When asked about her intention for 2020, Martha said “I want to remind myself and others that the body is a temple. Your body is the only thing that will be with you from the moment you’re born until the moment you die. It’s your only true home. We need to be more conscious and take better care of our bodies because we’re the ones who have to live in them. No one else can do it for you. Your body is your home and you alone have the power to nurture it and make it a good place to live each and every day. So pay attention to what you eat. Cleanse or do Panchakarma at the change of every season. And learn to listen to the signs your body’s giving you.” In the spirit of this New Year’s intention, we are offering a 5-day home cleanse that gently and deeply detoxifies and renews your body and soul.

Though there’s a deluge of cleanse protocols meant to start your year on the right foot, many cleanses actually throw your body off-balance. Cleanses that focus on juices and raw foods, from an Ayurvedic perspective, can stress the nervous system, dampen your angi (your digestive fire), and aggravate your vata (your air element). This traditional cleanse, though, nourishes and balances all three of our doshas, rekindles our angi, and draws impurities out from deep within our tissues.

In this simple cleanse, we loosen toxins in a process known as oleation, so those built-up toxins can be easily eliminated. In the simple protocol, you’ll take a little ghee each morning. As most toxins are fat soluble, the ghee acts like a sponge and absorbs toxins directly from our tissues. The ghee then helps move those toxins to the liver, where they can be expelled. In order to make sure all of the toxins are expelled, a bit of castor oil on the final evening completes the cleanse, and at the end, you’ll have lost a bit of weight, you’ll feel lighter and clearer, and your food habits will have been naturally reset. This oleation cleanse is the best preparation for Panchakarma, so if you’re ready for next-level healing, make sure to schedule a Panchakarma series that begins the day following the final day of your cleanse. 

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and successful New Year, and to a new decade of treating our bodies as the joyful and vibrant temples they really are!

The Cleanse

This cleanse has three parts, 5-7 days of eating a nourishing cooked vegan diet, snehana (ghee detoxification), and virechana (a laxative to cleanse impurities).

Diet

You will be eating a simple cooked vegan diet consisting of grains and dahl, fruits, vegetables and herbal teas. This means no caffeine, no sugar or honey, no alcohol, nothing cold or raw, and no processed foods. During this you should drink 6-8 glasses of warm water each day, stop taking all supplements and herbs, and avoid strenuous physical activity.

Breakfast options

  1. Rich and Nourishing Morning Rice Cereal
  2. Mung Bean Pancakes
  3. Surya Bread

Lunch and dinner options:

  1. Dahl
  2. Kitchari
  3. Mung Bean Pancakes with Vegetables
  4. Greens Soup

Snehana

Snehana, or ghee detoxification will help to loosen impurities in the body. You’ll take increasing amounts of melted liquid ghee on an empty stomach each morning of your cleanse. First thing in the morning, measure out and melt your ghee to drink. 20 minutes after you drink the ghee, have a warm glass of water (or a glass of ginger tea if you’re feeling nauseous).

Day 1: upon waking, take 2 teaspoons of ghee

Day 2: upon waking, take 4 teaspoons of ghee

Day 3: upon waking, take 6 teaspoons of ghee

Day 4: upon waking, take 8 teaspoons of ghee

Virechana

This is typically a morning procedure on day 5, so make sure you have the first part of the day free.You’ll want to wake up early enough that you have 6 or so hours free after you take the castor oil. On the morning of day 5 as soon as you wake up, measure out 2 tbsp of castor oil. Drink one tbsp at a time, followed by a sip of juice mixed with warm water or tea. The warm liquid helps melt the castor oil so it goes down easier.

When the laxative starts working, pay attention to the number of bowel movements you have. Count each trip to the bathroom as one bowel movement, though if you spend a long time in the bathroom, count ten minutes as one movement. Don’t eat until the majority of the laxative has warn off, but if you feel that the laxative is taking a while to work or you feel weak or hungry, drink some warm water, tea or juice.

Make sure you ease back into eating with light foods and continue to eat cleanse-approved foods for a couple days afterwards.