“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use.
When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” ~ Ayurvedic proverb
The theme is food preparation: getting ready for your detox.
1. Clean out the cupboards.
This is the week to use up, donate to the food bank, store away for later, or eliminate any processed and refined foods. Clean out the pantry and the fridge of foods that may pull you off track, and make room for fresh new fixin’s.
Gluten is out – pasta, bread, white and wheat flours, packaged cereals, buns, cookies, cakes, pizza crusts… you get the picture. If you have a nice sprouted grain bread or seedy bakery bread you enjoy, a slice with nut butters and a little honey can be nourishing during the detox, particularly if your predominant doshas are vata or pitta.
Drop the sugar – chocolates, candies, confections and baking, ice cream, sweets… I repeat, no sugar. A quality honey or maple syrup in small quantity will be your sweet allies during the detox.
Reduce dairy and meat – hard cheeses, milk, sour cream, processed meats like sandwich meats, pre-seasoned or smoked meats are out.
You may enjoy a quality yogurt and organic butter (particularly ghee or clarified butter), and white meat, eggs or fish according to your constitution. Pitta and vata types will enjoy a little yogurt and soft cheeses, kapha may benefit from eliminating all dairy, except ghee or organic butter, during the detox.
A previous detox client had no trouble omitting meat from her meals during the program. Others found including a small amount of quality chicken or fish 2-3 times per week helped stabilize blood sugar and kept them from seeking sweets and snacks. Nuts, greens, chia seeds, healthy fats, and cinnamon are additional ways to assist with regulating blood sugar and keep cravings at bay.
Don’t stress about omitting foods. You won’t be going hungry. The idea is to get temptation out of the house and inflammation out of the body.
2. Advise the other members of your household about the plan and enlist their support.
If you can enjoy the 21 days with your partner or significant other and family, the process becomes even sweeter. If not, enlist a friend or 2 and be each other’s accountability buddies. Of course this is also where the Facebook group comes in handy! Share recipes, even swap meals, and report your progress regularly.
My husband did not participate directly in my first detox, yet he worked away from home. I advised him of my plan and asked him to indulge during his day at work and not to bring chips, sweets, treats and take-out home.
One of the girls in our first spring group had a strong will and found it easy to prepare a batch of kitcharee (ayurvedic dish of veggies and rice) or soup for herself to reheat for dinner while she prepared the family-favourites for the rest of her brood.
If you think you may succumb to temptation, rule of thumb is to not have it on hand at all.
3. Identify any witching hours and put a plan in motion.
If there is a certain time of day that finds you poking around the pantry for sweet or salty and crashing on the couch to indulge in front of Netflix, commit to fill your witching hours with a walk outside, or join a yoga or other movement or meditation class with a friend.
4. Make your meal plan and grocery list for week 1.
What foods do you enjoy? How can you modify your favourite meals? Get recipe inspiration from the Facebook group as we post potential recipe ideas for week one. Remember, you have this prep time to make a plan for week one.
One of the girls found a delicious recipe for lentil shepherd’s pie. Another made a large batch of veggie soup and froze it for the coming weeks.
Prep that you do now makes the coming weeks easier. Start jotting down your ideas this week and whip up whatever inspires you.
A few good staples: rice, seedy crackers, yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes, chia seeds, buckwheat, or a grainy porridge mix to eat hot or cold, veggies to eat fresh – carrot sticks, celery, peppers, cucumbers – and ones for steaming, roasting or sautéeing – broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, onion, garlic, bok choy, swiss chard, fruits such as apples, oranges, watermelon, berries, etc.
Fresh ginger is nice to have on hand, grated in tea, water, or your favourite dishes.
Make a batch of baba ganouj for a quick lunch with veggie sticks and seedy crackers.
Create a scrumptous snack mix for times when you may crave something sweet: a nut mix with pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and raisins, cranberries, figs or dried mango to sweeten. Watch out for super salty pre-mixes or sweetened dried fruit. Better to blend up your own.
If you are a coffee-drinker, this is the week to begin a gradual decrease of your daily dose of joe. Likewise with the evening glass of red or white, or happy hour beverage of choice…. no alcohol during the detox.
One client replaced her afternoon cup of coffee with a strong cup of tea and began reducing her morning cup of coffee to 3/4, then 1/2, then 1/4. She enjoyed a cup of guayusa tea in the morning to help move her from coffee.
A bowl of nourishment
~ hot porridge, or oatmeal with chia seeds, almonds or walnuts, cinnamon, and natural apple sauce or a touch of quality honey for sweetener.
~ natural unsweetened yogurt with nuts, seeds, vanilla powder or cinnamon, and fresh berries, peaches, or sliced bananas.
Blueberry or chai-spiced rice pudding makes a nourishing and delicious breakfast or dessert. I am also a big fan of liquid nutrition (no, wine is not on the menu :). Smoothies and elixirs keep your belly satisfied and your kidneys happy during your detox.
Chaga/rosemary-boosted rice and chicken soup
~ rice cakes with almond butter, apple slices, bee pollen and cinnamon.
~baba ganouj or hummus with seedy crackers and fresh cucumbers, carrots, radishes, grape tomatoes… you get the picture.
~ veggie and rice soup or roast butternut squash soup with ginger, cumin, coconut milk and wilted greens.
~ generous garden salad with nuts, seeds, berries or orange slices. Dress with sesame or olive oil, balsamic vinegar or lemon juice and sea salt & pepper.
Lemon roasted kale potatoes
~ veggie and rice stirfry
~ lentil shepherd’s pie
~ salmon, rice and veggie cakes
~ ribolitta or veggie soup
Don’t eat past 6:30pm and avoid evening snacking.
Sample dessert/breakfast options:
~ Chia seed pudding
~ Chai rice pudding
~ Nuggets of Nectar (pictured above)
Again, these are suggestions. Take a look at your own recipe repertoire and see where you can breathe new life into your meals.
You may also wish to follow these suggestions for Everyday Ayurveda: 11 Foods to Eat + a Recipe.
This program is intended as information only and NOT to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Please consult with a physician before beginning any health regimen.