The benefits of a natural cleanse
The best time of year to undergo a natural cleanse is at the change of the seasons as the natural increase of heat in Spring breaks down built up congestion from the Winter months. Undertaking a cleanse after the festive season also makes sense because many of us have had a week or two of indulgence, eating and drinking things we might not usually have.
We will probably have put our digestion, liver (and nerves) under a lot more stress than usual. So it’s a good opportunity to wipe the slate clean.
How do I know if I need to cleanse?
We can recognise when our body is in need of a cleanse as we usually start to feel tired and run-down. We might also notice our digestion is a bit sluggish and our skin congested.
Feeling ‘clogged up’ can also affect our emotional state – we might hold onto negative issues, instead of letting them go. Cleansing on all levels is central to being healthy.
How do you get ready for a cleanse?
It's best not to go all ‘gung-ho’ if you’ve never attempted cleansing before. You’ll likely end up exhausting yourself and potentially doing more harm than good.
To make the most of cleansing you need to be feeling well-rested. Don’t attempt it if your body is already going through changes, such as when you are menstruating or perhaps if you are recovering from illness.
Here are some top tips to help you prepare:
Pick a time where you know you will get a chance to relax. When you cleanse, your body needs time to do its thing. This requires energy, so it’s best to keep vigorous exercise to a minimum and get a few more early nights
Cleansing will involve a change in eating and drinking habits, so make sure you will not be in situations where you may be tempted or pressured to drink alcohol or coffee, or eat inappropriate foods.
Pick a duration that suits you. If you’ve never tried a cleanse before, then perhaps opt for a weekend or two to three days to begin with. If you are a seasoned cleanser, you might consider a longer period such as a week.
Once you’ve picked the right time, you can start to prepare and identify the type of cleanse that will work best for you.
Choosing the right type of cleanse for you
In Ayurveda (the ancient Indian system of medicine), there are three different doshas (or body types), vata, pitta and kapha. Each benefits from cleansing in different ways. If you don’t know which dosha you are, take our quiz to find out.
If you have never undergone a cleanse before and are not sure which dosha might be your most dominant, then try this simple daily routine to begin with and then move onto a dosha specific cleanse the next time round:
In the morning
A good time to wake is before 7am. Later can cause you to feel low in energy.
Start the day with a cup of Cleanse tea with a slice of lemon to stimulate the digestive juices and rehydrate. Before breakfast, take Pukka Clean Greens with a little Pukka Aloe Vera juice to support your body throughout the rest of the day.
A good morning practice to enliven the senses and the mind before tackling the day ahead is to five to fifteen minutes of alternate nostril breathing.
Sit in a comfortable position, rest your right thumb next to your right nostril, place your index and middle finger on your eyebrow-centre (third eye) and then hold your ring finger next to your left nostril.
To start, close the right nostril with your right thumb and inhale slowly through the left nostril whilst counting up to five. Then close the left nostril with your ring finger and at the same time remove your thumb from the right nostril and exhale through this nostril whilst counting up to five.
Inhale through the right nostril for five seconds and then close the right nostril with your right thumb and exhale through the left nostril for five seconds. This completes one full round; try to do five to ten rounds.
Your lunchtime ritual
The after-lunch slump is a common occurrence. Getting back in touch with nature for just 15-20 minutes can help get the blood flowing and oxygen circulating again whilst also helping you digest your food.
Whether it’s a brisk walk round the block, or sitting on a bench in the local park, the key is to reconnect with your environment and inhale some fresh air.
The best time to eat your lunch is different for everyone, but try to wait four hours from your last full meal and only eat if you feel hungry. Try making a digestion-kindling meal such as kitchari or ‘food of the gods’ as it’s also known.
If you get peckish in the afternoon, go for something that provides slow-release energy, like oatcakes with avocado, a handful of nuts, or even rye bread with a spread of honey if you have a real sweet craving.
In the evening
The key is not to overeat in the evenings; try and keep it light. A dhal is a great option as it’s light but filling and full of protein.
Use evening rituals like self-massage or yoga nidra to help you wind down. For self-massage, use a warmed oil if possible. Try a simple organic sesame oil or Pukka Active 35 Oil. Massage the oil into the entire body, working it deeply into the skin.
An alternative is to apply an oil that suits your dosha, to your wrists, neck, throat and ‘third eye’.
For vata try patchouli, chamomile or lavender.
For pitta try ylang ylang, neroli or rose.
For kapha try frankincense, cardamom or cinnamon.
Try and aim to be in bed before 10pm. After 10pm pitta can kick in and our energy may begin to rise. Before bed, take Pukka Wholistic Triphala to rejuvenate your digestion and get it ready for the next day.