Ready to put some spring in your step? Let’s take full advantage of the new season with a bit of TLC the Ayurvedic way. You won't find harsh restrictions or punitive workout plans here. Nor will you find juices or raw foods, which are the opposite of what we need after accumulating Kapha energy all winter. Instead, Ayurveda — the "Science of Life" in Sanskrit — is based around thousands of years of comfort foods that look after you from the inside out, giving you that inner glow by stoking your digestive fire or "Agni" (more information on this below) while delivering easy nourishment. There’s also no skipping meals and no workouts; only relaxing walks, gentle yoga and a bit of breath work if you fancy it. This is more about baths than boot camps, stretches than sweating, and pampering rather than pain, all in a chilled, calm, cosy, delicious and gently powerful way.
So why not join me for an easy, scrummy 3-day plan? I’ll be starting this Saturday (24th March) with a quiet weekend and taking it to work on Monday when I’m nicely in the swing of things. If you’ve got East by West already, then you’ll have all the info you need on page 291. Otherwise, follow the instructions below, which include a shopping list so you can stock up on all the bits and pieces you need over the next couple of days ready for the weekend.
“Having only done raw or juice cleanses before (which I find pretty tough), I’m always a bit nervous about a ‘cleanse,’ but after slightly over-indulging over Christmas, I thought I’d give Jasmine’s Ayurvedic 3 day cleanse a go... mostly because I loved the sound of the recipes and the fact it was meant to be nourishing, nurturing and re-balancing (rather than starvation!).
The recipes were super simple and quick to make, everything was delicious, and I was so surprised about how satisfied and not hungry I felt. Apart from a few sugar cravings at tea time on the first day, I honestly didn’t crave anything the rest of the time. I loved the detox tea and sipping it throughout the day was really comforting.
The biggest change I noticed was how the cleanse re-balanced my taste buds and I wasn’t craving sweet or salty. I felt really calm, slept amazingly and actually think I may do this once a month.” - Henny H
A bowl of comfort food - split mung beans slow-cooked with rice, quinoa or millet. Add your favourite veggies and you’re away.
A fantastic and simple way to start the day. Said in Ayurveda to tonify the bowels, clean the liver, reduce inflammation and cure constipation.
"My boyfriend and I returned back home after Christmas feeling lethargic and I in particular felt a bit blue. We decided it was a good time to do the 3 day Cleanse + Reset to kick off the new year. We both have really healthy appetites so this seemed doable and we didn’t start the cleanse worried about feeling hungry. We had fig congee topped with pear for breakfast, kitchari + greens for lunch and either kitchari again for dinner or golden milk. It felt so good to be putting homely, nutritious food back into our bodies. My first coffee craving was hard but being so satisfied with nourishing food helped this pass by the end of the first day. At the end of the cleanse, I felt back in control again and my spirits were lifted for sure.
Kitchari has now become our go to meal when we’re in need of some clean eating. It definitely feels like the Ayurveda equivalent of chicken soup for the soul. A hug on the inside! Also, we’re hooked on golden milk and use it as a coffee and dessert replacement. Looking forward to doing these cleanses again as we move through the seasons." - Becki C
When you eat is important for digestion. Our bodies naturally want to follow the cycle of the day, while snacks and artificial light disrupt the body's cycle. Aim to eat breakfast between 7 and 9, lunch by 1pm and supper before 7pm. Bed by 10pm folks!
Believe it or not, this is such an easy and practical three days — not only are the recipes simple, but they take the stress out of wondering what to prepare. The dishes are best enjoyed freshly cooked rather than reheated, so I’ll make a batch of kitchari fresh every morning (or overnight in a slow-cooker) to see me through the day and pop a portion or two into a thermos for later meals. The recipes are all one-pot, so cleaning up is easy, and as as finding the ingredients goes, they’re all available from a good supermarket and can otherwise be picked up online — check out my Shop page.
- The recipes are vegetarian and naturally free from gluten. You can easily make them vegan by substituting the ghee and dairy milk for vegan alternatives.
- Where possible, stick to quality foods, naturally grown without chemicals.
- If you’ve got blood sugar issues, it’s best to avoid the Stewed Apples for breakfast and opt for the Golden Milk with less jaggery, or Kitchari for breakfast.
- Easing in — this is such a gentle and supportive 3 days, however, if you have been hitting the stimulants and depressants hard (e.g. booze, coffee, sugar and cigarettes) then be prepared for some frustrations! For an easier transition, slowly lay off in the days approaching your 3-day CLEANSE + RESET (see below for easing out of the 3-day break).
- Avoid dairy milk with anything salty for easy digestion — wait at least an hour in between.
- Don’t go hungry: don’t try to improve or take advantage of the CLEANSE + RESET by eating even less or being strict on yourself. This is about giving your body the support it needs. Care for yourself as you would a loved one. Deprivation isn’t fun.
- Stick to hot water between meals rather than anything chilled.
- As with any diet, exercise, supplementation or medication programme, before you start, you should consult with your healthcare/medical professional.
BACK TO BUSINESS — life after the 3-day reset
Continue with the bliss by enjoying delicious freshly cooked vegetarians meals on the 4th day and more of the herbal tea and hot water. Avoid red meat for the first few days. If you do eat animal proteins, choose lunchtime rather than supper time as they take longer to digest. Incorporate the 4 recipes into your weekly menu plan. These lovely Ayurvedic comfort food classics are great to come back to again and again to balance with any feasts or social engagements. Use other gentle recipes, such as my Spring Clean Vegetable Brown Rice Soup (on page 196) or Vegetable Soba Noodle Soup (on page 171) from East by West the cookbook to ease out of your cleanse.
THE SHOPPING LIST
The following ingredients are found at most good supermarkets. If you can’t find one or two spices for the recipe, don’t worry, just go on ahead without them and adjust to taste. Jaggery, mung dal (also called split mung dal) and ghee are the slightly more unusual ingredients, but you can pick them up online or buy the alternatives suggested below.
- Organic apples
- Organic whole milk (pref. unhomogenised) or almond, oat, coconut, hemp milk etc.
- Seasonal vegetables (try the Dosha test to determine your Dosha):
Vata: butternut squash, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes
Pitta: carrots, cauliflower, (fresh) coriander, broccoli, leafy greens
Kapha: Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, leafy greens
- Bay leaves
- Black mustard seeds
- Black pepper, ground
- Cardamom pods
- Cinnamon, ground
- Coriander, ground /whole coriander seeds
- Cumin, ground
- Cumin seeds
- Fennel seeds
- Nutmeg, ground (optional)
- Star anise (optional)
- Turmeric, ground
Mung beans — available in their whole form (with their green jackets) at all good supermarkets. Even better, mung dal is traditionally used as it's even easer to digest and quicker to cook. Dal means "split," so look for yellow split mung dal at international food stores and online — not to be confused with yellow split peas or lentils which are a different variety.
Jaggery — a cheap and cheerful sweetener you can get this online at Ocado or online health food stores in a block, from which you cut chunks off. In the supermarket, the closest option is Billington’s Molasses Sugar or coconut sugar.
I am not a nutritionist, dietician or medical professional. The information provided in this plan has been developed following personal research and is based on my own experience with nutrition, wellbeing and Ayurveda. As with any diet, exercise, supplementation or medication programme, before you start, you should consult a healthcare professional and in particular, if you have a health concern of any kind, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor or other medical professional.