Learn the difference.
When we first hear about cleansing or detoxing, most people think of taking away a bunch of food groups so they can drop some weight in a relatively short period of time. That can certainly happen, but it completely side-steps the point of participating in a cleanse.
Ayurveda teaches that cleansing between seasons, especially around spring and fall - or at the end of Kapha season and the end of Pitta season - can be beneficial in clearing excess dosha imbalances, and preparing the body to transition to the next season.
Dosha imbalances can show up as physical symptoms, like heavy periods, headaches, or skin inflammation, or they can show up as imbalances of the mind like anxiety, insomnia, or mood swings. Working towards being in balance naturally and on an everyday basis, we utilize the power of food as medicine and adjust to more nourishing lifestyle habits. Ayurvedic eating helps us get really specific about which foods will help an individual come to balance most efficiently.
Another tool for coming to balance and even maintaining balance is periodically implementing a brief cleansing period. This can be a great way to kick-start the healing process in your body, clear out excess buildup of Ama (toxins) and start fresh with a “clean” slate so to speak.
Even people who eat super “clean” all the time benefit from periodic cleansing because even if there are minimal toxins in clean eating, we are deeply connected to everything else in our environment, and cleansing is an opportunity to nurture the mind as well as the body.
Think of it this way: Our emotions affect our health and our doshas. Our interactions with the people in our lives at home and at work affect our health and our doshas. The air we breathe, the cleaning products we use, and the body care products we use all affect our health and our doshas. Even the seasons, the weather and what we visually LOOK at and listen to throughout the day affects our health and our doshas.
For example, imagine a person who lives in the city. There are not many places for her to go to be in nature on a daily basis. And her workspace is not near any windows. She likes to watch crime dramas on TV, and her roommates are very critical and negative.
She will likely have a different set of imbalances than someone who lives in a cottage on a lake, with a workspace with lots of windows overlooking a peaceful meadow. This person listens to classical music and has lots of fun laughing with her family.
You can see it's not just about the food we eat.
Cleansing the body and the mind allows your systems to pause and take a breath, while getting plenty of nutrient rich food. Cleansing gives you the space to cultivate your intuition by noticing how you feel when YOUR health is the top priority.
Dieting on the other hand, can be restrictive and stressful on the body. Cutting calories can deplete you of nutrients, send the wrong message to your hormones and make you feel deprived, leading to battles of will power to stick with it.
If your goal is only to lose weight, then dieting will likely help you reach your goal - though likely only temporarily and perhaps with some struggle.
If your goal is to sleep better, improve your mood, have lots of energy, lower your stress levels, reduce your symptoms of hormone imbalance, and strengthen your intuition about your health all while eating delicious food with no calorie limitations, then consider cleansing this spring!
Join my Spring Cleanse for Hormone Health. Registration ends 3/19/22.