The spring months are the time when nature detoxifies the heaviness and ama accumulated during the winter. The warmth of spring not only begins to melt the snow outside, but also the impurities within the body, enabling them to circulate and potentially clog the various channels of the body, which can lead to illness and health disorders. This can eventually leave you feeling tired, sluggish, weak and can cause the skin to break out and look dull. This is why supporting the body in properly detoxifying these impurities is extremely important.
Winter is associated with vata and the elements of air and space. These cool, dry qualities make us want to eat more heavy, warm and rich foods to offset vata.
Spring is associated with kapha and the elements of water and earth, which are heavy, moist and cool. This is why we naturally begin to crave lighter and more cleansing foods that offset these kapha qualities, and why improper diet and lifestyle habits during this time can leave you feeling weighed down and congested.
Common signs of kapha imbalance include:
- Cold, clammy skin
- Weight gain
- Dullness of the mind
- Slow digestion
- Oily skin
- Difficulty letting go
To support the body in gently cleansing without resorting to expensive juice cleanses or our Ayurvedic juice cleanse recipes, follow the guidelines below:
KAPHA SPRING DIET
- Favor foods with astringent, bitter and pungent (spicy) tastes.
- Increase dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, chard, dandelion greens) as well as cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage.
- Increase whole grains such as quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat and basmati rice.
- Astringent fruits such as granny smith apples, pomegranate, cranberries and citrus are ideal.
- Eat easy to digest foods such as broth based soups (cream and dairy are heavy and can cause more ama buildup).
- Use spices in cooking such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel and black pepper.
- Take a spoonful of Authentic Chyawanprash™ each morning on an empty stomach followed by warm water to support digestion and detoxification.
- Drink plenty of pure, filtered water throughout the day. Drink mainly room temperature or warm water as cold water can hinder the digestive process and cause more ama buildup.
- Switch out coffee for herbal teas or green tea (if you need the caffeine).
- Consume mainly organic food and avoid packaged/processed foods, as well as too much leftovers.
- Avoid alcohol and sugary drinks as much as possible.
- Avoid heavy, difficult to digest foods such as meat, dairy, refined sugars and flours, fried food and oily food.
- Eat your largest meal at noon. When the sun is at its highest, our digestive fire is the strongest.
- Eat a smaller dinner and finish 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- As the body is naturally trying to detoxify, intense exercise can cause too much stress and weaken it. Instead, focus on more gentle forms of physical activity such as brisk walking, hiking, cycling and yoga to balance your kapha dosha.
- Perform an Ayurvedic self massage, known as Abhyanga, followed by a warm bath a few days a week to help draw toxins out of the body and nourish the mind and skin. Organic sesame oil is ideal for Vata types, coconut or sunflower oil is ideal for Pitta and a dry silk glove massage is beneficial for balancing your Kapha dosha. Warm the oil in a glass jar or bowl by placing it in some hot water for a few minutes. Begin by massaging the oil into your scalp with a gentle touch. Massage your face, ears, neck and shoulders. Then work your way down to the arms, hands, chest, abdomen and back, using circular motions on the joints and abdomen. Lastly, massage the legs and feet. Finish the process by soaking in a warm bath for 10-15 minutes.
- IMPORTANT: Do not perform Abhyanga if you are menstruating, have a fever, have swollen or painful joints, have broken skin or any other serious health condition without consulting a qualified Ayurvedic or medical professional.
- Get adequate sleep as the body requires more rest during this time to efficiently detoxify and rejuvenate during an Ayurvedic spring cleanse.
There are various supportive herbs one can use during an Ayurvedic spring cleanse as well, but these are typically recommended on an individual basis by an Ayurvedic practitioner. In the meantime, these diet and lifestyle guidelines will help support the body during its natural detoxifying process. As the cool winter months leave us and make way for spring, incorporating simple diet and lifestyle changes can positively impact your health for the short term and long term.