It’s that time of year again.  The weather is cooling, the leaves are changing, I’m starting to dig out warmer jackets for my kids and we are all starting to sleep with pajamas!  Twice a year I like to cleanse my body by cutting out certain food groups to reset my cravings and reboot my tastebuds.

I have tried a number of different cleanses over the years and eventually settled on one that was flexible regarding the food and encompassed all aspects of my life.

Step 1: Figure out your doshas

The doshas are both physical and psychological traits.  They describe things like your sleep, your reaction to heat & cold, your body shape, whether crowds are scary or appealing and so on.  Vata is air and space, Pitta is Fire and Water and Kapha is Water & Earth. We have all three, but in differing amounts, usually one is dominant and a second is quite high and then the third is low.  These will help you figure out what to eat.  Do more than one test & don’t pay for them!

http://doshaquiz.chopra.com

http://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/prakriti-quiz/ (your prakriti is your constitution)

https://yogainternational.com/article/view/dosha-quiz

Step 2: Plan your food

Kapha & Pitta:

If you are trying to lose weight, going for a predominantly vegetable-only diet is a good way to start.  If you find green smoothies a little hard to take, adding a pear or apple and some cinnamon can sweeten the taste.

You can do more raw foods if these are your predominant doshas – like coleslaws, with shredded apples & cabbage, raw soups – (tomato & pepper soup below – just don’t cook the peppers for example).  Avoid raw onions and use green onions to make the flavors less extreme – Gazpacho is another good option.

Vata:

Avoid raw foods – they are too hard to digest.  Try veg and fruits but add some kitchari if you’re loosing weight and you don’t need to.

SIMPLE RECIPES

Green smoothies: 

2 cups of water or nut milk, 1-2 cups of greens (kale, spinach, lettuce, parsley, cilantro etc), pinch of cinnamon/cardamom & an optional piece of fruit (apple, pear, plum).

Soups:  Here are three super easy and modifiable soups.  Vary the thickening agent (potatoes or root vegetables), vary the spices or use fresh herbs, vary the greens, use leeks instead of onions etc.

Green Soup

  • 1 onion, 1 zucchini, 1 stick celery, 1 carrot, 2 cloves garlic, 2 cups of greens (kale, turnip or mustard greens, spinach), 1 sweet potato, 1 bouillon cube, 4 cups water, spices (e.g. hing, cumin, coriander seeds, curry powder), splash of coconut oil.
  • Fry onion, zucchini and celery, carrot & garlic. Add spices. Add water and bouillon cube, cubed peeled sweet potato and then the greens, cook until potato is soft.  Blend and store in mason jars in fridge – ready to heat and eat.

Tomato/Zucchini Soup

  • 2 zucchini, 2 tomatoes, fresh oregano & parsley, chili powder/hot sauce, 1 bouillon cube, 4 cups water, 1tsp coconut oil.
  • Thickly slice and fry zucchini. Put in saucepan with chopped tomatoes bouillon cube and water. Bring to boil, add chili and chopped fresh herbs.

Red Pepper/Tomato Soup

  • 3 red peppers, 3 tomatoes, 4 cups of water, 1 bouillon cube, parsley, half a lemon
  • Roast 3 red peppers whole in oven. De-seed and place in blender with tomatoes.  Add seasoning & a handful of fresh parsley.  Serve.

Marinated Salads

  • 1 tsp shredded ginger, 1 tsp shredded garlic, juice of 1 lemon & equal amount olive oil, 2 handfuls of greens, grated beet or carrot, sliced fennel, toasted seeds, and to serve chopped tomatoes or avocado (these will go soggy so only add to serve).
  • Chop greens (kale, turnip greens) and rub with 1/2 tsp salt, mix in grated carrot/beet. Add vinaigrette and leave for at least 30 mins (up to a day).  Add ‘soft’ ingredients to serve.

The oil allows the nutrients from the green vegetables to be absorbed by the body.

Kitchari

  • 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 carrot, 1 zucchini or squash, 1/2 c rice, 1/2 c mung beans, 1 bouillon cube, 1 c water, 1 tsp coconut oil, spices to taste, fresh cilantro.
  • Saute veggies in 1 tsp coconut oil. Add rice & spices (eg. half tsp hing, 1/2 tsp cumin), stir for a few minutes and then add bouillon cube & mung beans and water and cover.  Simmer until rice & mung beans are cooked (about 25mins).  Serve with fresh cilantro.
  • You can mix this up by varying veggies, making an italian flavored batch (parsley, thyme, basil, tomatoes, celery), or sweet – using coconut milk and cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and vanilla.

Step 3: Plan your house cleanse

If any of you have read the Kon-Mari method of getting rid of stuff, you will know that you want to go through your things category by category, not room by room & that you want to hold each item, and see whether it gives you a feeling of joy.  I know – sounds kind of strange, but I tried it and it totally works! With the clothes – I remembered when I had worn it, how I felt, what it made me feel like, whether I was happy or not!

Day 1: Clothes – collect from all over the house and in one go, pick up each item, hold it to yourself and see whether it gives you joy.  If not, give it away.

Day 2: Shoes, boots

Day 3: Books – from the bedroom, kitchen, sitting room. Gather them all together & purge.

Day 4: Food – dried goods, tins, spices, jars in the fridge

Day 5: Filing cabinets

Day 6: Kids Toys

Day 7: Kids Clothes

Step 4: Plan your relationship(s) cleanse(s)

Taking stock of your main relationships is another really good habit to cultivate.  Carve out time to talk and evaluate how you’re communicating, whether there are issues that keep rearing their head etc.  Perhaps schedule therapy if you feel that mediating arguments or issues that keep re-appearing might be helpful.  Talk about where you want to be in 3 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years.

Make time to meditate every day & perhaps journal.

Avoid going out and socializing – step back and focus on yourself.

(Optional Step 5: Find an accountability partner.  Someone who can text you and help you keep on track.  It helps if they are doing it too, because you can batch cook together!)

Good luck!

I’ll be posting pics on Instagram @yogabrained follow me!

Copyright Tamsin Astor, 2015, YogaBrained LLC.