“When we cleanse in the spring, we burn off winter, kapha, water and earth,” says Karuna Sabnani, naturopathic doctor and founder of Karuna Naturopathic Healthcare in New York City. “This is why we have the urge to eat lighter and detoxify.” As we shift into the new season, Dr. Sabnani recommends eating more cooked greens, drinking cleansing soups, and reducing heavy, toxic foods, including fried foods, saturated fats, dairy, sugar, soda, alcohol, and grains. And if you’ve overindulged recently, try a two-week detox to reset your body.
1. Eat bitter foods.
Bitter foods have cleansing properties for your blood and liver. They cut through that “stuck” feeling and ease congestion. Dr. Sabnani keeps bitter greens around all the time and eats them both cooked and raw. A few options are endives, radicchio, bitter melon, daikon radish, and dandelion greens.
See also How Bitter Foods Balance Your Diet and Your Doshas
2. Drink hot liquids.
Drink only hot liquids during the day to aid in the burning off of kapha, starting with hot water in the morning. Her favorite herbal teas are nettle, dandelion, fennel, and mint. If you run colder, you can make ginger tea by steeping fresh ginger in water for 20 minutes, draining, and drinking.
3. Add honey to your hot water.
When used properly, honey scrapes ama (toxins) from the inside of the body, according to Ayurveda. If you don’t have major Pitta or Vata imbalances or a ragweed or honey allergy, local raw honey can offer great natural allergy relief, as it delivers allergens in a small dose over time and can create natural immunity. For the most impact, get started a few months before allergy season. Add 1/2 tablespoon to warm (not hot) water in the morning between 6–10 am and drink.
4. Eat steamed vegetables and bone broth.
Make a bone broth from chicken, beef, or pork bones. Feel free to freeze some to use later as well. You can add vegetables to this broth, blend the veggies into the broth for a pureé, or sip on the broth on the side while eating your veggies. Dr. Sabnani recommends including a variety of steamed veggies and broth. Choose:1 from a root family, 1 from a green family, 1 from the cruciferous family, 1 from the bitter family. For example: Carrots, broccoli, kale, and endive.
See also Ask the Expert: Is There a Vegetarian “Bone” Broth?
5. Watch your salt and oil intake.
Use oils only after you steam your veggies. Use pink salt to season your food for it's high mineral content.
6. Increase herb intake.
Use spices like coriander, fennel, turmeric, cumin, and fresh mint. You can add powdered spices directly to your veggies in the steamer. Dr. Sabnani also suggests seasoning with fresh lime.
See also Rejuvenate with a 4-Day Ayurvedic Fall Cleanse