Fall is a wonderful time to do a detox and let go of the energy of summer and to rid the body of all those fun summer indulgences. People have been detoxing for thousands of years, and by doing a seasonal detox, you can become more in tune with nature and your body. This article from Yoga Journal is a really nice one that explains the concept of detoxing through the Ayurvedic method.
For me personally, the detox isn’t about deprivation or doing a juice fast or anything like that. I decided to use the knowledge of nutrition that I have compiled mentally through the years and do a seasonal detox. There are hundreds of detox plans out there, so even if you don’t have a health background you can research and come up with a similar plan if you so desire, or you could see a nutritionist, Ayurvedic specialist, acupuncturist, or visit a local wellness center for more information on tailoring a plan that works for you.
For me the concept of “seasonal” is very important. I don’t follow a strict Ayurvedic diet, but I have studied many of the principles and I do agree with the concept that there are certain foods that are a good idea to eat during certain times of the year. If you aren’t sure, just Google what produce is seasonal in your area of the country (or world). And fall is such a wonderful season - think pumpkin, butternut squash (acorn squash, the list goes on), dark greens, root vegetables, hearty soups and stews, for example. When I learned this simple concept of eating seasonally, I realized why I crave soups in the fall and winter and hate eating cold salads during those seasons. I recently started making green smoothies and while I really enjoyed them and love the energy and health benefits that they bring, I have realized that this is not something that I can keep up with during the fall and winter months. However, when I do a detox in the spring, I will definitely incorporate green smoothies. And if you are a green juicer or smoothie-maker, and still enjoy them in the fall and winter, more power to you!
Detoxing is something personal to you; your body, food preferences, and the season should be considered. The reason I am doing mine is to feel lighter (both physically and mentally), to have more energy, and to just see how I feel after it is all done. Not that I don't normally eat or feel healthy, but we all have indulgences and I am a human being who enjoys cheese, chocolate, wine, etc., and I would like to give my system a break. Thankfully, my husband is very open minded when it comes to foods and health, so he is doing the detox with me. It is so great to have the support and to have someone go through it with you. We have not done a real detox in quite awhile, so we decided that we are going to do this for just a week to 10 days. If we feel wonderful and amazing at the week mark then we will probably continue for the 10 days. When planning your detox, I think it is so important to not build it up so much in your mind, and to start with something that is manageable, so you don’t get overwhelmed and give up. Maybe just try 3 or 4 days, then a week or maybe 2 weeks. Any more than that can be stressful. Meal and recipe planning is also very important, so you know you will be satisfied and not give up.
Our Detox Plan
No gluten. No dairy, except small amounts of Greek yogurt for health benefits. No meat. No sugar. Stevia and fruit are fine, but nothing with added sugar like dried cranberries, and no honey or agave. No processed foods except all natural packaged or canned soup is okay. Of course no drugs and alcohol. Limited amounts of caffeine - black coffee on a very tired day is fine. Fish and maybe an egg or two are fine. Our detox is pretty simple, and the fact that I designed it to not be so rigid (the black coffee for example) means we will stick to it. There are so many wonderful things we can have, like fruits, vegetables, rice, noodles that are not made out of wheat, quiona, beans, herbs, spices, healthy oils, nuts, almond milk, coconut milk, and much more!
Roasted Butternut Squash Curry with Garbanzo Beans and Coconut Milk
I made this for dinner for the first night of our detox. It is seasonal and hearty, and the butternut squash adds a natural sweetness that goes very nicely with the spices. I served this with black Forbidden Rice, a beautiful aromatic rice, and a small scoop of Greek yogurt on top.
1 butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for sauteeing
sea salt and ground pepper
½ tsp cayenne
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
Small green pepper, jalapeno, or any you prefer, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger root, freshly grated
1 tbsp garam masala (dried curry spice)
1 can lite coconut milk
½ to 1 can tomato paste (of a 6 oz. can)
1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
Chopped fresh cilantro
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel the butternut squash, discard seeds and membranes, and chop into small cubes. In a bowl or right on the baking sheet, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, cayenne, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Bake on a baking sheet in oven for 20 minutes.
2. While the squash is baking, Add olive oil to large saucepan or pot and heat to medium high. Add onions and saute for 2 minutes or until they start to sweat. Add the peppers, garlic, and ginger, and saute for another 3 minutes or so, until the peppers start getting soft. Add the garam masala and mix in. Pour in coconut milk and garbanzo beans. You can add the tomato paste to your taste preference, it's more for the color and thickness of the sauce than adding too much tomato flavor. Stir completely and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer on low.
3. Once the squash is done, mix the pieces right into the curry. You can add any more of the spices, salt, pepper, ginger, and or tomato paste to your taste preference.
4. Serve (over rice and add Greek yogurt if you prefer) and enjoy!