Spring brings with it the energy of renewal and regeneration, making it the perfect time of year to do a gentle weekend-long “detox retreat.” There is no better way to bid farewell to the stress and indulgences of the winter holidays than to set your intentions toward self-nourishment for the year ahead.

Why Detox?

  • Give your body a break from inflammatory substances such as sugar, alcohol and caffeine
  • Reset your taste buds and kick cravings
  • Refresh your mind and body
  • Recommit to health-supporting practices

Detox Tips

  • Choose a weekend over which you can retreat from work, social obligations and technology (cell phones, computers, television).
  • Several days before your detox weekend starts, begin to eliminate processed foods, sweets, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol.

Simple Weekend Detox Retreat

  • Upon rising, drink a glass of warm water with half a lemon squeezed into it to lubricate your digestive system. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids (water, herbal teas, broth) over the weekend.
  • Have a simple breakfast of oatmeal with fruit (recipe below).
  • Prepare kitchari (recipe below) to have for both lunch and dinner. Kitchari is an ayurvedic recipe that is easy on digestion and is said to balance and nourish the body. If you get hungry between meals, snack on some fresh fruit.
  • Treat yourself with a bath or sauna, plenty of rest, meditation, journaling and other relaxing activities.
  • Include 30-60 minutes of enjoyable activity on each day of your detox. Yoga, tai chi, walking in nature and gentle stretching are great options.

Simple Oatmeal

One Serving

½ cup dry rolled oats
1½ cups pure water
¼ cup raisins
½-1 cup fresh apple, apricot or pear, chopped

Optional Warming Spices

¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon cardamom powder
⅛ teaspoon ginger powder

Combine all ingredients (including spices) in a small saucepan. Bring to a light simmer over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until water has been absorbed and fruit is soft. Cool and serve.

Kitchari

Makes 2 large or 3 small servings

½ cup split mung dal (find in bulk at grocery store)
1 cup white basmati rice
2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
1½ teaspoons coriander powder
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon fennel powder
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
6 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups vegetables, chopped (asparagus, carrots, celery, squash, greens are good choices — aim for at least one green and one orange vegetable)

Soak the split mung dal overnight (or for at least four hours). Drain soaking water, then combine with the rice in a colander and rinse the mixture until water is clear. In a large saucepan or pot, warm the ghee over medium heat. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, fennel and ginger, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the rice and dal mixture and continue to saute for a few minutes. Add the water, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir in salt, then simmer for about 20 minutes. Add vegetables and return mixture to a simmer for an additional 20 minutes or until the dal is soft and the mixture resembles a stew. Cool and serve.

— By Julia Tobin, Bastyr dietetic intern, and Amy Frasieur, MS, RD, core faculty in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.