Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse

Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse

After this very long winter, and 4 days of indulging in an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic, my body was ready for some detoxing. A few weeks ago, I sent out a newsletter to hundreds of people suggesting that they do an Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse. Now it was time to suit the action to the word and do some cleansing myself. Thus, last week I was on a diet for 3 days. Believe me, I am one of those lucky people that really doesn’t need to loose weight, so I am always a little apprehensive when it comes to dieting. Here is how that went.

Day 1:

I get up early to do my yoga practice. I feel good about myself for doing that. I reckon it is a good start of my 3 days of cleansing. I finish my practice with some purifying breathing exercises. By the time I’m done, I am really hungry. Since it takes a bit to prepare the hot oatmeal I will be eating (no instant of course!) I make a quickly to fix drink of hot water with fresh ginger, raw honey, lemon and turmeric. This satisfies somewhat. When the oatmeal is cooked, I add Goji berries, prunes, raw honey and ghee. I make a very big bowl as I am worried that I may get hungry before the next meal. I am not supposed to eat anything else before lunch. No snacking!

I drink a cup of Coriander/Cumin/Fennel tea to aid digestion. I think it is working. After I have devoured all that, I have belly cramps. I wonder if that is part of the cleansing process.

By the time I have time to think about lunch, it is already past my typical lunchtime. And I still need to make the Kitcheri. This simple dish of softly cooked rice, mung beans, ghee and Ayurvedic spices is what I will be eating the next 6 times I have lunch and dinner. I think to be smart and double the recipe, so there will be enough for dinner too. I add too much water though, so the dish takes forever to be ready. By the time I finally eat, I don’t even care what it tastes like. I just need to eat! It tastes good.

The effort of the afternoon pays of when it is finally time for dinner. I come home after teaching a class, and am more than ready to go to bed. Good thing the Kitcheri is there to be eaten. I don’t even want to waste time wondering if I am missing my habitual piece of dark chocolate. Day 1 is a success!

Day 2:

I get up early again because I am teaching a morning class. I don’t get up early enough to eat my big bowl of oatmeal before class. If I do, my digestive system won’t be happy during any belly- or head-down poses. After eating so lightly the day before, I feel that I will get woozy if I don’t eat anything. I cheat. I eat a banana.

When I come back after class, I prepare the same breakfast as yesterday. Best breakfast ever. My belly is happy too.

There is still left over Kitcheri from yesterday. Not the best way to do it, as according to Ayurveda food looses most of its Prana – Life Force – when you don’t eat it right after it is prepared. Oh well. I add some water and fresh kale to amp up the Prana. In the meantime, I cook more Kitcheri for dinner. When I am ready to eat, my brother calls. He lives in Norway. We don’t talk that often, given the time change and our busy schedules. I decide to forget about the suggestion to meditatively chew my food, and enjoy my lunch as I chat with him. It does have another advantage. I am distracted from the question whether I want to eat more.

Later in the afternoon I realize that I really like food. I knew that already, but still. I enjoy thinking about what I will prepare, how to diversify my meals, and especially to have little snacks in between. I miss doing that. Oh, separation disorder! I also notice that I miss chewing something crunchy. I cheat again and chew a sugar free piece of gum to satisfy the desire of my jaw to move.

I take a yoga class at one of the studios where I teach. While I am flowing through the postures, I feel strong. I can feel that the twists go much deeper now that my belly and digestive system are so relaxed. I am also surprised that by the time I finally have dinner, I am not as hungry as I thought I would be. I have some broccoli with the Kitcheri. What a treat!

Day 3:

I don’t want to cheat again, so I get up early enough to have my oatmeal before I leave to teach my morning class. Maybe not early enough: my breakfast is noticeably sitting in my stomach while I teach. The good thing is that I am not in a near food-crisis as I usually am after teaching. As a matter of fact, I run a whole list of errands the rest of the morning and I feel great. I wonder if my body is getting used to this new eating routine.

The Kitcheri I made the day before tastes better than the first batch I had made. Not sure what the difference is. Perhaps I’m just telling myself a story to not get bored with the food. Whatever it is, I am even considering adding two more days to the cleanse. Well, not really. I don’t mind eating the same thing twice a day for 3 days in a row, but I still miss the snacking, and especially the absence of something crunchy to chew on. There must be a deeper meaning behind that.

Two more classes later it is time for dinner again. Instead of ginger, I add fresh turmeric to my honey/lemon drink. It tastes like orange juice. I could drink this everyday! I am proud of myself for doing this cleanse. Even though I am very tempted to skip the last Kitcheri dinner, I stick to it. Only one more to go!

The aftermath

When I get up in the morning, my body feels light. My digestive system, which gets easily upset, is calm and happy. The puffiness and sluggishness I felt in my body after feasting during my holiday trip is gone. I probably lost 2 pounds. Not that I needed to, but it does feel good. I feel vibrant and alive. Ready for spring!

That night, my husband (who did the cleanse with me!) and I went out for sushi. I hope that my body will be happy. Just in case, I reach for the low-sodium soy sauce. I remind myself that every experience starts with a thought. I decide to only have happy ones, and thoroughly enjoy the dinner.