CLEANSE + RESET FOR THE NEW YEAR
With Christmas comes excess, which can weigh on our systems for weeks afterwards. The antidote? Kicking off the new year with a supportive lifestyle as well as a bit of a helping hand. I love to get my body back in gear with a 3-day Ayurvedic Cleanse + Reset for a gentle boost. Keep reading to find out more and make sure you’re signed up to the newsletter so you can access the full plan, complete with four simple recipes including kitchari and Golden Milk to help you feel your best in 2019. Love or hate the word, detoxing has been something that various cultures have done for thousands of years. It’s not about deprivation or extremes, but about tuning back into your body with kindness and generosity.
The 3 Doshas — Vata, Pitta and Kapha — can be witnessed in action throughout the seasons, through the change in the climate and the varying energies and their effects on how we feel.
The “Qualities” of the winter season swing from Vata through to Kapha. The beginning of winter carries with it the Vata hallmarks of autumn: cold, light, dry, fast, rough, then as the weather gets even colder and this time heavier, damper, slower and smoother, it becomes more Kapha in it’s Qualities as it makes its way towards the Kapha season of spring.
So far we’ve experienced a very mild winter here in the UK — though often wet, it’s still windy, cold and light and feels fast and fresh, so what veggies should we include in our kitchari at this time of year? Usually I simply say to add your favourite seasonal veggies to your kitchari — after all, seasonal means it’s just right for the season now. But many of us are disconnected from the land that grows our food, whether because we’re too busy, not interested or simply because the food is grown out of our sight, and therefore out of mind. What we do see is dictated mostly by the supermarkets, so we might need to take a closer look to figure out what nature is telling us.
There are lots of root veggies around at this time of year — big tubers such as sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beetroots, as well as the bulbous squash family which also grows close to the ground. These foods are very sweet and grounding, which is why they are excellent in helping to balance excess Vata energy. Any one of these veggies or a selection of them would be great to include in an evening kitchari meal since they have all the qualities we might want to us to help us sleep.
There are also lots of tough, rough leafy greens around at this time of year too, such as cavolo nero, chard and kale — it’s these that can survive the cold temperatures winter brings. These foods are lighter and drier so make a nice addition to balance any sluggish Kapha qualities. I will be cooking these into my lunchtime kitchari (make sure they are tender rather than crunchy — remember they’ll take longer than a softer leaf like spinach).
The following herbs and spices are great for balancing Vata and Kapha: mustard, cardamom, licorice, garlic and ginger, so add them to your kitchari. Licorice is also lovely to enjoy on occasion throughout the season as a herbal tea. Since these are all wonderfully heating herbs and spices (as Vata and Kapha both have cold qualities) if you do have a Pitta imbalance or are feeling particularly Pitta (i.e hot and bothered, irritable or angry!) on any given day (whether it’s freezing outside or not!) then listen to your body and keep them on the downlow.
Over on the other side of the world, Australia and other countries are enjoying their summer — a Pitta season — so check out the kitchari list in the Cleanse + Reset plan you received when you signed up for some ideas on ingredients to add to your kitchari which can help to keep your cool if you’re on that side of the world.
All sound a bit confusing? Don’t worry - the most important guideline to understand is that of digestion. Being kind to your digestion is the only rule worth fussing over — the rest are just lovely tweaks to play with. Check out the lifestyle section of the Cleanse + Reset to understand that how and when you eat is as important as what, and listening to your digestion is key.
A note on the ever popular Golden Milk. Treat Golden Milk as a meal rather than a drink that accompanies a meal. This is especially important if you are using dairy milk, which is not compatible with savoury foods since the salt and the milk curdle in the stomach. This makes the Golden Milk more difficult to digest and defeats some of the point of the lovely tonic - and the cleanse and reset in general! During the Kapha season or when we are feeling very Kapha, dairy should be reduced in general since it has similar Kapha qualities. A cup of hot spiced well-cooked milk such as the Golden Milk should be fine — cook it with extra water if you like to keep it light. If you have a cold or feel congested in any way then switch to one of the plant milks like almond or oat milk.