Beginning on September 22 or 23, the autumnal equinox signals a time of change, in weather, daylight, and temperatures. Physically, you need to take special care of the two vital organs of this season, the lungs and the large intestines.
The lungs—along with the bronchial tubes, throat, sinuses, and nose—are a major detoxification pathway. They act as the go-between for the internal and outer environment, inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide through their pulmonary capillaries. Each cell performs as a mini lung by taking in oxygen from the bloodstream and eliminating carbon dioxide, which is then carried back to the lungs. That’s why it’s so essential for your lungs to have good-quality air that is clean, moist, warm, and rich in oxygen.
Equally important to your health and detox process are your large intestines, which also need your special attention during this season. When your system becomes backed up with toxins, a mucus buildup along the lining of the intestinal wall occurs. The wastes lodged in your colon ultimately affect every part of your body and result in constipation. One of the first places this intestinal problem appears is your skin in the form of rashes, blotchy skins, acne, and eczema. And because constipation can cause fecal matter to stay lodged in your system for weeks or even years, this motionless waste develops a hard, stubborn buildup along the walls of our bowels and creates a dangerous playground for unwanted bacteria.
Autumn healing tea, herbs, and spices
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) tea is my autumn beverage of choice due to its effectiveness as a lubricant and its ability to soften and dissolve mucus in the lungs and moisten the intestinal tract to prevent constipation.
Autumn spices including warming cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and anise, which are not only deliciously aromatic but help to prevent indigestion, gas, and cold hands and feet. Anise is a lung remedy as well, known to help bronchial disorders and asthma. Your autumn tea, herbs, and spices all help to support intestinal and respiratory function and alleviate dampness.
Autumn detox plan
The harvest season is the time to begin to decrease your intake of cooling summer foods and start to increase more cooked and warming foods into your eating plan in preparation for winter. It’s also the season to reduce your fruit intake from three portions to two, because fruits are especially cooling to the body. We need more warmth now.
For the autumn detox plan, whether you stay on it for the minimum three days or two weeks, the foods to be consumed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are from the food groups listed below.
Autumn detox plan protocol
Oils—1 tablespoon lignan-rich flaxseed oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil daily
Lean protein—at least 8 ounces daily. Choose from beef, buffalo, eggs, lamb, poultry, tofu, and tempeh
Vegetables—Unlimited raw or steamed, low glycemic; plus 3 tablespoons sauerkraut
Fruits—2 whole portions daily. Choose from 1 medium apple, 1 cup cranberries, 1 medium pear, 1/2 medium persimmon, 1/2 pomegranate; plus 1 to 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Filtered water—8 glasses a day
With or between meals—2 cups of fenugreek tea daily
Sample autumn detox plan menu
Upon arising—two 8-ounce glasses of water with juice of 1 lemon
Before breakfast—1 cup fenugreek tea
Breakfast—1 stewed apple with cinnamon and nutmeg; Autumn Scrambler (made with 2 eggs, mushrooms, and onions with 1/2 tablespoon sesame seed oil)
Mid-morning—two 8-ounce glasses of water
Lunch—Tempeh burger; Warm cabbage salad with grated carrots, celery, parsley, and dressing of 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon aniseeds; 3 tablespoons sauerkraut
Mid-afternoon—two 8-ounce glasses of water
Before dinner—1 pear
Dinner—Broiled lamb chops with a dash of cinnamon; braised greens and sliced daikon with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil; Autumn Leaves Veggies (with steamed wild mushrooms, radishes, and snow peas); 1 cup of fenugreek tea
Mid-evening—two 8-ounce glasses of water
In the fall, you may also want to consider a series of colon hydrotherapy treatments to assist in cleansing the bowel. Colon hydrotherapists believe that regular colon cleansing helps relieve fatigue, gas, headaches, irritability, and a number of stubborn skin problems. Colonic enthusiasts report a marked sense of well-being, more energy, less brain fog, and more tranquility. Dark circles and bags under the eyes disappear. Colon hydrotherapy can help to establish the pattern of regular bowel movements on a daily basis. Once the system has been cleansed with colon hydrotherapy, the colon can again function as it was meant to, eliminating unwanted wastes from the body.
Ann Louise Gittleman, N.D., M.S., C.N.S., is one of the foremost nutritionists in the United States. She is the author of The Fat Flush Plan (McGraw Hill, 2001), Eat Fat, Lose Weight (Keats, 1999), and Why Am I Always So Tired? (Harper San Francisco, 1999).