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Rebalance your Energy with this Four-Day Autumn Cleanse

Although California doesn’t precisely follow the calendar of seasons, you know it’s time for a cleanse when the A/C stops kicking in every day! Juice cleanses are a popular choice, but did you know that special slow-cooked food can also reset your system and balance your mood?

A digestive cleanse feels like washing away the gunk in the corners of your digestive system, refreshes your taste buds, and makes your whole body feel refreshed. And just like cleaning house, changing your diet and refreshing your approach to food is rewarding when planned out and encouraged to follow through.

During a four-day cleanse you can still do many of the same activities you enjoy, but rest is always best. First, identify one week that you can reduce your energy output such as a Thursday through Sunday and mark it on your calendar. Start cleaning up your diet on Monday or Tuesday by eliminating alcohol, meat, dairy, and refined sugar. Rise in the early morning to scrape your tongue and brush your teeth to remove bacteria that would otherwise make it into your stomach. Sip 8-16 oz of hot water with a twist of lemon. Eat whole foods throughout the day such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

On the first official day of your cleanse, simplify your diet for four days with fresh room temperature water or herbal infusion, and two meals per day of this specially prepared meal called kitchari (KIT-char-ee). Kitchari is a one-pot dish of small split yellow lentils, and basmati rice with spices and vegetables that will healthfully sustain you for four days.


1/2 cup basmati rice 1 cup mung dal (split yellow lentils) 6 cups (approx.) water 1/2 to 1 inch ginger root, chopped or grated A bit of mineral salt (1/4 tsp. or so) 2 tsp. ghee or avocado oil 1/2 tsp. coriander powder 1/2 tsp. cumin powder 1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder 1 pinch garlic chives Handful of fresh cilantro leaves 1 and 1/2 cups assorted vegetables (optional)


Carefully pick over rice and dal to remove any stones, then wash thoroughly. Add the 6 cups of water to the rice and lentils and cook covered until it becomes soft, about 20 minutes. While that is cooking, prepare any vegetables that suit your constitution. Cut them into smallish pieces. Add the vegetables to the cooked rice and dal mixture and cook 10 minutes longer. In a separate saucepan, sauté the seeds in the ghee until they pop. Then add the other spices. Stir together to release the flavors. Stir the sautéed spices into the cooked dal, rice, and vegetable mixture. Add the chopped fresh cilantro and serve.

Taking the Next Step: Water-only Fasting

On day 5 you can slowly re-introduce healthy foods and return to normal activities. But there is another option: more rest and water-only fasting. Fasting is a complete abstinence from food and drink except pure water in an environment of complete rest. According to research findings reported in The Pleasure Trap by Douglas Lisle, Ph.D. and Fasting and Eating for Health by Dr. Joel Furhman M.D., the human body is equipped to heal itself in a miracle of adaptive design when certain environmental conditions are present. By the end of the third day of water-only fasting, the body activates complex and precise healing mechanisms that lead to healing of many common conditions including arthritis, asthma, heart disease, and hypertension. Other benefits include mental clarity, weight loss, and refreshed taste buds to make healthy lifestyle changes more sustainable.

Due to the range and complexity of human conditions, supervision and care is recommended if you plan to do a water-only fast. More information about the benefits of fasting and a private Orange County fasting retreat center can be found at where I also guide restorative yoga and breathing meditation once a week. Wishing you a happy cleanse and good health this season!


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