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Ayurvedic Fall Cleanse – Geek Turned Athlete

Ayurvedic Fall Cleanse


This week (starting Tuesday) I’m doing a very ancient form of cleansing that is called Panchakrma. It is often used in Ayurvedic healing which deals with the measures of healthful living during the entire life span and it’s various phases. These phases are linked to our doyshas (very interesting if you wanted to do more research!).

Panchakrma is the refined practice of cleansing and detoxifying the body. Many “yogis” practice this cleanse every fall to prevent disease or address a specific health problem. The primary goal is to eliminate “ama” which is the undigested food and/or toxins from the body that will eventually aggravate the physiological inner workings and blocks the anatomical structures of the body. It is thought that the build up of the this ama will lead to disease. The elimination of ama leads to healing and rejuvenation at both a physical and emotional level.

Why the Fall?  The organizers of this cleanse say that this is the time of year when things start drying out and exfoliating (leaves falling off trees).  Supposedly, that makes it the perfect time to cleanse.  Okay, I will somewhat agree with that.

I decided to do this cleanse this month because I’m not marathon or triathlon training right now, and quite personally I feel like I need to be “cleaned out.” I have made it no secret on this blog that I have constipation issues. I thought that I got it all fixed when I performed an elimination diet on myself and figured out that I had a gluten intolerance. Well, although I’ve cut out the gluten, the “irregularity” is coming back. Maybe it is stress? I have no clue. Right now, I’m willing to try anything to correct it.

I started going to a yoga studio a couple of weeks ago, and my yoga studio is promoting this cleanse. It is put on by a couple who have traveled all over the world including a few years learning about Ayurveda in India.

Basically, the group doing the cleanse meet-up 4 times this week. We had our first intro meeting this Sunday night. I contemplated skipping out on this meeting because I felt like crap still from my strep throat, but considering I already paid for it (hey, I’m cheap), I went. We went over the background to Ayurvedic healing, everything the cleanse would entail, then had a short cooking demonstration followed by some eating. It was really interesting and intense.

We were given all of these culinary herbs to help with the cleanse.


The cleanse officially started on Tuesday and goes through Saturday.

Tuesday-Friday (The Oleation)

Internal Oleation: This consists of “lubricating” the insides taking either ghee (clarified butter) or flax seed oil on an empty stomach in the morning. This increases from 2T to 8-10T from Tuesday to Friday. I’m not really looking forward to Friday!

External Oleation: Massaging warm sesame oil into skin from head to toe every morning. This is also thought to stimulate the release of toxins from the body.

Mono-Diet: This is NOT a starvation cleanse this week! I will be eating kitchardi (mung beans, brown rice, a multitude of spices) with balancing tea or homemade ginger tea. This gives the body a break from having to digest different items. I’m not quite sure how this is supposed to be good for me, but it is only for a few days, and I’m able to add veggies to the top and eat as much as I want so that makes me happy. I don’t think I could deal with a fast that lasts for more than one day.

Herbs: Oh there are tons of herbs to be taken before each meal.

I can also eat figs, dates, or raisins in between meals if I get hungry. I have been utilizing this!!

We have our second group meeting for meditation and questions about the cleanse on Thursday.


This is what I had for lunch today. I mixed some pumpkin into the kitchardi and topped with avocado.

Saturday (Purgation)

I still have the external massage, but instead of the morning flax seed oil and kitchardi, I take 4-6 T of castor oil in warm water. I’ve never taken castor oil, and this freaks me out just a little. I heard that it will clean you out! I need it, trust me, but I don’t know how intense it will be!

We have a one hour meditation for our 3rd group meet-up on Saturday, but many people don’t make it to that because they are on the toilet the entire day. I’m hoping that won’t be the case for me, but you never know.

Then, after fasting all day, I am to finish will a rice gruel. Sounds great, right? haha. Not really. I’m always willing to try new things, and we will see how refreshed I feel next week b/c of this!

The 4th meeting will be on Sunday to close out the cleanse, answer questions, etc.

Ayurveda is so much more than I have explained here.  Research it more if you have time!


Keep in mind that I am not a dietitian, and I’m simply sharing with you my experiences since this is MY blog. Do your own research to find out whether this is good for you or not. I think it is sad that I have to add this “disclaimer,” but that is life.

Have you ever tried something like this? Any advice on castor oil? I’ve never taken it before, and I’m quite frightened of the results!

{ 22 comments… add one }

  • Erica October 13, 2010, 3:16 pm

    Sounds interesting. To be honest, I’ve always been afraid of anything called a cleanse. But, as you know, I also have digestive issues…so I wouldn’t be against giving this a try. I’m eager to hear what you think!

  • Lisa October 13, 2010, 3:17 pm

    I have not tried it but I’ve read about it a lot. I’ve tried different kind of spiritual cleanses and I did a fast one time (not to lose weight). I don’t follow an Ayurvedic diet, do you? A good friend of mine does and she’s done this cleanse and swears by it!

  • genesis October 13, 2010, 3:51 pm

    wow, that sounds really intense and interesting at the same time. i hope tyhis flushes out the system for you. ive always wanted to try a cleanse but then freaked out about not being able to eat and practically subsisting on fluids…um yeah not my thing.

