Spring—the perfect season to clean out your closets and cleanse your system, too! Ayurvedic medicine teaches that seasonal health routines, such as a gentle detox at the start of the spring season, are an essential part of creating lifelong health.
According to nutrition and lifestyle educator Alison Shore Gaines, there are varied opinions as to detox protocol. Total abstinence from food and drink is the most demanding form of fasting; you can also do a water-only fast. The “master cleanse” consists of fresh lemonade sweetened with maple syrup and cayenne pepper. A juice fast includes fresh fruit and vegetable juices as well as herbal teas and water. Ayurvedic and macrobiotic cleansing practices use grains and whole vegetables.
The safest cleansing methods include some solid food and exclude congesting foods such as dairy, fats, animal protein, sugar, and flour products. For the detox novice, supervision is highly recommended—and a cleanse is best undertaken when you can rest and don’t need to drive or work.
Alison offers two simple recipes to support a nourishing and purifying spring cleanse.
Yield: 2.5 quarts.
2 quarts spring water
3 medium potatoes, diced
4 carrots, cubed
2 medium Spanish onions, chopped
1 small beet, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons dried, flaked dulse (seaweed)
Pinch of sage
Wash and scrub all vegetables. Keep the peels on if they’re organic (except for beets, which should be peeled even if organic).
Bring water to a boil. Add vegetables, return to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot. Simmer 20 minutes until vegetables are soft but not mushy.
Remove 2/3 cup of vegetables, blend in blender, and return to the pot to form a heartier broth.
This soup is alkaline and rich in minerals, especially potassium, which can be flushed out of the body when taking extra liquids (as in a fast).
Apple Cucumber Juice
Yield: 10 ounces.
1 large or 2 small cucumbers, sliced lengthwise
1/2 apple, sliced
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
If the cucumber is not organic or if it’s waxed, peel it. Slice the cucumber and apple to fit the juicer. Use the apple and cucumber slices to push the parsley through the juicer. Drink immediately for maximum benefit. If storing fresh juice in the refrigerator, use a dark-glass container.
Cucumber is alkaline and high in silica, which strengthens connective tissue. Cucumber is also useful in cleansing sugar from the body, and helps to dissolve kidney stones.
Parsley is high in vitamins A and C, magnesium, and potassium. It’s also rich in chlorophyll, which stimulates oxygen metabolism and cell regeneration. It’s highly alkaline, a great blood cleanser, and especially beneficial for the kidneys and liver.
Apples are rich in vitamins A, B, and C as well as iron, magnesium, potassium, and silicon. Apples are cleansing for the liver, and apple pectin absorbs intestinal toxins and aids in elimination.