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Should you cleanse or build your body this season?

It’s about this time of year the air gets a little dryer, the days shorter, and the weather cooler. Many of us intuitively start gravitating towards more building foods. Quick Review: Cleansing types of foods: leafy greens, raw fruits and veggies, lower fat, lemons and limes, lightly poaching, steaming, and boiling Building types of foods: cooked foods, dietary fat like nuts/seeds and their butters, dietary protein, cooking, baking, and roasting This time of year is a brilliant time to enjoy building foods like squashes (the delicata still reigns Queen in my world), roots, sturdy greens, and savory protein. But sometimes we enter the Fall season feeling a little congested and something in us may crave “cleansing” not “building.” Eating habits like consuming too much protein without enough dietary fiber, having high intakes of sugar or processed carbohydrates as well as patterns of overeating and binge eating are known to back up the system a bit. You may notice bloating, sluggish bowels, skin eruptions, etc, and perhaps you’re craving a little extra boost to help move things along. Without launching yourself into some rigorous dietary protocol, why not consider a few nutritional tips that I’ve learned along the way? Get the best of both worlds and add these cleansing strategies into your building diet: 1.) Apples – although tart apples are best, any local, seasonal apple will do. Apples contain pectin, thought to purge excess heat from the body (says ayurvedic teacher, John Douillard). Thanks to Mother Nature, these are strategically in season post-summer, to help our bodies move excess heat out (which can overly dry the body in the winter months). Eat enough apples, and expect those bowels to be moving! Have a couple a day. 2.) Beets. Specifally raw beets. Beets help thin the bile (sluggish, thick bile leads to sluggish elimination). For real food therapy, try eat one beet per day but grating one and adding in a little lemon juice, spicy mustard, or mashed avocado. (The third is by far my favorite) 3.) Eat some raw veggies. Adding a side salad or some slices of raw cucumber to your cooked meals is an easy way to do this. Raw veggies are naturally cleansing, like little brooms in the digestive system that help move things along. 4.) Eat flaxseeds and chia seed. Both keep bile moving and the gelatinous texture these take on when soaked soothes the digestive tract and moves things along. Same goes for aloe vera leaf, which you can find at your local tienda Mexicana. Consider the “adding in” method. Eat how you normally eat and simply add in apples, raw beets, and a side of raw veggies here and there. You might like the feeling of doing something mentioned above as a simple and practical way to be an advocate for your body’s well-being! Wishing you a cozy and sane journey into the heart of our Fall season. With love, Laura

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