Give Thanks to Your Body With A Gentle Autumn Detox

Give Thanks to Your Body With A Gentle Autumn Detox

Posted by Sonia Bellini on

"Cleansing and detoxing does not equal starvation and deprivation ... When the body-mind is experiencing daily stress from work, relationships, financial struggle, or aggressive dieting, there is often digestive distress and constriction, which prevents toxins from flowing out of the body. In order to detoxify safely and effectively, the body and mind must be relaxed, and the channels of digestion and elimination flowing with ease.” - Larissa Hall Carlson

Autumn has arrived, and with it comes the opportunity to not only revamp our wardrobes, but also to revitalize our diets in preparation for the upcoming winter. The Autumn Equinox on September 22nd marks a significant shift in temperature and energy, making it the ideal moment to prioritize our health and well-being. In addition, a cleanse is an easy way to buffer your health and protect your well-being for the coming months and beyond.

Throughout history, this seasonal transition has been recognized as a crucial period for cleansing and purifying our bodies, ultimately promoting optimal health. Just as the trees gracefully shed their leaves, we too should take this opportunity to rid our systems of toxins and enhance our resilience for the colder months ahead.

Why Choose To Detox?

In the United States, there are over 80,000 chemicals utilized in food containers, flame retardants, pesticides, and other products that have yet to undergo testing for their potential health effects. Shockingly, researchers have discovered traces of almost 300 toxins in the umbilical cord blood of newborns. This means that children are frequently born predisposed to these toxins, as they are passed from mother to child in the womb, as stated in the President's Cancer Panel 2010 report. However, the body can naturally eliminate toxins when the digestive fire is consistently strong. We recommend following a seasonal cleansing program because of the rise of synthetic chemicals we encounter in food, personal-care products, water, soil, and the air.

During this seasonal transition, you may have noticed your skin changing as well. While there are myriad of variables that will influence your skin health, one we will be focusing on today is how your diet affects your skin. As the season changes, so should our diet and skincare routines. Take a moment to assess your skin, have you noticed any of these changes recently?:

  • Dull skin
  • More acne
  • Rashes

All of these can be manifestations of having too much acidity in your body.

In Chinese 5 elements, autumn is associated with the metal element, which governs the mind, organization, and overall stability. The rest of the year seems like it can snowball out of control. After Halloween, all the holidays, events, planning, and errands seem to collide into each other, which can leave your immune system lacking. Thus, boosting your immunity now will ensure you are less prone to coughs and colds later in the year.  Some benefits of an autumn cleanse include:
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Resting digestion
  • Promotes optimal health
  • Helping respiratory issues
  • Reducing excess fat and bloat
  • Alkalizing the body
  • Restores a sense of calm to the mind and the nervous system
  • Fosters both clarity and groundedness in the mental, spiritual, and emotional spheres
  • Nurtures an improved sense of energy and vitality
While many people think of cleanses and detoxes as a spring event, a gentle autumn cleanse is just as crucial for ensuring that we welcome winter with strong immunity and clarity of mind.

    How to Tell if Your Body Is Too Acidic

    According to Ayurvedic philosophy, choices that you make regarding your daily routine either build up resistance to disease or tear it down. Although there has not been definitive research linking diet to blood pH levels, there has been research done on how different foods benefit different blood types (Eat Right For Your Type). Essentially, eating food that does not align with your blood type can cause a variety of issues, from excessive gas to congestion on the skin. From this, we can extrapolate that the food we eat does play a role on our internal health.

    "The physiological pH of the human body is essential for many processes necessary to life including oxygen delivery to tissues, correct protein structure, and innumerable biochemical reactions that rely on the normal pH to be in equilibrium and complete." - Erin Hopkins

    While the link between diet and blood pH is still being understood, there is a scientific link between diet and urine pH. Your body utilizes several different organs for elimination and detoxification, including your liver, kidneys, and skin. These systems work to eliminate toxins in different ways, such as the kidneys maintaining the body's acid-base levels via neutralizing acids. Together, each of these systems maintain proper elimination throughout your body.

