The kitchen is our first line of defense against disease. According to the 4,000+ year-old Indian science of Ayurveda, our tissues are created from the digested foods that we eat…so, in essence, we are what we eat. Sound familiar? Following this line of thinking, if we have an imbalance of excessive heat in our body (ex. Acid reflux, inflammation, etc.), Ayurveda would have you begin by looking at your diet to instigate change. Eating cucumber is a way to counter heat in the digestive system. Digesting turmeric is a great way to counter inflammation in the body. The principle of opposites is a key tennet in Ayurvedic philosophy.
The principle of opposites theory in Ayurveda is the idea of bringing the body into homeostasis by using opposing qualities of that which is predominant or that which is in excess. To avoid a health crisis, apply the theory of opposites to dietary practices and therapeutic treatments seasonally to stave off accumulations which can cause imbalances. Said another way, seasonal cleansing can help rid your body of muck.
To cleanse or not to cleanse…that is the question. Or maybe, what is cleansing? A better question to start with. A cleanse could be something as simple as eating fruit for the day, or could be as complex as spending 3 or more weeks in India following the guidance of a doctor who suggests a dietary and physical treatment regimen, including emotional/spiritual practices. If interested in the latter, research “panchakarma”.
The degree of one’s cleansing will determine the degree of clarity of that which is being cleansed…one of the many beauties of Ayurveda is that it is logical. I’ll use my own experiences as an example. At 27, I stopped eating meat and dairy for a month to see the benefits. I lost 5 pounds and cleared all of the mucus out of my sinuses and throat (and probably other places that I wasn’t aware of). That impressed me, so I took it a step farther. I followed a protocol that had me eating just fruits and vegetables for a month, along with ingesting a regimen of herbs and psyllium shakes. There was quite a bit more involved, but the moral of the story is that I lost 35 pounds in that month, my energy levels were through the roof, and I can honestly say that it changed my life in every aspect, including emotional. Cleansing can be as simple or complex as one would like it to be. However, one must know their limitations physically and emotionally, and most importantly, you must appreciate the process. If it’s torture or creates dread, change the process or just don’t do it. Your mind has to be onboard.
According to Ayurveda, the mind is shaped by the five senses. During your cleansing process, enroll the mind to be “in the game”. Make sure that your surroundings support what you’re doing. Try to make everything you see, hear, touch, smell, and feel be a positive part of this rare opportunity in your life!
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Be well and heal thyself!
Ayurvedic Practitioner, Herbalist, Bodyworker