Lots of us dive into January wanting to overhaul our health.
A strict all juice fast, all raw cleanse, Master Cleanse or similar during the coldest part of the year isn’t doing our bodies (or our hearts) any favors.
Our full moon juice feast will explore the best ways to include green juices this time of year, how to choose foods that are warming, grounding and support our health during the winter, and how to relight our creative fires when the cold makes us want to hibernate.
A few things you’ll need:
1. A basic green juice recipe.
For one quart of green juice:
3 – 4 celery stalks
2 big fistfuls of greens (I often opt for kale, but you can play with other greens as well)
1 head of romaine
2 cucumbers (if they are organic, you can keep the peel)*
1 pear or apple
1 lemon (peeled for most juicers)
(*If you tend towards coldness, drop it to one cucumber and opt for more warming greens instead. If you have any thyroid issues, please discuss this with your health care provider before adding cruciferous vegetables in large amounts.)
Consider adding mint or ginger as well. This time of year, it’s nice to let the vegetables be room temperature before juicing. If you have a tendency toward coldness, either a Vata or Kapha constitution in Ayurvedic terms, wait to have your green juice midday, when the digestive fires are at their highest and your body has had a chance to warm up.
2. A morning elixir.
Hot water with lemon is a great way to go; I often add a piece of ginger and some cayenne as well. If you’ve been feeling the winter blahs, dandelion root tea is a wonderful choice and promotes healthy liver function. (Brow looking a little more furrowed than usual? You could be overtaxing your liver, and overdoing the sugar.) Yogi Teas make a wide variety of teas for various health support issues; Egyptian Licorice and Skin Detox are both wonderful. Genmaicha tea is a morning favorite for me; Genmaicha Matcha has slightly more caffeine than Genmaicha Sencha, if that is a consideration one way or the other. If going without coffee for three days will make you murderous, have a small cup. If you can manage without it, give yourself a break. There are as many studies extolling the virtues of coffee as there are claiming it’s the Devil’s brew. A bigger issue than the coffee itself is what goes in it. If coffee is really just serving as a vehicle for milk or cream and sugar, it might be time to re-think your morning routine.
3. A few great soups.
If you are easily cold and scattered (or a more Vata constitution), a soup focused on root vegetables and warming spices like this carrot soup will help with balance and grounding.
If winter has you wishing you could hibernate even more than normal, and you have been fighting a head cold all winter (i.e. a more Kapha constitution) a soup that has plenty of garlic and warming greens like kale will help get you moving.
If you tend to get overheated when you’re cooped up inside and then flushed and irritable when you head out in the cold (or a more Pitta constitution), a soup with plenty of liquid in it and soothing legumes like this one will help you find a more even keel.
For everyone, a focus on warming, grounding foods this time of year is a good thing. We crave sweet tastes and warm hearty foods when we’re cold, but the sweet tastes of root vegetables, winter squashes and whole grains meet those needs without a ton of sugar. Also: get enough fat. Coconut and coconut oil, sesame, pistachios, walnuts and chestnuts are all wonderfully warming fat sources.
4. Willingness to take a break from sugar and processed food.
This is a juice “feast.” We are looking at what to add rather than what to take away. The reality is, there isn’t one way of eating that works best for everyone. Some people thrive on a completely plant-based diet; some don’t. You can find studies that advocate for or against pretty much any whole food you can think of. That said, we firmly believe the following to be true: our bodies like plants—it doesn’t like sugar and chemicals.
So many of us look at doing cleanses or detoxes as a point of pride over all the things they are “depriving” ourselves of for a few days. The point of taking this time is something completely different. This is about treating our body and soul to what it deserves. Some of the detoxes have that quasi-sexy edge to them; sometimes that’s green juice, and sometimes that’s chocolate—but a giant list of ingredients that we need a chemistry degree to sort out? We all deserve better. Our body deserves real food that makes it feel good. Our bodies (and hearts) deserve for us to slow down and take the time to make a meal, instead of shoveling down pre-packaged chemical laden crap.
We are worth it.
5. A daily practice.
We all have them, some intentionally and some by default. For the next few days, let your daily practices be intentional. If you journal every day, treat that time as sacred and truly savor it. If you have a daily yoga practice, choose an intention for the week that includes this idea of making life juicier. Too often we see a focus on what we are trying to omit from our lives, and people defining themselves by what they don’t do, instead of what they embrace.
If you have daily practices that you’d like to let go of this year, notice them when they crop up. If there’s a part of your day that always makes you grumpy, notice it fully and think of how you could change this daily practice.
Consider ways you can add gratitude as a daily practice; we cannot take away the darkness, but through the little blessings we give, we can add a tremendous amount of light.
If you want some more tips on getting started with juicing, and some inspiration on how to channel that extra creative juice on to the page, here are all of our juicy posts in one spot:
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: elephant archives