7-DAY AYURVEDIC CLEANSE
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is India’s 5,000 year old traditional system of medicine which translated from Sanskrit means “Science of Life” (“Ayu” means life and “Veda” is knowledge or science). It is considered the “mother of all healing systems.” Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga and teaches us how to keep our body in a state of health and free from disease in order to move forward on the path to enlightenment.
Ayurveda says that our body’s natural state is one of balance and health. Most of us have shifted away from this state of balance because we are disconnected and oftentimes miss the signals of distress. Ayurveda believes that by creating an optimal environment that supports our body’s natural healing process, we can help restore its internal balance. Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health that places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through creating balance in one’s physical, emotional and spiritual life.
In Ayurvedic medicine, performing a gentle cleanse periodically, once per month or every three to six months, is considered a healing practice. The simple 7-Day Ayurvedic Cleanse resets the digestive system, rejuvenates the body, and helps to create sustainable weight loss and lasting energy. It is also suitable for pacifying and rebalancing each mind-body constitution, also known as dosha.
What is Dosha?
Ayurveda identifies three basic types of energy or principles (doshas) that are present in everything and everyone: VATA, PITTA, KAPHA which are made up of the five Universal elements: Air, Space, Fire, Water and Earth.
Each person is born with a unique combination of each of these five elements, which make up his or her mind/body type or dosha. The goal of Ayurveda is to find your particular mind/body type and keep it in balance for optimum health. This balance can be achieved and maintained through proper diet, exercise, and lifestyle routines.
Vata contains the elements of Ether and Air. Vata-predominant people are generally thin and find it difficult to gain weight. Vata's typically have low energy and can tire easily getting out of balance. Vata's need to get plenty of rest, exercise moderately, keep warm, and maintain a regular lifestyle routine.
Pitta-predominant people are generally of medium size and well built. They have a good amount of physical energy and stamina. They also tend to be intelligent and have a sharp wit and a good ability to concentrate. Fire is the primary element of Pitta dosha, and it typically shows up in a person as fiery red hair or short temper. Pitta types are known for their strong digestion but should be careful not to abuse it by consuming too many spicy and acid forming foods.
Kapha dosha is comprised of the elements of Water and Earth. Kapha's tend to have sturdy, heavy frames and a good reserve of physical strength and stamina. This gives Kapha's a strong immune system as well as a generally positive outlook on life. Kapha types tend to be slow eaters and have slow digestion and elimination. They also speak slowly. They are generally calm and affectionate but, when out of balance, can become stubborn and lazy. They learn slowly and retain information well with a good understanding of it.
What to Expect ?
The 7-Day Ayurvedic Cleanse is designed to reset the digestive system, rejuvenate the body, and set the stage for healthy and sustainable weight loss. The main focus of this program is to restore balance through following the natural cycles that occur with the change of seasons (summer to fall in this case).
The 7-day virtual detox is designed to help you transition to a mono diet consisting of homemade kitchadi (an easy to digest meal made from a mixture of basmati rice and mung dahl beans ). Kitchadi is traditionally prepared in Ayurveda to stimulate the removal of accumulated toxins (ama).
Once you register for this program, you will receive an email with a complete menu plan and specific instructions on what to do and eat each day of the program.
The primary goal of the the 7-Day Ayurvedic Cleanse is to boost your detoxification system and set the stage for healthy, sustainable weight loss. The key to weight loss is training your body to start using stored fat as energy, which will stabilize your blood sugar levels and eliminate unhealthy cravings. When you eat five to six times a day, you don’t give your digestive system time to rest. By gradually transitioning to eating regular meals, three times a day, you will train your body to tap into its stored energy reserves of fat. You want to get rid of excess fat not just to lose weight, but also because your fat cells provide storage space for molecules of suppressed emotion, fat-soluble toxins, pollutants, pesticides and other cancer-causing chemicals. At first, it may be challenging to make the transition towards eating three regular meals each day, especially if you are used to snacking all the time. This is why it is important to get support throughout the cleanse.
Throughout the course of the program, my recommendation is that you avoid dairy with the exception of ghee (clarified butter used in Ayurvedic medicine). You can buy organic, grass-fed ghee online or any other health food store. Better yet, make it yourself. Here is an easy recipe.
