Fall detox: prep your system for colder months ahead

By Rebecca Mullins, RHN

We think of spring as the season for cleansing, and while a fall cleanse may seem counterintuitive, as the maples in Northern Ontario shed their leaves before the winter snow flies, it’s the season to consider purging the old.  We’ve been very active, and just as nature is slowing down, we need to slow down and prepare for rest and restoration.

Beginning a cleanse around the equinox (Sept. 22) which is a natural transition time, or any time during the fall, will aid in building your immune system to ward off colds and the flu, and will also help to prepare organs for the colder months ahead. A full fast isn’t required. Rather than a drastic elimination of toxins, gently rebalance the whole person using nourishing foods and self-care techniques such as yoga and meditation.  

Restore the body rather than strip it down, as that could leave you vulnerable heading into winter.

In the spring we cleanse the liver. The fall detox is focused more on the respiratory and digestive systems – clearing the lungs, bronchial tubes, throat and nasal passages, as well as the mucous that builds up along the intestinal wall lining and the wastes that can lodge in the colon, which can ultimately affect every part of your body.

Intestinal problems may first appear on your skin—in the form of blotchiness, eczema or other rashes and/or blemishes or acne.

During your three to 14-day cleanse, it’s best to eliminate sugar, dairy and grains.  Also, tuning in to your body’s natural rhythms, examining habits that contribute to adrenal and nervous system stress, and then reducing both stress and mental over-activity is the most important element of a successful detox plan. Ignoring this can lead to health issues such as irregular menstrual cycles, indigestion, insomnia, fatigue and weight gain. It’s vitally important to slow down and think about what influences you want to keep in your life and what you might want to let go.

We need to nourish our bodies with healthy foods. Begin decreasing cooling summer foods including fruits, and increasing cooked and warming foods in preparation for winter.  Enjoy seasonal foods that help your organs function optimally, such as lightly-prepared whole grains, squash and root vegetables.  Also, adding warming spices including cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and anise will enhance intestinal and respiratory function, and alleviate dampness. They’re not only deliciously aromatic, but also help to prevent indigestion, and cold hands and feet.  Anise is also helpful for bronchial disorders and asthma.  

Drink fenugreek tea. It’s very effective as a lubricant and its ability to soften and dissolve mucous in the lungs and intestinal tract.

Fall detox juice

One serving


  • 1 medium beet
  • 1 large apple
  • 3 radishes
  • Several kale leaves

Juice all ingredients together and enjoy daily.

Rebecca Mullins, RHN, is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.

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