EAT TASTE HEAL: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living
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Ayurevdic Detoxification
Ayurvedic Fasting

Fasting is an effective way to kindle the digestive fire and burn away accumulated toxins from the body and mind. It also eliminates gas, makes the body light, improves mental clarity, and preserves overall health. Ayurveda favors regular, short-term fasting over infrequent, long-term fasting. This could entail fasting on the same day each week or setting a few days aside each month to fast, depending on your constitution and cleansing requirements. According to Ayurveda, abstaining from food or water for extended periods of time depletes bodily tissues, leading to doshic imbalance.

The primary types of fasting in Ayurveda, include:

-Consuming light foods only (such as Kitchari and Kanjee)
-Consuming fruits, vegetables, or juices only.
-Abstaining from solid foods while drinking water or herbal teas.
-Abstaining from both food and water.

In determining the appropriate type and length of a fast, it’s important to take into account your constitution, digestive strength, level of ama, and overall vitality. It’s never advised to deplete your energy during a fast. If you’re new to fasting or have a chronic illness, we recommend consulting an Ayurvedic practitioner for specifically tailored guidance.

The signs of effective fasting, include:

-Lightness in the body, clarity in the mind, and increased energy.
-Regular bowel movements with no gas or bloating.
-A clean tongue and fresh breath.

It’s best to choose a fasting period in which you’ll be able to follow a peaceful, non-stressful routine. We recommend following the daily and nightly routine recommendations in Chapter 4 of Eat-Taste-Heal. It’s also important always to break your fasts properly. The most important rule to remember is to begin eating again gradually, slowly working your way up to solid foods.

(Note: Eat-Taste-Heal includes fasting recommendations for each constitutional type.)


Simple Detoxifying Tea

Sipping warm teas throughout the day is also a highly effective way to flush out accumulated toxins from the body. Simply place the ingredients in a medium saucepan with 4 cups filtered water, bring the water to a boil for 5 minutes, and then steep for 2 to 5 minutes. Always add the lemon while the tea is steeping. Strain into a tea pot or thermos.

This is an excellent tea for individuals with a Kaphic constitution who are trying to lose weight.


Kapha Tea

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
1 cinnamon or licorice stick
10 fresh basil leaves
Squeeze lemon juice

Panchakarma: Rejuvenating Detoxification

Panchakarma is a Sanskrit word meaning “five actions or treatments.” As the primary method of detoxification in Ayurveda, Panchakarma rids the body of toxic materials left by disease and poor nutrition. It also expels excess doshas from the body. Therapies are individualized based upon constitutional types, doshic imbalances, age, digestive strength, immune status, season, and a host of other factors. Panchakarma promotes deep purification within the tissues, using safe, gentle methods.

Preparatory treatments to Panchakarma include light fasting, steam therapy, herbalized oil massage, and the intake of herbal decoctions or oils. These procedures help loosen accumulated toxins (ama), which then enter the major channels of the body for elimination. The five primary treatments of elimination include: herb-induced emesis or vomiting (vamana), herb-induced purgation (virechana), herbal decoction enema (asthapana basti), medicated oil enema (anuvasana basti), and the nasal administration of medication (nasya). Depending on an individual’s needs, all five or only select treatments are used. There are also several adjunct treatments, such as the luxurious shirodhara, in which a continuous stream of warm oil is gently poured between the eyebrows (on the “third eye”) of the patient.

Like any medical procedure, Panchakarma begins with an initial consultation by a qualified health professional, who can determine an individual’s prakruti (birth constitution), the nature of the health problem, and the appropriate therapies. Ayurveda also recommends Panchakarma for healthy individuals as a preventative measure, particularly at the junction points between the seasons. For more information, please visit the Kauai Center for Holistic Medicine’s web site.

© 2014 Five Elements Press Eat • Taste • Heal: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living email: