That is the question. Contrary to popular belief, it is not an easy question to answer. The topic of cleansing, is a relatively obscure one. Not as clear as the name might suggest. 🙂
The practice of cleansing is extremely old. All ancestral health systems involved some form of cleansing that served the society’s particular needs at the time.
The purpose of cleansing was for the individual to achieve greater health in order for them to better serve their community.
By deviating from their daily routine, and performing the cleansing in a ritualistic manner, they were honoring themselves, their community, their environment, and the higher Self.
Whether the practices were physical, in the form of detoxification, mental, in the form of meditation, or spiritual, in the form of holy bathing, they were all treated with the utmost respect.
This implies that not every one was to follow the same exact cleansing regiment. It depended on their role in the society, their health condition, and the time and place.
Today, in our reductionistic way of thinking, we are preoccupied with the physical aspect of cleansing without any concern regarding the idiosyncrasies of the individual or the community. The results are often detrimental.
Ayurveda, the ancestral medical system that was documented in India, gives us a solid framework on how to design a cleanse tailored to the individual, their community and their environment.
When to Consider a Cleanse
- Do you experience cravings that never seem to go away?
- Do you feel bloated and heavy even when you starve yourself?
- Do you feel that you do not have the energy to do all the things you want to do in your day?
- Do you have trouble falling asleep?
- Do you experience afternoon crash?
- Do you have trouble staying focused?
- Do you get overwhelmed easily?
- Do you tend to overreact?
- Do you tend to lose your composure easily?
- Do you want to feel better and look better?
- Do you want to feel better and look better naked? 🙂
If you answered, “yes” to one or more of the above, Ayurveda says it is time to consider a cleanse.
Not All Cleanses Are Created Equally
There are many cleanses out. Most of them never seem to work long term. Even though the person may feel great temporarily, they often go back to feeling worse than before starting the cleanse. Sometimes they even become chronically sick.
Why is that? The reasons are manifold. Below we are listing some of the most common ones.
Many cleanses rely on supplements, as opposed to natural foods. Any time you rely on supplements there is a good chance of putting more impurities or even toxic substances in your body than what you are trying to eliminate. Also, no matter how clean or natural the supplementation may be, it is bound to have side effects. Supplements are by default a highly concentrated form of one or more “active ingredients”. Not to mention the unnecessary cost.
Many cleanses rely on various fruit and/or vegetable juices. These decoctions, although natural, are detrimental to one’s blood sugar balance. Sugar is sugar. Your body doesn’t know the difference between the sugar in a ‘green drink’ and the sugar in a soda.
Many cleanses such as those causing purgation (diarrhea) are too intrusive to the gastrointestinal system. As a result, they end up aggravating any existing gi tract imbalances, instead of helping repair them. Not to mention their dreaded side effect, causing people to miss work, school, play and any other favorite activities.
Many cleanses are too intense or too complicated for people to finish. All they end up doing is inducing unnecessary physical, mental and emotional stress.
Many cleanses cause starvation that results in muscle mass depletion, Given that our muscle tissue is our most insulin sensitive tissue by mass, we want to keep it building, not deteriorating.
Many cleanses have too limited of an approach when it comes to nutrition. They focus solely on food, instead of also taking into account the other forms of nourishment, such as rest, attitude and movement.
Many cleanses forget that the person is part of a constantly fluctuating greater community / environment that is influencing their health. As a result, these cleanses omit the two highly important parameters of time and space. Time includes everything, from the season, to the way the person uses their time. Similarly, space includes everything, from the geographical location to the person’s immediate living space.
An Ayurvedic Cleanse
An Ayurvedic cleanse uses nutrient dense and diverse foods derived from plants, animals and minerals. The food selection, preparation and consumption is aimed at repairing and / or enhancing the person’s digestion. Ayurveda proves that delicious food can be great for you. Nutritious food does not have to taste bad.
An Ayurvedic cleanse respects the most important nutrient that our body and mind need in order to detoxify: Good fat, in the form of ghee, grass-fed butter, coconut oil or olive oil. (If you cannot handle cow products, goat butter is a delicious and nutritious alternative.) Without good fat our physiology not only does not have the ability to eliminate toxins, it ends up accumulating and storing even more.
An Ayurvedic cleanse causes the necessary amount of discomfort (moderate to intense) without becoming overwhelming. Based on the principle of hormetic growth, our physiology cannot improve without the right amount of moderate to intense discomfort ; not too much though.
Everything in excess is opposed by nature. – Hippocrates
An Ayurvedic cleanse uses simple methods, all the way from the recipes, to the breathing exercises and the daily regiment. Ayurveda believes that we should address complicated with simple. Our human existence, in the form of our body, our emotions, our mind and our soul is way too involved. We need to introduce simplicity should we wish to maintain a healthy dynamic balance.
An Ayurvedic cleanse provides enough nutrient dense and diverse food while maintaining a healthy, balanced insulin level through the practice of fasting. According to Ayurveda our insulin hormone is a highly important regulator for our Kapha bio-energy, the bio-energy associated with our physical, emotional and mental sustenance.
An Ayurvedic cleanse does not solely rely on food. It uses daily regiments that also incorporate
- Physical movement (body weight training, yoga, sprinting, etc.)
- Concentration and relaxation practices (breathing techniques, mantras, mudras, marma point therapy, crystal therapy, etc.)
- Environmental conditioning (cold showers, ice baths, sun therapy, saunas, mud therapy, fire gazing, etc.)
If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health. ― Hippocrates
An Ayurvedic cleanse views the human being as part of the whole space / time continuum. The techniques that the cleanse uses
- Are often based on the season, the planets and the geographical location.
- Include tools the individual can use to become more aware of how they allocate their time. People often get busy, going through the motions, and don’t realize where their most valuable commodity, their time, goes. At the end of the day, they ask themselves, where their day went and they are not able to answer. The cleanse gives them the ability to identify time waste and eliminate it.
- Include tools the individual can use to become more aware of how they use space, in terms of their car, office, home, etc.
The 7-Day Ayurvedic Summer Cleanse by Spartan Mind Strength
One of our most favorite cleanses is the 7-Day Ayurvedic Cleanse modified for the particular season. We have seen it work great for our students, clients and even their families for well over 10 years. In fact most of them, perform the cleanse seasonally.
After several requests and suggestions we decided to publish the 7-Day Ayurvedic Summer Cleanse into a book, coming out just before Summer!
You don’t know what feeling great feels like. Your normal feeling great is nothing compared to your natural feeling great.
Are you willing to give it 7 days of your life?
Learn Ayurveda Online at: https://squareup.com/store/training-courses
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Grassfed Ghee by Tin Star Foods can be found at: https://amzn.to/2ujnBBx
Grass-fed Butter can be found at: https://amzn.to/2Hundsg
Goat Butter, a great alternative for those not doing well with cow products, can be found at: https://amzn.to/2Jrf5e8
Cold Pressed, Unrefined, Organic Coconut Oil can be found at: https://amzn.to/2YanplD
Extra Virgin Olive Oil can be found at: https://amzn.to/2Fbyryc
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Until next time much, much love from both of us!
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Na’maste kala! Which in Greek means: May we all be well!