Juice fasting and intermittent fasting have become very popular these days. Juice fasting can be very effective in curing or reducing the symptoms of colds and the flu. It can also help us to heal from various chronic health problems. Juicing in the warm summer season is very common and easy. Each year, we get the same questions from people asking about how to juice cleanse and juice fast in the cold season. Yes, juicing can be practiced all year round, but in the cold season, it is best if we follow specific recipes and procedures.

Juicing is one of the best ways to ensure that the body gets a high dose of vitamins and phytonutrients, which most people in the West need to improve in their diet. But is juicing for everybody, and can it be done any time of the year? To answer those questions, Ayurveda, the ancient healing system of yoga, can be very instructive. Juicing is practiced to detox the body of unwanted toxins, which everyone needs occasionally. But are all juices equal, and can we juice any time of the year? According to Ayurveda, fall and parts of winter are the vata season, which increases the experience of cold and “wind” in our bodies. Traditionally, juice cleanses are not recommended during this time, especially not for people who also have a thin, agile, and energetic vata constitution. During the cold season, our digestive system tends to weaken, and raw juices may make us bloated and tired. Does that mean it is not good to juice in the wintertime? You can still juice, but it is best to follow some essential insights from Ayurveda. One of the profound lifestyle wisdom of Ayurveda is that “doing the opposite” will balance and eventually cure us. This insight is as simple as it is ingenious.

If you are overweight, eat light foods. If you are cold, drink and eat warm foods. If you tend to skip meals, eat three meals a day regularly. If you are stressed and restless, meditate and practice yoga daily. Another critical insight of Ayurveda is that what we eat and how we live is more effective in healing us than simply taking herbs. Since it was a wrong lifestyle that caused someone’s fatty liver in the first place (a problem that affects up to 30 percent of the American population), we need to change our lifestyle to heal the liver properly. Simply taking liver-cleansing herbs such as milk thistle, dandelion, turmeric, and ginger will certainly help. But it is more effective if we reduce or give up those high-caloric, high-fat foods—such as refined sugar, chips, pizza, and fried meats—which caused our liver problems in the first place.

Suppose we start a juice fast or incorporate juicing into our new and improved diet. In that case, we will be even more effective in increasing our digestive power and health than if we continue eating the same unhealthy foods while hoping a few herbs will do the trick. When the liver is clogged and can no longer optimally perform its many vital functions, it needs an “oil change” in the form of “new” blood. A juice cleanse will vastly improve the quality of our blood by infusing it with alkaline nutrients that are easily digested. This process then allows the liver to rest and detox. If we want to benefit from the fantastic detox and nourishing qualities of juicing in the wintertime as part of a lifestyle change, join us for an upcoming retreat so you can experience all the benefits for yourself.

The best juices for the cold and windy vata season create a warming and calming effect in our body, such as fruits and veggies that reduce blood sugar crashes and nourish all our tissues and herbs that warm us and ignite our digestive fire. Such vegetables and fruits include beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, fennel, apples, and pears. Herbs and spices great in juices and smoothies in the winter are pepper, ginger, cinnamon, fennel, cardamom, chili, and turmeric. While dense greens, like cabbage, celery, and kale, are not recommended, one can mix these in with the veggies mentioned above, fruits, and herbs, plus a tablespoon of lemon juice, to counterbalance their cooling and “drying” effects.

Finally, in the colder seasons, make sure you drink your juice at room temperature. And, for an even slower, more meditative experience, “eat” your juice from a bowl with a spoon. Enjoy!

“Come Cleanse @ Prama!” Check out our Juice Cleanse Retreat schedule @ Prama.org. Our “New Year’s Cleanse” starts in January. Sign up today!


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Ramesh Bjonnes

Ramesh is the Director of the Prama Wellness Center where lifestyle is considered our best medicine. Ramesh is also a writer, yogi and workshop leader. He studied yoga therapy in Nepal and India, Ayurveda at California College of Ayurveda and is a certified yoga detox therapist from the AM Wellness Center in Cebu, Philippines. He has taught workshops in many countries and is the author of four books, including Sacred Body, Sacred Spirit (InnerWorld) and Tantra:The Yoga of Love and Awakening (Hay House India).

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