I wind up with a sour stomach and canker sores by day two). The castor oil purge felt great the first time I did it, but the next three I undertook left me increasingly fatigued (about four months apart). Oleation requires a big blowout at the end, and I'm just not interested in salt water flushes, enemas, or more castor oil. (Geez, call me a wimp). And I've got a bone to pick with kitchari. Every ayurvedic expert out there will write about how it is the most gentle food to digest, but just two meals of the mung beans and rice gives me gas so explosive that I not only cannot be in polite company, I literally wish I could leave my mortal body and go elsewhere for twenty-four hours! In other words, I want a cleanse that is GENTLE on the body (and the psyche). I want something that feels appropriately cleansing and nourishing both. And, given that paleo/low carb eating has taken weight, fat and bloat off of my body--I don't want to abandon my paleo principles for the sake of a cleanse (no all fruit or brown rice week for this gal).
This leaves me pondering how does one do a cleanse that fits a paleo/low-carb eating plan? The answer lies in whole foods that fit the season (and its special challenges), keeping proteins light and easy to digest, some simple cleansing practices (NOTHING extreme here) and some nurturing self-care and time for quiet reflection. I'd recommend engaging in this program for 3-7 days. Here are the guidelines:
- Mentally prepare your "time away"--tell yourself and your family that this is your quiet, recharging time. Keep social obligations to a minimum and take a "media break" (no TV, Facebook or Twitter).
- Find an inspirational text. Poetry, spiritual texts, philosophy, a memoir--whatever will give you something deeper to ponder and feel nourishing. I often turn to the poetry of Rumi or the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
- Set time aside for meditation, morning or evening, or BOTH. A few quiet minutes. No music, no guidance, just sit. Choose a special spot, use a meditation cushion or a chair (no rules against this, especially if your back or knees ache!
- Morning routine: Brush teeth, scrape tongue, stretch, have a cup of hot water with lemon and ginger. If you need caffeine, go with green tea.
- Breakfast=a sweet potato topped with ghee and walnuts, or a bowl of pumpkin puree with the same. Stew an apple to have on the side (a coarsely chopped apple with a bit of water and a couple of cloves, cook in a saucepan until soft). If you don't want warm food (like on a really warm day) then go with one of the smoothies seen in my blog below).
- Lunch=Cauliflower Rice "Kitchari". See two recipes from two great bloggers: http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/2013/03/30/cauliflower-rice-pilaf/ or http://theurbanposer.com/paleo-masala-cauli-rice-grain-free-vegan/
- Dinner=The same as lunch or roasted veggies (carrots, cauliflower, garlic, beets, acorn squash or summer squashes--lots of olive oil, some red pepper flakes, and whatever seasoning you like). Or a light veggie soup. Add an easy to process protein like baked white fish or cottage cheese.
- For snacks, give yourself more easy protein. Almond milk mixed with a scoop of vanilla protein powder, you can flavor with almond extract and/or spices (like cardomon or nutmeg or cinnamon) as well.
- Drink lots of water throughout the day--preferably room temperature and one big mug of detox tea (Yogi Detox is easily found). Don't overdo on the detox tea.
- Before bed have a cup of warmed almond milk to which you add a teaspoon of ghee, a teaspoon of tumeric and a teaspoon of raw honey (added after you take the milk off the heat).
- Take a restorative walk each day.
- Journal about your journey.
- Hit the hay early.
Happy Sweeping! --Lisabeth