Saturday, March 3, 2012

Spring Cleansing

Tomorrow I start my 14 day spring cleanse.  I'm actually starting on kitchari tonight because I like it that much.  As I was pulling together my cleanse, I started to think about what makes a "successful" cleanse (whatever that might mean).

Here's what I've come up with.

  • Preparation -  I am most successful with a cleanse when I am well-prepared.  If three days in I run out of lentils or ghee or spices, I'm really letting myself get into the danger zone.  Today I prepared by stocking up on everything that I'll need for abhyanga and my diet for the next 14 days. Yes, I'll have to run out occasionally for veggies.  But the basics are on hand.

  • Timing - This is so intertwined with being prepared.  First, I try to look at my calendar and schedule the ghee days and the liver tonic days.  I make sure there are no birthday parties and work lunches, and menstrual cycles.  If any of these come up, I have a plan in place for my meals.  I also look at which nights of the week are tougher to get my lunches together.  Monday night I know that I need to make food for Tuesday lunch and dinner and Wednesday lunch, because apprenticeship happens Tuesday evening.

  • Support  - I let my friends and family know what I'm up to.  My husband knows that he's on his own (more or less) to make his own meals.  He's there for me as I chow down on rice and legumes.  Cleansing as part of a group is a great way to build in support for your cleanse.

  • Flexibility -  Should the above fail, you need to be ready to forgive yourself.  My biggest obstacle during a cleanse if forgetting that I'm cleansing.  Accidentally eating a piece of chocolate or getting half way through a cup of coffee before realizing that I was supposed to be cleansing.  I just have to let it go and come back to the cleanse.  Beating myself up or giving up on the cleanse over little slip ups is self-defeating.  

Do you participate in seasonal cleanses?  What are your tips for success?


  1. why do you think khitchRi is cleansing food? most indians think of khichRi as bleah overcooked food one eats when one is sick and weak. and what is your idea of cleansing when it comes to food? why is ghee considered special and not butter? us indians use ghee because butter is trickier to deal with in indian ambient temperatures, but in the west, butter is king.

    1. These are good questions, Shivan. Thanks for asking. The easy answer is because my teacher told me :)

      My understanding is that kitchari is cleansing precisely because it is "bleh." It's easy on the system and easy to digest which gives all the organs of digestion a break from a nasty over processed (western) diet. That diet does make us sick and weak (relatively speaking).

      No doubt, butter is King! Again, as I understand it, clarifying butter (which is also used in refined western cooking such as French cuisine) removes the tougher to digest milk solids and liquids. In theory, it also helps to lubricate the joints and remove toxins from the body which are fat soluble.

      To me it's a great experiment that I participate in twice a year. I do see wonderful effects, particularly in my yoga practice. Most of my "break through" moments have come when I've been cleansing.

      Thanks again for your question, Shivan! It's wonderful to share dialogue about these things.

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  3. i do appreciate the answers, and my apologies if my questions came off sounding rude. i look forward to reading about how your 14 days go. :)


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