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Oct 04, 2011



We’ve all heard of spring cleaning, but a cleanse in the fall?


Fall is a natural time of transition and an ideal opportunity for a gentle cleanse that will retune your body and mind, and prime your system for a winter of wellness.  The view in Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science of medicine, is that by the time autumn rolls around, we have accumulated plenty of heat in our tissues from summer, which is fiery pitta dosha, or energy.  As leaves dry up and the wind begins to blow, vata dosha takes over, which is governed by air, and marked by change, instability and anxiety.  What happens when blasts of air are added to a fire?  It burns even brighter.  So when pitta heat is fanned by vata wind, it can lead to mental and physical burnout, stressing our adrenals, nervous system and liver, putting some of the body’s natural detoxification processes on hold.  It can also deplete our reserves to fight off infection, just as we are getting more exposed.


This is why in the fall, we need to acknowledge that we are overly busy, and find time to slow down and restore the body.  It is a chance to support the body’s ability to eliminate toxins, take stock of the influences we allow in our lives, from food to technology to thoughts, and make space for habits and choices that will help to establish the health and vibrancy we want.


Here are some simple suggestions to support your body’s detoxification pathways

  1. Increase your intake of garlic!  It fights free radicals, supports liver detox pathways, fights infection, lowers cholesterol and your risk of several cancers, and wards off vampires to boot!
  2. Season your food with coriander and cilantro which help support removal of heavy metals
  3. Eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts) and leafy greens like kale, chard, collards, bok choy, and spinach.  These foods are nutritional powerhouses that most of us don’t get enough of.
  4. Up your intake of liver-loving foods, like beets, lemons, onions, curcumin (found in turmeric – bring on the curries!)
  5. Red raspberries contain ellagic acid, which assists detoxification and helps prevent cancer
  6. Some herbal teas which support a healthy liver are: milk thistle, dandelion root and schizandra
  7. Breathe!  Deep breathing stimulates the relaxation response, which supports the body’s healing capacity, as well as increasing detoxification via the lungs – so work on your cleansing breath, or kapalbhati in your next Moksha class
Dr. Clare Craig, ND, CD(DONA)
Naturopathic Doctor
Island Optimal Health & Performance


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