Now that warmer weather is approaching, it’s a great time to detox your body through a seasonal ayurvedic cleanse.
“The principal is that each season, certain elements accumulate in the body,” says Katelynn Ingersoll, founder of Halfmoon Ayurveda. “If we think about winter, the body has accumulated cold and damp. In the warmer months we attract, heat, sharpness and acidity. We want to detox what the body experienced during the winter time.”
Ayurvedic cleanses can be practiced twice a year, in the spring and fall.
So what’s involved?
“First what you want to do is give the GI (gastrointestinal) system a break. It’s really similar to what they do for GI patients in hospitals,” she says. “They do a bowel rest where you’re going to do a very bland diet for a couple of days. In ayurveda, we have a bland diet of rice, steamed veggies, a little kitchari [indian spiced beans and rice cooked together]. The food is really easy to digest with limited spices and oils. That’s your basis.”
You’ll eat like this for a week in addition to taking cleansing herbs.
“The herbs you take depend on your digestive type, but there are certain ones that everyone can take,” she says. “Triphala is a laxative that’s tridoshic, which means everyone can take it. You take it at night before bed and it helps produce a bowel movement in the morning. We’re trying to cleanse, so that’s what we’re after.”
After you’re done with the seven-day cleanse, it’s time to gradually bring back other foods into your diet, with a few seasonal considerations.
“In ayurveda, like increases like,” Ingersoll says. “So in the summer, you want to avoid foods that will produce additional heat in the body — anything spicy, pungent, pickled or fermented.”
She also suggests incorporating more “drying” foods.
“In the summer the body also produces too much hydrochloric acid. In order to dry up those secretions, we want to take drying foods like salads, beans, pomegranate and bananas — those are a few,” Ingersoll says. “Other cooling foods would be basmati rice, sweet potatoes, cucumbers and coconut. Some seem obvious but others you’ll need to consult an ayurvedic cookbook.”
If this all sounds overwhelming, you can get a little help from Half Moon Ayurveda for your seasonal cleanse.
“We do a range of things. We have a DIY program where we give you your herbs, your ingredients and the instructions for the week,” she says. “We also can come to your home for programs that are very customized. We’ll show you what to have in your fridge and spice cabinets, in addition to giving you cooking lessons.”
Halfmoon Ayurveda is located at 1520 Sansom St.
For more information, visit: halfmoonayurveda.com.