As we sink into autumn many people feel a natural turning inward. The busyness of summer has calmed and now we can prepare for winter. Just like spring, the autumn is a time of transition.
In the autumn we move from the heights to the depths. Cleansing and fasting is a wonderful way to mark this time of transition and prepare our bodies and minds for the colder months to come.
Historically, cleansing was used as a healing remedy in many traditions. It was used as a way to mark the transition of seasons, clear stagnant emotions and physical issues, re-establish a healthier relationship to food, detoxify the body and mind of excess wastes, and it was used to prepare the self for spiritual practice.
In particular, the ritual of cleansing has been lost in the modern day western world.
The body naturally neutralizes, transforms and eliminates toxins, but it can only handle a certain amount toxicity. Almost all westerners who eat the standard American diet need to detoxify and cleanse.
But the question is...
How to Cleanse?
The body is always using the gastrointestinal, urinary, respiratory, lymphatic and dermal systems to detox. When we cleanse, we trigger the body to kick those systems into high gear.
Remember - when cleansing quicker is not always better. Slow cleansing might actually foster a deeper change. If you've never done a cleansing program I usually suggest starting slow with a shorter less extreme cleanse.
Increase cleansing and alkaline foods and habits
Some foods are more naturally cleansing than others. Generally, vegetables and fruits are more cleansing than grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Increasing fresh organic vegetables, in addition to eliminating harmful foods, could be enough of a seasonal cleanse to bring you back into balance. This is especially true if you already have a fairly healthy diet consisting of organic whole foods.
Increasing alkalinity in the body can be done by eating more fruit, vegetables, and cereal grasses like wheat grass. We can also increase alkalinity by soaking grains, chewing thoroughly, reducing stress, and exercising.
Eliminate harmful, stagnating, and acid forming foods
The second step when initiating a cleansing program is to avoid stagnating, acid and mucus forming foods.
Acidity leads to inflammation which can eventually lead to disease. Avoid processed food, sugar, intoxicants, and dairy products. You may also want to reduce or eliminate coffee and meat. Dependent on your condition and personal sensitivities there may be other foods to eliminate such as soy, gluten and tropical fruit.
Cleanse for the season and your constitution
I generally suggest the Wild Rose cleanse which can be found at most health food stores (or purchase the Wild Rose Cleanse here). This provides a very structured way to begin cleansing.
There are further modifications that can be made dependent on the season and your constitution.
- For the fall/winter and if you often feel cold: incorporate more "warming" food like lightly steamed vegetables, broth soups and warming herbs and spices.
- For the summer/spring and if you often feel warm or hot incorporate more "cooling" foods like raw vegetables and fruit, sprouts and cereal grasses.
Adjust your cleanse depending on your health and goals
There are many cleanse programs that help with specific issues. The above suggestions are a great place to start and a great regular program to rely on.
When starting to integrate cleansing into your life you may want to repeat the cleanse every season or more frequently. After cleaning out the body and establishing healthier every day eating habits moderate cleansing is all that is needed.
I hope you enjoy your cleanse!