by Andrea Sarjeant, Holistic Nutritionist

Hearty Veggie Stew RecipeAlthough it may sound counterintuitive, autumn is a great time to cleanse. Next to spring, fall is one of the best times to cleanse because seasonal changes are a natural time of transformation. In the fall, we see the trees shed their leaves to prepare for the coming winter and we can have our own transformation, too.

We are lucky here in Ontario as we have four distinct seasons. I am a personal fan of cleansing each season and I find that it contributes to my overall health and well being.

How does a fall cleanse work?

Spiritually, fall is a great time to let go of things you no longer need in order to prepare for the winter.

In alternative medicine, seasons are linked to organs. A holistic fall cleanse will work with your lungs and your large intestine. These organs are connected to skin and breathing problems, such as acne, eczema and asthma, which typically worsen in the colder weather.

A fall cleanse must also be warming and immune boosting (and for this reason, I’m not a fan of juice cleanses in the colder months!). I instead prefer to load up on seasonal foods that a) promote cleansing and b) warm me up.

How can a cleanse help your health concerns?

If you suffer from digestive concerns (such as bloating, constipation, acid-reflux or nausea), aches and pains, excess mucous, allergies, skin problems, female cycle disturbances (such as PMS or irregular periods), dark under eye circles or sensitivity to chemicals or fragrances, it may be time to start a cleanse.

  • Digestive concerns – a cleanse can help to relieve digestive concerns, such as bloating, constipation, acid-reflux or nausea. One of the reasons for this is because you will be eating foods that have a lower potential to cause allergies. Food allergies play a big role in digestive upset.
  • Skin problems – because skin outbreaks and rashes are so tied to our gut and digestion, eliminating allergen-causing foods can give our skin a chance to clear up. The more we nurture our digestive process, the better our skin will look.
  • Cycle disturbances – symptoms of PMS can be reduced following a cleanse. Oftentimes many of the foods that we crave when we are in the throes of PMS are the ones that are contributing the most to our symptoms. Many symptoms of PMS can be related to either a nutrient deficiency, excess of certain foods in the diet, and hormonal imbalance. Focusing on eating a nutrient-rich and cleansing diet can help to reduce cravings, balance hormones and reduce symptoms of PMS.
  • Sensitivity to colours and fragrances – in alternative medicine, we explain it this way: think of your body as a barrel. Each time you eat a food that does not agree with you, is high in toxins (from pesticides), or is consumed in large amounts, or if you expose yourself to chemicals on a regular basis (even personal care products contain many chemicals), you are contributing to your overall chemical burden. When your body has had enough, you will develop sensitivities, either to foods or to chemicals in your environment, such as fragrances. A cleanse will help to reduce this body burden and symptoms of sensitivity.
  • Dark circles under your eyes – dark circles often mean that your liver is having a tough time eliminating built-up toxins. A cleanse will help to give your liver a break so it can more efficiently detoxify.

Benefits of cleansing:

  • More energy
  • Clearer skin
  • Better sleep
  • Fewer cravings
  • Better digestion
  • Clearer thinking
  • Better immunity

If you’re interested in cleansing with me this fall, be in touch.