It’s been a whole year since my last post about my seasonal juice fast and since then, I’ve learned a few things! I now have the awesome therapists at the Pittsburgh Center for Complementary Health and Healing to thank–at least in major part–for that, being that they are constantly bombarded with my health and wellness questions. I discover more about the human body every workday
According to the amazing book, “Staying Healthy With the Seasons” by Elson M. Haas, M.D., which draws heavy influence from the Chinese system, each season of the year is a time to cleanse in a different way, focusing on a different part(s) of the body. Autumn is a time for cleansing the lungs and large intestine.
I couldn’t even fathom the idea of a lymphatic system until a few weeks ago. What is it? What is it made of? Turns out it’s part of the circulatory system that carries lymph toward the heart. Lymph is a substance with a composition similar to blood plasma that’s made of mostly water and transports white blood cells, fats, and waste products (toxins from the food we eat, air we breath, and germs we ingest) throughout the body.
With my new found knowledge, here are the additions I’ve made to my Autumn Cleanse:
- Grapes! They are plentiful during this time of the year, not to mention that they’re great blood purifiers.They also help to detoxify the stomach and intestines. Add grapes into your juicing routine. If you find grape juice to be too sweet, water it down slightly or alternate grape juice with the famous, spicy Master Cleanse lemonade for a balanced palate.
- Kombucha! As long as you are not ill or suffering from parasites or candida infections (in which case kombucha may be harmful to you,) this healing tonic, made of live bacteria and yeast, offers the probiotic benefits of yogurt and kefir, prebiotics to help grow healthy, digestive bacteria in your gut, and antioxidants from its black and green tea components. Kombuchas carbonation also helps to make you feel full–an especially nice perk when you’re feeling weak and cranky during the final day or two of your fast.
- Coconut Water! Brimming with potassium and electrolytes, coconut water is a tasty and natural alternative to sports drinks like Gatorade. It’s helpful, too, when you are seeking some variety during your fast.
- Body Brushing! An excellent addition to your cleansing regimen! Body brushing (sometimes called dry brushing) stimulates the body’s circulatory and lymphatic systems by activating the lymph and helping to guide and pump toxins out of the body.
- Lymph is a substance with a composition similar to blood plasma that’s made of mostly water and transports white blood cells, fats, and waste products (i.e. toxins from the food we eat, air we breath, and germs we ingest) throughout the body. Smoother skin, reduced cellulite and bloating, and improved digestion are just a few of the amazing benefits of this process!
- First and foremost, be sure to find a proper body brush. Brushes can be found at health food stores or right here at the Pittsburgh Center for Complementary Health and Healing! Choose one that is rather stiff and opt for natural rather than synthetic brush bristles. Small, specialty brushes with softer bristles are used for the face and decolletage. The very best time to body brush is in the morning prior to your shower or bath, but doing it before you go to bed is also beneficial. To reap the most benefits from body brushing, perform it daily (twice daily if you are fighting an illness).
- The Process: Begin with the thighs. Using firm pressure and light, sweeping strokes, brush upwards from the knee to the top of the thigh, towards the heart. Brush from ankle to knee, then the tops of the feet. With small circular movements, brush the base of the feet. Brush the hips sideways, from the back and wrapping around to the front. Brush the abdomen in light, circular motions around the navel. Brush your arms from hands to shoulders. For the face, neck and chest, use a smaller, softer brush and apply lighter pressure. Don’t forget your back!
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments! I’d love to know about your journey/s.
Some yoga philosophy for closure:
P.S. My combined post on seasonal juice fasting can be found here.