  • Callie October 13, 2010, 6:16 pm

    Oohhhh girl. I had to take castor oil before a colonoscopy I had last year. SO not fun. It tastes DISGUSTING. I recommend taking it while standing over the sink because honestly, it made me gag and I thought I was going to give it back. Also, stay close to a bathroom. Once it hits, it hits! I know this is all TMI, but you asked for it! :)

  • Kacy October 14, 2010, 5:32 am

    That sounds really interesting. I think you’re doing it for the right reasons and truly hope it helps with your problems! The only cleansing I’ve ever done was juice fasting, and I hated it.

    • Nicole October 14, 2010, 6:17 am

      I’ve done that too. I believe that I lasted a whole 5 hours. :)

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 14, 2010, 9:17 am

    Cleanses always scare me, but I can understand the reasoning behind them. Heck, my body could use a good cleansing out because I know its got some backlog. 😉

  • Graze With Me October 14, 2010, 9:59 am

    Yikes! I’m really intrigued by what you are doing and I love trying new things. It’s not like one week will affect you that much so I say more power to you and good luck. Can’t wait to hear about it!

  • tricia October 14, 2010, 12:04 pm

    Very interested to see how it works. Thanks for sharing!

  • Courtney October 14, 2010, 9:07 pm

    I am soooo interested to hear how this goes!! I stumbled across your blog just at the right time – right when its about to get all – messy!

  • Sand Sock Girl October 15, 2010, 1:11 am

    Wow this is an interesting stuff! I am very eager to know the outcome. I badly need some cleansing too!!!

  • Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather October 15, 2010, 10:43 am

    I’ve never tried anything like that before but can’t wait to read more about your experience.

  • Alexa October 16, 2010, 7:06 pm

    This is ridiculous. You are not dirty and you do not need to be “cleansed,” least of all with unscientific voodoo.

    • Nicole October 16, 2010, 8:46 pm

      Hmmm. Thank you for your comment and opinion. I don’t mind when people disagree with me. Do you practice yoga? Have you had stomach problems before?

      I never said I was “dirty.” I am just a little constipated. I hardly eat dairy or processed foods. I’m not quite sure why my stomach is like this, but I try to be a little open minded and try new things. I don’t consider this “voodoo” especially since it has been working for thousands of years in India. This cleanse may/may not work for me, but so far conventional medicine has been more “voodoo” like to me since it has NOT worked.

      • Alexa October 18, 2010, 2:34 pm

        Come on now, this is absurd. Ayurveda has been in India for thousands of years – and people in India have been dying painful, premature deaths in India for years. What was the average life expectancy, and quality of life, during those years when ayurveda was the primary form of “medicine”?
        The stuff that these con artists have led you to believe is incredible. Your stomach does not need to “take a break” any more than your heart or your lungs do, and starving yourself (yes, what you describe is starvation) does nothing beneficial to the body. The body can detoxify itself just fine without you using potent laxatives (castor oil) and depriving it of food; That’s why you have a liver and kidneys.
        The sad thing is that people like you, who will gladly fall into any well-marketed trap, are the kind of people who died taking ephedra because they thought it was a magical Eastern cure-all. Just because herbs or mythology come from the Eastern hemisphere doesn’t mean they’re valid or useful.
        I’m commenting part out of concern for you, and part out of anger at the people who are exploiting you. I understand that you want to do something good for your body, but this isn’t it. It’s good for the wallets of the quacks selling this nonsense, but nothing else.

        • Shells September 8, 2012, 10:52 am

          I’ve never been to this site before, but was looking for more info on the Ayurvedia fall diet or cleanse. Alexa, I think you’re jumping to conclusons. She never said she was dirty, nor is it a starvation diet. There is plenty of protein and nutrients in beans and rice, and it looks like the blogger was adding some fruit and veggies as well. We do eat a lot of crap – ie, processed foods, things that some people have trouble digesting like wheat and milk. The simplified diet just removes those elements from your body for a short time. Have you ever had food allergies? I have friends who do, and their doctors often suggested eliminating certain items from their diets for a bit, and then reintroducing one by one to find the effect. There is nothing wrong with simplifying. I have a relative who just did the Ayurvedic cleanse, and it did help her figure out that grain gluten was contributing to her joint pain. It’s not voodoo, it’s common sense. There are no odd herbs being taken beyond what you might cook with, to my knowledge. Nor did the blogger say this was replacing her primary medicine – it’s simply about food choice.

  • Tea October 17, 2010, 3:28 pm

    Good luck Nicole. I know how hard this has been on you.

    • Nicole October 17, 2010, 3:31 pm

      Thank you. 😉

  • kate October 17, 2010, 6:04 pm

    Ive been reading up a lot about Ayurvedic practices lately – cant wait to see how your “voodoo” 😉 goes. Hopefully youll find some relief and it will be a great learning experience.

  • Pure2raw twins October 18, 2010, 5:49 am

    Thank you for sharing this! I love hearing about cleanses and what people do, and what they think. As I mentioned to you on twitter, we have done a few different types of cleanses in the past. Although we never really completed any, but I do think if used right they can do wonders for the body! I hope you get some great results!!

  • jeanne-louise September 28, 2011, 9:28 am

    Where did you find a group that organized the cleanse? I’d love to do it with support from others, and they gave you all the ingredients, what a bonus!

    • Nicole September 28, 2011, 10:37 am

      I found it through my yoga studio here in Spokane. If you are in Spokane, I can give the contact info. Let me know!


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