Juices cleanses are generally customized by the number of days you commit to and the level of intensity of your juices, not your Ayurvedic dosha.
But author Nadya Andreeva wants you to think about how your mind-body constitution plays a role in whether you should go all green juice. Or maybe have a few soups in your day. And whether or not you should even temporarily kick kale (gasp!).
The Ayurvedic expert whose new book—Happy Belly: A Woman’s Guide to Feeling Vibrant, Light, and Balanced—explores the tight relationship between the doshas, eating habits, and overall gut health. “The point of a cleanse is to lighten up the body and rejuvenate digestion,” she says, adding that spring is the perfect time for warming up your juicer, as “new leaves appear and nature is being renewed.”
But like all-things Ayurveda, doshas matter. “Everything should be individualized,” Andreeva explains. Including your cleanse. (So much so that you’ll probably have to whip up her recommendations yourself.)
Don’t know your Ayurvedic dosha? No problem, seek out a Veda (physician), or take the dosha-finder quiz here. Then read on for centuries-old tips to navigating your own very modern juice cleanse.
Wind-like Vatas tend to be lean, agile, and energetic, but when out-of-whack, they’re particularly prone to quick crashes and anxiety issues. That’s why Andreeva recommends that Vatas whip up concoctions rich in fruits and veggies that stave off blood sugar crashes—think beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, fennel, and cucumber. Dense greens, like cabbage, celery, and kale, on the other hand, are not recommended, in part because they can cause gas (and Vatas generally have sensitive digestive systems). So now you know.
For flavoring, try spices like cinnamon, ginger, and tumeric, as well as lemon, which can help counter the “dryness” of green juice, Andreeva says. (Dryness is a characteristic of Vatas, who often have parched skin and hair.)
The so-called “digestive fire” (basically, what breaks down our food, according to Ayurveda) is very strong in hot, intense, goal-oriented Pittas, Andreeva says. As a result, “if they don’t eat at regular periods they get very irritable.” That’s why she recommends a liquid cleanse that isn’t purely juice: “[Have] quinoa or Chia pudding in the morning, followed by two cooling juices between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., with a blended broccoli or zucchini soup for dinner.”
So what’s a cooling juice? Think veggies like cucumbers, asparagus, and broccoli, which help lower inflammation during the middle of the day, when digestive fire is strongest. Add flavor with spices and herbs such as coriander, cilantro, and cardamom, Andreeva says.
Grounded Kaphas are like mythical unicorns who can feel fully energized while cleansing, Andreeva says. That’s because they tend to be very stable and a bit heavier constitution, she explains. Though sweet-by-nature Kaphas are often drawn to equally sweet foods, they feel most balanced eating bitter, astringent, and pungent options. Go for cucumber, celery, kale, broccoli, and cilantro blends, as well as sunflower sprouts and pea shoots. For flavor, try cinnamon, ginger, or cayenne pepper—and avoid sweet fruits like pineapple, pear, and mango. An absolute no-no, according to Andreeva? Smoothies with coconut and banana. Sorry to be a buzzkill!
For all doshas:
If you feel at all bloated while cleansing, Andreeva recommends an abdominal massage with sesame oil, moving your hands in clockwise circles that get bigger, then smaller. In addition, try sitting in a warm bathtub with three spoonfuls of ginger powder. According to Andreeva, both practices will help alleviate any nervous energy that’s collected in the gut. —Jamie McKillop