the winter cleanse
By Shannon Vaughn
Each January, I struggle. To those of you that live in Miami and Los Angeles and other climate controlled environments - we celebrate you, but I live on the east coast of the US in a seasonally changing environment. If you’re like me, January brings with it the physical effects of feeling heavy, body-burdened, foggy-brained, sleep-disrupted, and generally lacking energy. There are reasons why you feel this way, and you are not alone.
At this time of year in this hemisphere, it’s likely that you’ve not had regular sun exposure for at least two months, causing Vitamin D deficiency and a decline in moving your body. This is a major departure from warmer months, when the weather lends itself to moving our bodies outdoors. Like plants, we need sunshine, nature, connection to plants, fresh air, and daily movement all year long. When these vitality-giving energy sources diminish for at least a third of the year, and we feel…. stagnant. To cope in the past, I used to attempt a juice cleanse or a plant-based special diet. Those approaches just made me feel cold and even more depleted, so I eventually returned to my origin of wellness studies from time spent in India learning about ayurvedic healing.
Hot tip: use seasonal foods to treat seasonal moods.
My winter go-to is a kitchari cleanse. It is simple, easy and inexpensive to do for yourself at home. I pair this with clay-based bathing, mud facials, and a massage (every 2 weeks if feasible) to make sure everything is circulating. I become diligent about my Fitbit, taking the stairs as often as possible, and making sure I am moving in between work calls. I also focus on being disciplined about my sleep regiment since it’s dark when I wake up and dark when I finish work.
If you’re keen to explore a kitchari cleanse, Banyan Botanicals has the easiest kit for cleansing, warming herbs, and supplements for detox and digestion. Add at least three types of vegetables to add to your rice spice mixture (e.g. sweet potatoes, yellow squash, butternut squash and carrots). This cleanse touts very little salt, a touch of healthy fat (ghee), zero added sugar, coriander, cumin and fennel. It’s delicious by itself, and I add in green tea twice daily to help limit my coffee intake. Try this for 7 days straight then take a break for 3 -4 days. Assess how you feel. If you see positive results, try the same regimen to keep feeling lighter, mitigating sugar overload and improving skin health.
Here's what you need:
- Banyan Botanicals Kitchari Kit (organic)
- Tongue Scraper for morning cleaning
- Dry Brush to use before bath or evening shower
- Pursoma Hot Tub or Resurrection bath treatments for once a week detox bathing
- Pursoma daily bath soaks (3 lb bags)
- Kusmi Green Tea and CCF Tea
- Hu Food Dark Chocolate (each night a tiny bite)
- Stevia (to sweeten tea if needed)
- Daily Probiotic
- Banyan Botanicals Triphala
(To make it easy, here’s an Amazon Cart with all of the above)
Here’s the daily routine:
- Wake up early - 5:00-6:30 AM
- Spend 5 minutes in bed doing a morning meditation or gratitude practice
- Tongue scrape - down the middle and on each side of tongue
- Oil pull - swish with coconut oil for 5 minutes
- Alkaline drink - drink one cup of warm water with ½ squeezed lemon
- 30 minute cardio - at the gym or bundled up outside, just make sure you sweat
- Shower - and commute or begin to work
- Eat the first serving of kitchari in the late morning
- Eat the next serving for late lunch
Eat the final serving before 7:00 PM
*Consume the CCF tea in between each meal and green tea twice a day before 3:00 PM
- In the evening, have another CCF tea and take a bath - I let the clay from pursoma soak on my skin and make a face mask while in the tub
- Apply a heavy body oil all over
- Read for a few minutes and go to bed