    We at Bellini's follow a holistic approach to skincare. We look at your entire body, from inside and out (as well as skin condition, skin type, age, location, and a few other factors), in order to best help balance your skin. From this point of view, we have seen our client's skin clear up after just one switch in their diets (for example, using oat milk instead of whole milk in coffee). Some side effects of high acidity can include:

    • Feeling weak, tired, and having low energy
    • Experiencing agitation, anxiety, panic attacks and depression
    • Having skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, acne, and hives
    • Suffering generalized aches and pain
    • Experiencing diarrhea, constipation, or bloating
    • Suffering from cramping before or during periods
    • Experiencing heartburn
    • Needing more sleep
    • Having increased dental decay
    • Feeling nauseous
    • Suffering from loss of libido

    If you are experiencing an influx of blemishes during this time, it is likely that your body is too acidic. Take a look at your diet, and if you are eating more carbohydrates and meats than fruits and vegetables, or drink coffee or alcohol throughout the week, there is a good chance your pH is more acidic. You can help reduce the inflammation cascade of blemishes (read more here) by incorporating an oxygenating product into your skincare, such as Phytomer's Citylife Flash Peel. This 30-second foaming chemical exfoliant helps to oxygenate, purify, and bring radiance to the skin.

    If you are experiencing a skin flare up (a rash that is dry, itchy, flaky), then you will benefit from adding Phytomer's Prebioforce to your routine to rebalance your skins microflora. When your skins microbiome is disrupted, that is when you are likely to see inflammation present as itchy skin, dermatitis, and dryness. By providing this topical prebiotic treatment, your skin's pH levels remain healthy while also maintaining a strong barrier against external environmental aggressors.

    If you are feeling more puffy this time of year, add a detoxifying moisturizer to your routine. Try out either Yonka's Phyto 52 (for 35+ years old) or Phyto 58 for puffy and acneic skin. The rosemary in these products will help flush out stagnation from your skin that keeps it both dull and puffy, while also oxygenating the skin and evening out tone.

    Balancing Acidity Levels 

    Acidity in the body has been linked to inflammation as well. An acidic environment can the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, leading to more bad bacteria. This can cause inflammation in the gut and spread to other parts of the body. While Inflammation in the body is designed to trap bad bacteria or "other offending agents," it also accelerates the aging process (Cleveland Clinic). Thus, inflammation can trigger tissue degradation, resulting in excessive and premature wrinkles, age spots, and dehydration from lipid loss. 

    Lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods for the body. Although lemons are scientifically classified as acidic, they are alkaline forming in the body. During digestion, the citric acid in the lemon is oxidized into water and carbon dioxide in the body. Both citric and ascorbic acid are weak acids that are easily metabolized from the body. Drinking lemon water regularly can help to remove overall acidity in the body, including uric acid in the joints, which is one of the primary causes of pain and inflammation. Warm lemon water in the morning will help kickstart your digestion process for the day.  

    In relation to a fall detox, drinking a lot of water and eating a diet of fibre-rich vegetables will help keep your bowels moving, which is key to the detoxification process. Think of imbibing water to be the movement your body needs to assist in detoxification. This will flush the liver, kick start digestion and promote fat burning.  To help your body’s fluctuating pH levels remain balanced, seventy to eighty percent of your diet should be alkaline foods. This means that your plate should be filled with mostly fruits and vegetables, such as leafy greens (and make sure they are soft or thoroughly cooked to aid in autumn digestion). The remaining portion of your plate should be filled with lean proteins and grains. This will ensure you create a balanced diet. 

    When the body is acidic, minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, are taken from your bones and organs to help neutralize the acid and remove it from your body, causing mineral deficiencies. Although there have been conflicting studies on if there is link between a highly acidic diet and osteoporosis, we believe that the body works in a symbiotic relationship within itself.

    Each area of the body supports the another. We see this particularly in the skin, which is the last organ to receive water, but is the first organ to have its water depleted when vital organs are lacking. In this sense, we can believe that it is likely that the body pulls from other structures in order to support an area. If you have been noticing your skin is more acneic during this seasonal transition, we recommend trying out Yonka's Masque 103. This clay mask is perfect for balancing any overproduction of oil, reducing inflammation, and also provides soothing nourishment to your skin. 

    Acidic Foods (foods with protein, sulfur and phosphate) Alkaline Foods (rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium and iron)
    • Dairy products
    • Beef
    • Shellfish
    • Grains
    • Corn
    • Processed foods
    • Refined sugars
    • Sodas
    • Beer and alcohol
    • Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli
    • Cucumbers
    • Avocados
    • Sea salt
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Seaweed
    • Lentils
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Limes 


    What Is An Ayurvedic Cleanse or Detox?

    An Ayurvedic cleanse is a powerful method that effectively rejuvenates and purifies the digestive system, tackling the very source of any imbalances. This process extracts toxins from the tissues and channels them into the digestive tract for swift elimination. Year round poor diet choices, environmental pollution, and chemicals accumulate as toxins in your body, so a fall cleansing can help balance the digestive fire and prevent winter sickness.