Coffee and all acid forming foods should be eliminated during the seven days if possible. This includes red meat, alcohol, processed sugar of all kind, wheat, dairy, soda and all carbonated drinks.
It is my recommendation to start a journal through this process to write about your experience. It may be helpful to keep a record of the foods you are eating in order to better see how your body responds to the meals each day.
Download the Food Journal Template
The one thing I want to strongly emphasize is that you should not feel starved at any point during this cleanse. While going through physical detox, it is important to feel calm and relaxed. The reason why 90% of diets fail is that they are too restrictive. You force your body to go into a state of emergency through eliminating foods you naturally crave. This creates a lot of stress which raises your cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol prompts your body to store fat and burn glucose for energy. The end result is that you gain more weight after the diet is over than you lost while on it. This is obviously not a sustainable and healthy way to live. That being said, you have to always ask yourself whether you are eating because you are truly hungry or because you are bored, anxious or stressed out. Sometimes too the body mistakes thirst for hunger so every time you feel hungry, especially if it is soon after your last meal, drink a glass of water and see how you feel.
Daily Practices (Dinacharya)
In order to calm your nervous system, quiet down your mind and increase the benefits of this cleanse, you can perform the following simple practices each day.
Upon waking up, use a tongue scraper to remove ama (toxins) accumulated overnight.
As you rise every morning, move your body for 10-15 minutes. Walking, yoga, or swimming are all good choices. Avoid strenuous workouts for the seven days. You need to learn to slow down, even if only for a week. Light exercise will help to stimulate your lymphatic system (the drainage system of the body) without adding extra stress.
Breathe. A simple breathing technique I often teach in my yoga classes is ujjayi (pronounced: oo-jai) pranayama: breathe in and out through your nose, counting to 4 on the inhales and 6 on the exhales. Slightly constrict the back of your throat to create a humming sound with your breath. It will resemble the sound of beach waves and it has a very soothing effect for the nervous system. You can practice this simple technique for 5 minutes each morning upon waking up and at night before bedtime.
Meditate sitting still for 10-15 minutes each morning before you reach for your phone, computer or TV remote. If you mind tends to wonder too much, silently repeat the mantra Om with each inhale and exhale, or direct your attention to your breath, counting to 4 on the inhales and 6 on the exhales. Stay present even if your mind tries to carry you away. The goal of meditation is not to block your thoughts but to intentionally direct and redirect your mind to a place of stillness. You can do this by focusing either on your breath or on a mantra.
Sip hot/warm water throughout the day to decongest your lymph system and aid in digestion. Make it a point to drink about half your weight in ounces each day. If plain water is too bland, add a squeeze of lemon, cucumber slices or mint leaves to it to give it some flavor. You can always drink some light herbal teas as well, such as mint, chamomile, fennel and ginger. Avoid caffeine.
Dry-brush your skin in the morning before showering to enhance circulation, stimulate your lymphatic system and get rid of cellulite. All you need is a good old loofah. Brush your skin starting from your toes all the way up to your shoulders using circular motions on your joints and moving in upward direction on you long bones.
Follow dry-brushing with self-massage (Abhyanga) using organic sesame or coconut oil. This practice is very good for stimulating lymph flow, improved immunity and glowing skin! You can apply the oil by starting with a gentle circular massage at the top of your skull and move on to your arms, legs and torso. Use long strokes on the limbs and circular strokes on the joints. Massage the abdomen and chest in clockwise, circular motions.
Perform Neti/Nasya 2-3 days per week at rising. Neti is an Ayurvedic word for nasal irrigation. Boil some water in a pot and add a small pinch of sea salt to it. Using a ceramic neti pot, pour the water through each nostril to clear up your nasal passages. Gently blow your nose in a soft tissue. Use a q-tip to apply a small amount of ghee, sesame or coconut oil inside your nostrils to lubricate the mucosa. This technique will help moisturize the nasal passages preventing them from drying out and forming protective mucous, which is very common in the spring.
Drink herbal teas before and after meals to aid in the detoxification process and improve digestion. I will provide you with some herbal tea recipe ideas each day of the program.
Please remember that each person is different and you may have a unique reaction to the foods I recommend in this cleanse. If you have questions, please feel free to email me or post your comments on the Facebook forum.
Sign up for the 7-Day Ayurvedic Cleanse by entering your name and email below to receive the shopping list and the program content.