This month, Dr. Suhas answers questions around cleansing and exercise.
Question 1: If I Eat Healthily, Do I Need a Cleanse?
Dr. Suhas: In short, YES! According to Ayurveda, we classify cleansers into three main categories.
The first category, toxic cleansers, includes people who make poor dietary choices, such as eating fast food often or lots of processed foods, drinking alcohol daily, and/or smoking daily. In addition, this category also includes people who are surrounded by environmental toxins, such as working at power plants or in buildings with chemicals or even surrounded by high electromagnetic fields (EMF) activity. The American Cancer Society says that up to 90 percent of cancers are environmental. Lastly, people who lead sedentary lifestyles fall into this first category. People who have desk jobs with long hours or those that don't exercise or are unable to do so. This group needs cleansing on a regular basis, at least every other month, if not every month!
The second category is the mildly toxic cleansers. I would say this is the majority of today's population. This includes people who are aware of exercise and diet but don’t devote the necessary time and effort into it. They eat relatively clean but still enjoy a drink or junk food occasionally. They are able to exercise and sweat but sit behind a screen for 6-8 hours a day. This category needs to cleanse about once a quarter. A short 1- to 3-day cleanse is all that is needed to get this group back on track.
Lastly, there are your healthy cleansers, people who still need to cleanse but maybe only a couple of times a year. They eat very clean and don’t drink, smoke, or eat processed foods. They can manage their stress effectively and dedicate time to exercise and wellness. They lead an active lifestyle and understand the power of being outside in nature. These are the people who only need to cleanse about 1-2 times a year! Ideally, at the turn of the seasons, fall and spring, is the best time as our physiology is undergoing a natural detoxification.
We all need to cleanse, purify, and reboot our mind-body system.
Question 2: Is It Good to Do a Castor Oil Cleanse Every 3 Months? Why?
Dr. Suhas: Absolutely! Castor oil is a very gentle laxative because, at the end of the day, it is plant-based. So unlike other laxatives, such as senna or saline enemas, it is still lubricating and nourishing to the colon. It also doesn't have the same rubber-band effect that other laxatives have that might back you up after a flush. Castor oil is also very good at drawing out any excess heat from the body. It is great for people who have any sort of gastric inflammation or bouts of chronic inflammation in the lower half of the GI tract.
Every three months or once a quarter is the perfect time to perform a castor oil cleanse because the toxins are still in your digestive system (they have not yet disseminated from the GI tract into the bloodstream and traveled to other parts of the body). This happens about every 4-5 months, and if you can prevent that from happening, you are able to use castor oil as a preventative measure to combat any imbalances or disorders. However, the quantity of castor oil varies with your age, weight, and body type.
Question 3: Is it OK to Exercise Late in the Evening (I Go to the Gym Around 8 p.m.)?
Dr. Suhas: While it is recommended that you should exercise in the early morning as a rule of thumb, there are certainly exceptions to this rule! The reason early morning exercises are preferred in Ayurveda is because of the time of day that is associated with the Kapha dosha. Between 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. is usually a heavier and more dull time period for a lot of people. So, by exercising at this time, you are able to cleanse and reduce some of the sluggishness as a result of your stagnant sleep from the last 7-8 hours. You are left feeling energized and invigorated.
However, if you are eating your dinner early enough (before 6:00 p.m.) and do not have difficulty falling asleep or winding down after late exercise, it is certainly an option! You are still in a Kapha stage, so it does help with grounding and tissue formation, as long as you are doing balanced exercise.
One of the most important factors is not to eat anything heavy after a late exercise session. This will trigger your digestive response and create more imbalance down the road. It is also not a good idea to work out later in the day if you have a difficult time winding down. I usually recommend lighter exercises such as yoga, Pilates, and light weights for late night because it does not trigger an inflammatory response that will keep you awake at night and hinder you from the recovery that undeniably takes place when you sleep.
Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar is a world-renowned Ayurvedic physician and medical astrologer from a family of traditional Vedic healers in India. He holds a B.A. in Ayurvedic medicine and completed a three-year residency as an M.D. (doctorate in Ayurvedic internal medicine) at the prestigious Pune University in India.
Dr. Suhas is a compassionate healer and expert clinician who directs the Ayurvedic Healing and Integrative Wellness Clinic in Northern California. As a sought-after speaker and lecturer, he also travels throughout the world teaching courses in Ayurveda, training doctors, and providing Ayurvedic consultations for thousands of patients.
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