The holiday season comes with its share of late nights and binge eating. From Navratri in October to the New years eve in December, most of us put our bodies through quite a challenge. As a result we often end up feeling older in the New year and experience the need to recover.
Luckily, you can use Ayurvedic principles to recuperate from your adventure.
Socializing and late nights cause your nervous system to go out of whack and also lead to a certain type of Vata Prakop. Typically, your body becomes internally active, dry and restless. It can also lead to your Agni* becoming low or volatile, which in turn leads to poor digestion and erratic evacuation of bowels. Abhyanga or Ayurvedic Massage with should be practiced for 3-7 days. Abhyanga is best done on an empty stomach in the first 4 hours after sunrise. If you can follow up this massage with mild steam for a few minutes, that would be a cherry on top. I also highly recommend using lavender essential oil on your wrist or pillow before bedtime to help you unwind and heal. Say a strict no to cold and raw foods.
Cleansing after this feels like a natural go-to. However, Ayurveda does not advocate universal cleanses. One man’s bread can easily be another’s poison. Ayurvedic principles state that each person heals and cleanses differently. It depends on your body and the symptoms you are experiencing. The following guidelines will help you to identify which one of the three categories your symptoms may fall in to with suggested cleanses. Depending on your willpower and need, I recommend following the cleanse for 3-7 days.
Which one of these are you experiencing?
Extreme Dryness, Gas, Bloating and/or Constipation
If you feel like there is a little windstorm going on inside you that may possibly also be drying your skin and insides – You need castor oil, my friend. Fry one pinch of dried ginger in one table spoon of Castor oil, cool it down a bit and consume it with a half a cup of hot water or hot milk before bed time. Expect to spend some time on that toilet next morning without feeling alarmed. The goal is to get the unwanted doshas* out and regulate that windstorm. The Ahar to go along with this is warm dal chaval, lentil soups, warm stir-fries. Preferably everything should be cooked in ghee and spiced. Avoid dry foods like khakra and cookies as well as cold foods. Skipping dinner would not be a bad idea.
Acidity, heartburn, Acne and/or Burning Stools
Now this part of the population is often seen visiting the toilet frequently, but all that food on vacation could have created a little furnace inside leading to the symptoms mentioned above. You can soak one spoon of Triphala* and black raisins in a half a cup of boiled water and keep it overnight. Blend this mixture with your hands or a fork first thing in the morning and consume it, without thinking about the taste. Again, this will cool down your body and take your doshas out, so the toilet may be your best friend in the morning too. Once you’ve had a bowel movement, you can have a warm class of milk with some cardamom or rose jam (gulkand). Rice conjee and non spicy foods are advised on the cleanse days. Avoid fried foods, junk and yogurt.
Heaviness, lethargy and probable with coating on the tongue
Now these folks are probably constipated too and feel a strong sense of heaviness in the stomach as well as lethargy setting in. If you’re one of these, you need some fasting my friend. I would advise going on a thin mung dal (twice a day only) diet. You can use a mild ghee tadka with cumin and hing. Add powdered coriander, dried ginger, roasted cumin and saindhav salt to it. If this does not satiate you, you can add a little bit of rice to this from day 2. If this does not make you feel lighter, take Hingvasthik* churna after your day time mung soup.
Dont’s during the cleanse
Do not get fooled that fruits or vegetable juices will help you. They may make you feel lighter in the short term as they literally weigh nothing but they will hurt your Agni and lower your digestive flame in the long run. Agni always likes warm and cooked. Also, say no to social events for at least 3 days. The world will still be waiting when you present yourself post your cleanse, hopefully fresh and new.
Also, if you fall into two of the three categories – you can easily combine the cleanses.
Agni – The digestive fire in the stomach primarily responsible for metabolism and identification of nutrients and waste. Call it the controller of metabolism and nutrient-waste management.
Doshas – In this context – toxic, waste material.
Ahar – Food or consumption items
Triphala – A combination of three herbs that can dry excess fluids and cool your body by purging out waste. Available at all pharmacies.
Hingvasthik – A strong herb that kindles your fire and boosts up your digestion.
Please do not consume Ayurvedic herbs on a regular basis without consulting an experienced Practitioner. When taken for longer periods of time, they can interfere with constitutional balance.