    Each of us has a different Ayurvedic dosha, which can be any combination of vata, pitta, or kapha. The autumn season is primarily ruled by the vata energy, and is the dosha ruled by air and space. This season can bring along dry, cold, and flighty qualities in each of us that may create imbalances for those who already have vata as a prominent constitution. In order to balance an excess of the light, dry, sharp, mobile, and cold qualities of vata, we will need to lean into warm, moist, heavy, and slow in all areas of our lives. 

    The fundamental concept underlying an Ayurvedic cleanse is to slow the body down, allowing the body to find respite, rejuvenate, and restore itself. Remarkably, when the deluge of inputs slows, your body will immediately take advantage of the lull to do some very deep cleaning. The practice of cleansing is considered a vital part of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, with great potential for improved energy, strength, and immunity, as well as a renewed love of life.

    As individuals, we are undoubtedly influenced by our own constitution, but it's important to acknowledge that nature also plays a role in shaping our health. Ayurveda invites us to get a jump-start on the day by focusing on morning rituals that work to align the body with nature’s rhythms, balance the doshas and foster self-esteem alongside self-discipline.

    As you add rich, nutrient dense foods into your diet and remove the heavy processed foods, your body will begin to purge all of its toxins and free radicals. To help your body move these unwanted particles, you will want to:

    • Eat cooked foods. They’re more easily digested, especially during the vata season of late fall.

    • Avoid meals primarily revolving around denser, heavier foods that require more digestive energy, such as red meat, hard cheeses, and pastas.

    • Eat seasonal foods. Replace spring and summer greens with root vegetables- pumpkin, yams, sweet potato, carrots, beets, turnips and fennel. See our foods to eat and soup recipes further down in this article.

    • Start each day with a glass of warm lemon water

    • Drink a mixture of warm water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar each day. This will flush to liver, kick start digestion and promote fat burning.

    • Drink more herbal teas

    • Drinking about half your body weight in ounces of water a day. Signs of dehydration include thirst, dry lips or skin, and constipation.

    • Engage in gentle movement, such as walking or yoga

    • Dry brushing to revitalize cells, improve circulation, and unclogs dead skin cells that cannot function properly

    • Incorporate autumn spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to aid digestion and boost circulation.

        A Focus On Fall Foods

        As with many things in life, strive for progress instead of perfection. The Pareto principle draws attention to an 80/20 balance (although the Pareto principle was originally used to describe that 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes, we apply it to how we live our lives as well. Think of sticking to your goals, whatever they are, 80% of the time, and enjoy and indulge the other 20% of the time). Life is to be enjoyed, so don't deprive yourself of what you love.

        During this season, try to limit the amount of raw vegetables (including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes) and legumes you eat, as they are both drying and can create wind in the body. Adding more wind to the body can cause an imbalance of vata, since this is the dosha ruled by wind. You will want to focus on warming and moisturizing foods to counteract this, such as soups and stews. When cooking, try swapping out grilling and searing for boiling and stewing. The vata season is the perfect time to indulge in rich bone broths, ranging from minestrone to ramen. We have curated a few of our favorite fall soup recipes below as a starting point for inspiration.

        If you do enjoy a rare salad, eat it at lunchtime and be sure to garnish it generously with an oily dressingIt is also best to forego cold or iced drinks, black tea, coffee, ice cream, and other frozen foods during this time. For this seasonal cleanse, try to reduce ingesting much from the foods to avoid during autumn column for at least 6 weeks. Keeping your diet nourishing and simple will be the best choice to align with this season.

        Foods To Enjoy During Autumn

        Foods To Avoid During Autumn

        • Thoroughly cooked, soft foods

        • Seasonally fresh fruits and vegetables

        • Whole organic grains such as brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet

        • Warm breakfast (oatmeal, tapioca, cream of rice, or cream of wheat)

        • Full bone broths

        • Miso soup

        • Primarily plant-based soups and stews

        • Apples and pears

        • Green smoothies in moderation (primarily vegetable based)

        • Sweet potatoes

        • Root vegetables, such as beats and carrots 

        • Olive oil

        • Plentiful amount of water warm (try adding in fresh lemon juice, freshly grated ginger, and apple cider vinegar)

        • Detox-aiding herbal teas

        • Warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, pepper, clove and turmeric

