Simple Autumn Cleanse & Recipes By Mary Coleman

Mary Coleman, ERYT500/CHHC, leads a Hatha Movement class on Tuesdays at 6:15pm & Saturdays at 9:45am

Mary Coleman, ERYT500/CHHC, leads a Hatha Movement class on Tuesdays at 6:15pm & Saturdays at 9:45am

The autumn has arrived…

The temperatures will begin to drop. The leaves will change and fall. This is a good time to gently cleanse the body of the remaining heat from the summer and prepare the body for the colder and darker months ahead. Fortunately, an autumn cleanse is not hard to do but it does require a little pre-planning. It is best to do this cleanse by mid-November so that you have given your body the support that it really needs for the upcoming winter months. The cleanse will take two weeks, with two and half days at the end of the two weeks to be quiet and restful.

In the first week, you will begin by limiting your diet and removing foods that are difficult to digest. During the first part of the second week, you will continue to limit your diet and at the end of the week, you will eat a simple mono-diet of kitchari. Kitchari is an easy to digest, plantbased meal. For the last two-and-a-half to three days of the cleanse, you will eat kitchari for lunch and dinner as directed below. In the morning, you will eat a simple breakfast (oatmeal or farina with stewed apples, yogurt with stewed apples). The purpose of simple eating for the three days is to allow your digestive system to rest and reset.

Week 1 and 2: Begin by removing the following foods and drinks from your diet:

  • Red meat (beef, pork, lamb)

  • Refined sugar (white, brown) and chemical sweeteners (Sweet & Lo, Equal, etc). If you need a little sweetness in your food, use naturally occurring sweeteners like pure maple syrup, agave nectar or sucanat. Honey should be used sparingly because it tends to dry the body quickly and the body is already ‘drying out’ because the season change.

  • Refined foods: pasta, cookies, bread, pastries, pizza, any prepared meals that come in a container • Dairy (this isn’t forever, just for a couple of weeks). Although, you can use ghee (clarified butter) and yogurt (without added sugar).

  • Caffeine: if you drink coffee – and just can’t go without it, only have one 6 oz cup of coffee before 10:00am

Then incorporate the following:

  • When you get up, before you consume anything, scrape your tongue with a tongue cleaner (it is best to use one that is stainless steel).

  • Drink 6oz of hot water with lemon – sip this while sitting quietly.

  • Get out of bed each morning by 6:00am

  • Go to bed each evening by 9:30pm; try to be asleep by 10:00pm

  • Stop using any form of technology by 9:00pm (no smartphone, computer, tablet, television, radio, etc) and don’t look at technology until after you have finished the hot water with lemon noted above.

  • Read something uplifting just before going to bed (sacred texts, an inspirational story, inspiring poetry, etc).

  • Spend 5-10 minutes sitting quietly (you can do this while you drink the hot water in the morning) – meaning that you don’t plan your day, rehash the days events, ruminate on something worrisome, rather you just sit quietly – enjoy the stillness.

  • Yoga and meditation practices (take a yoga class, come to the free meditation class on Saturday morning).


  • At bedtime, take 1 Triphala tablet (

  • Drink Cumin, Coriander and Fennel (CCF): boil 2 cups of water, add ½ tsp cumin seed, ½ tsp coriander seed, ¼ tsp fennel. Let steep for 5 minutes. Strain the seeds out. Put in a thermos and sip during the early part of the day (up to 2pm)

Week 2:

  • Continue to do all the recommendations from week one.

  • Be pleased and proud of yourself for sticking to this!

  • Purchase the foods listed in the Kitchari recipe that follows

  • Purchase your favorite vegetables to serve with the Kitchari

Cleanse Days 2 ½-3:

  • It is important that you set aside quiet time while you are in the mono-diet part of the cleanse.

  • Clear your schedule.

  • Attend gentle, restorative or yin style yoga classes.

  • Participate in meditation class.

  • Take time to walk in nature.

  • Sleep when you feel you need it.

  • Read and journal.

  • Limit technology (or even better take a full technology fast).

  • On Friday afternoon (its best if you can start at lunchtime but if you can’t start until dinner, that is fine), prepare the kitchari. It takes about 25-30 minutes.

  • You can add seasonal foods to your meal of kitchari: roasted or boiled sweet potatoes or steamed vegetables like carrots, beans, broccoli, etc (it is best to stay away from the dense leafy vegetables like kale and chard because they are difficult to digest) or roasted squash: butternut, acorn, delicata, etc.

  • Stewed apples with cinnamon for a sweet dessert or snack

On the evening of the third day, you may continue with the kitchari or you can have a simple vegetable soup (see recipe that follows).

On the morning of the fourth day, you can begin your return to normal food – but it is important to introduce the foods that you removed slowly (if at all), especially meat, dairy and refined sugar – generally, one per day.

Optional (but recommended): • Take 1 tsp of Chyavanprash : as a rejuvenative and to promote healthy immunity for the upcoming winter months • Continue to follow the early morning guidelines: tongue cleaner, hot water with lemon throughout the autumn and winter to support moving the ama (waste) out of the body.

