Sattvic Diet In Cleansing
Ayurveda is not a vegetarian or vegan system inherently. Quite often it gets taught that way as it is coupled with the yogic or Hindu lineages that are vegetarian or vegan. In many ayurvedic lineages meat is used during detoxification, or instances of convalescence or severe digestive compromise. In general, however, a vegan sattvic diet is adequate for short periods of detoxification for most types and imbalances.
A Sattvic diet, which ayurveda does teach is ideal for a happy state of mind and body, is predominantly composed of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits and nuts, with small amounts of dairy.
During many cleanses, we will avoid dairy except for ghee. Eatting as many home cooked, or at least consciously prepared meals as possible aids detoxification. If you work a lot, and cooking at home is difficult, learn some of the restaurants in your area that can help you. I can think of several restaurants that I go to, where I literally feel as though I am going into their home when I visit. However, try not to make a habit of restaurant dining. Cooking at home connects you to your medicine. There is no better habit of health then healthy food. If you want to change your lifestyle the kitchen is the best place to start.
General Detoxification Guidelines
Eliminate: Dairy, meat, processed, frozen, pre-packaged, old, dead foods and stimulants. If a daily coffee drinker avoid headache by gradual reduction. (Although a little caffeine in the morning is ok for many, it should be taken without dairy or sugar). Add a dash of cardamom to help nullify the affects of the caffeine.
Eat only: whole grains in their whole form (quinoa, brown rice, white rice, millet, etc), vegetables, beans, and fruits. The idea is to eat a whole food diet as much as possible. Bring fruits to snack on, cook soups, cook as much as possible. If you need to modify the fast, you can add some flat breads like sprouted grain tortilla wraps and homemade chapattis.
Generally eat foods in their whole form (potato vs. French fries). If you start to feel yourself detoxing to fast or feel ill, you may want to eat a piece of flat bread. You are responsible for self-pacing. Raw honey, agave, and mesquite powder are good alternatives to sugar. Use high quality oils. Enjoy fruits and vegetables that are in season, visit your local fruit and vegetable farmers markets on the weekends. A great way to support your local farming community, and know your food sources.
Soak your nuts over night to increase their digestibility. Sprouting nuts activates their enzymes, and increases nutrient content. Or, slightly roast and spice your nuts. Spicing nuts can make them much easier for vatas and kaphas to fully utilize. Nuts and seeds should be fresh. Avoid peanuts as most have been highly contaminated by bacteria, molds & yeasts. Homemade nut milks are fine.
All beans are fine; vatas may need to use additional spices. Beans can be astringent, and their dry nature can aggravate vata constitution. Hing, cumin, and ginger are just a few spices that can help. Definitely soak your beans overnight.
Drink pure spring water, vegetable broths, and fresh vegetable juices.