        • Dairy

        • Eggs

        • Refined sugar

        • Excess salt

        • Caffeine (chocolate, caffeinated tea, coffee)

        • Alcohol

        • Excessive meat or fish in comparison to the level of vegetables you eat

        • Gluten

        • Pasta

        • Soy (excluding miso, in other forms it can be hard to digest)

        • Corn

        • Peanuts

        • Preservatives

        • Cold or frozen foods

        • Raw foods (including salads)

        Suggested Autumn Detox Recipes

        Momma Dale's Minestrone Soup

        Autumn Squash & Seaweed Soup

        For All Blood Types This Autumn

        • 7 to 14 cups of beef broth, depending on consistency preference
        • Stew meat as desired
        • 1 cup zucchini,  diced
        • 8 oz drained kidney beans
        • 2 cups sweet potatoes, diced
        • Olive oil
        • 2 leeks, diced
        • 2 carrots,  diced
        • 1 cup of fresh tomato,  diced
        • 1 TBSP each of parsley and sage
        • 3 garlic cloves,  diced
        • Parmesan cheese

        Bring to a simmer

        • 4 to 8 cans Swanson Beef Broth (or better yet, try either an organic or homemade beef broth for a healthier alternative). Can add beef bones, stew meet, short ribs with the bone and bring to a boil, and then simmer for several hours until meet falls off the bone and the broth has a good meat flavor


        • Diced zucchini
        • Drained kidney beans
        • Sweet potatoes. Do this after the meat has simmered for several hours just before you add the below vegetables

        Saute in 3 TBSP Olive Oil  (until just tender)

        • Minced onion
        • Diced leeks
        • Diced carrots
        • Fresh diced tomato
        • Add to broth mixture.
        Simmer together until everything is just done.

          Add  1 TBSP of chopped parsley (optional)

                   1 TBSP sage

                  Pressed garlic cloves

                   Salt and Pepper as desired

                   Simmer---Serve with Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese

          Recipe via Savannah's mom.

          • 1 piece wakame, 6 inches
          • 3¼ pints well-flavored vegetable stock
          • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
          • 3 onions, chopped
          • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
          • 1 large flavorful pumpkin, ~3 lbs weight, scrubbed and chopped*
          • 1 medium head of celeriac, chopped, or if not available, another medium squash
          • 1-2 small dried chiles, chopped*
          • 1 tbsp stock powder (optional but recommended if a flavorful pumpkin is not used)

          For garnishing:

          • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped finely
          • 25 g walnuts, chopped roughly

             *Pumpkin is an Avoid for Blood Type Bs. Choose an equally sized squash.

             *Chiles are an Avoid for Blood Types A & AB and should be omitted. 


          • Rinse the wakame briefly under cold water, and place in a medium saucepan with water. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer briskly for 35 to 45 minutes until the mid-stem of the wakame has started to soften.
          • Drizzle the olive oil into a large saucepan, and add the onion, garlic, pumpkin* and squash. Add the dried chiles,* cover and allow to sweat gently over very low heat for 30 minutes. Turn occasionally with a wooden spoon.
          • Add the wakame with its cooking water and the stock powder (if using) to the pot of vegetables, cover and bring to the boil. Simmer briskly for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the midstem of the wakame is very soft.
          • Remove the wakame to a chopping board, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Blend the soup until smooth, add back the chopped wakame and stir. Keep warm.
          • Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with parsley and garnish with a few chopped walnuts. Serve and enjoy!
          Recipe via Eat Right For Your Type.

             With the arrival of fall and winter, the vata dosha takes center stage, causing an increase in cold and dry qualities within our bodies. If you have ever heard the phrase, "you are what you eat," you may already realize that your diet has a powerful impact on your physiology. By choosing nourishing foods that are inherently warming, well-cooked, and well-spiced (not spicy), you can significantly reduce your risk of vata imbalance this fall.

            Whether we realize it or not, emotional and physical cleansing seem to go hand in hand. When we release toxins from our bodies, we also release stored toxic emotions leaving us feeling lighter in both body and mind.

            Inevitably, in attempting to “digest” all the external stressors in our lives (environmental toxins, processed foods, unresolved emotions, psychological stress), we accumulate some degree of toxicity—which, over time, can build up in the system, deposit in the tissues, and compromise our health. However, by actively engaging in practices such as a seasonally appropriate cleanse, we can effectively counteract this trend and maintain optimal balance.

            Let us know what recipes you are excited to incorporate into your diet this fall! What else are you looking forward to doing to celebrate this beautiful time of year?















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