Svadhyaya: Self-Study: It is important to notice of how you feel physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Take time each day to make a short journal entry about your experience over the two weeks.

During the cleanse, you may notice resistance, you may feel irritable and like you’re being denied something, you may feel happy or lighter – all of this is good. If you’re feeling resistance, irritable or denied – inquire why? What is it that you have removed or you are doing that you are missing? Are you actually missing that thing or is there an emotional/spiritual need that is not being met?

If you’re feeling happy, more peaceful, lighter – ask what is it that is helping you to feel this way? Can you identify what it is so that you can incorporate this into your daily life?

What habit patterns do you have around self-care. Do you start off with good intentions and then stop when it gets hard? Do you become critical and judgmental when you ‘don’t-see-itthrough’?

What habit patterns do you have in relationship to the foods that were removed from the diet: refined foods, refined sugar, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, meat and poultry, bread?

What beliefs do you carry about ‘denying’ your desires?

Questions?: Feel free to contact Mary Coleman at


Mary’s Kitchari Recipe

This is not the classical kitchari recipe but rather one that I created for ease and accessibility. It is simple which makes it easy to digest. This allows your digestive system a chance to reset.

½ cup red lentils, rinsed 2-3 cups filtered, boiling water 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated Rice: ½ tsp turmeric ½ cup basmati rice ½ tsp cumin seed 1 cup of filtered water ½ tsp cinnamon ½ tsp sea salt ¼ tsp cracked black pepper 1 tbsp ghee, olive oil or coconut oil

Put the basmati rice and water in a saucepan with a lid. Set on burner to soak (don’t start cooking it yet).

In a saucepan, warm the ghee or oil, ginger, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and black pepper over medium heat. Add the red lentils and stir to coat. Pour in 1 ½ cups of water, increase heat to high and bring mixture to boil. When the mixture boils, cover and reduce heat to medium-low and allow it to cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The lentil and spice mixture will absorb the water. Add another 1 cup of water and continue to cook. Add the sea salt.

After adding, the cup of water to the lentil mixture, prepare the rice: place the rice in a saucepan with 1 cup of water and cover. Bring to boil, lift the lid off the saucepan and set it a little off center so that the pan is covered by some of the steam can escape. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 15-20 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, stir the lentil mixture. If the water is absorbed, add the remaining water. The mixture should look like a medium-thickness soup. Cook for another 10 minutes or so until desired consistency.

Turn the heat off the rice and replace the cover (if you have an electric stovetop, remove the rice pan from the heat source) and let stand for 5 minutes.

To serve: put the rice in a bowl and pour some of the lentil mixture over top. (In general, the lentil mixture will give me two portions, the rice will be for one portion. I generally make the rice every time so that it is fresh and not stale).

You can double the recipe if you need to.

You can serve this with steamed or roasted vegetables (all the veggies should be cooked to aid in digestion) or you can eat it alone.


Mary’s “Happy” Vegetable Soup

When the weather gets cooler and the sky gets gray, I love to eat prepare and eat this soup. It is full of beautiful colors and delicious flavors. Serve it along with biscuits and you have the perfect comfort meal!

2 tbsp olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 2 cloves of garlic *this is optional 1 stalk of celery, diced 2 medium-to-large carrots, diced ½ tbsp dried basil ½ tbsp dried parsley salt and freshly ground pepper (about ¼-1/2 tsp of salt; about ¼ tsp pepper) 2-3 medium tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped into ½ inch pieces (or a 15 oz can of diced organic tomatoes) 4 c water (you may need a little more for a thinner consistency) 1 sweet potato, cubed in ½ inch cubes 2 medium red potatoes (or 3-4 small red potatoes), cubed in ½ inch cubes 1 15 oz can red beans (about 1 ½ cups of red beans) or 15 oz can of chickpeas (be sure to rinse the beans/chickpeas) ½ c frozen corn (or fresh if its available) ½ c. frozen peas (or fresh, if its available) ¼ c green beans (you can add the veggies that you like: lima beans, edamame, peas, zucchini, squash etc)

1. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add onions, celery and carrots. Saute until onions are translucent, add garlic (optional). Cook 30 seconds. Add basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Sauté until fragrant. 2. Add tomatoes and then water 3. Add potatoes (both kinds) and beans/chickpeas. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil. 4. When the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer about 25 minutes. 5. Add frozen veggies, cook another 5 minutes, or until frozen veggies are done 6. Serve hot and enjoy!

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Stewed Apples

This is an Ayurvedic recipe with the intention of “boosting the morning metabolism”. When we get out of the habit of eating breakfast, the body slows down the metabolism to conserve the food reserves. Eating a “soft” fiber in the morning – helps us to boost the metabolism.

1 apple, skin on, cored and cut into 1 inch cubes (Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith all work well) ¼ cup of pure water (not tap water) ½ tsp cinnamon ½ tbsp pure maple syrup

Place all ingredients in a saucepan on high heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until apples are soft. Serve warm.