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Alternative Winter Cleanse: Warming Brown Rice Fast

  • Published on: 03 January, 2015
  • Last update: 26 January, 2016

alternative fast
Are you looking for a reset, but can’t handle juice fasting in the winter? I know how you feel!

A few days ago I embarked upon a juice fast, which is usually quite easy for me. (Surprisingly enough, the first cleanse I ever did was a 15 day Master Cleanse…. I guess I like extremes? Haha)

Except that something was different this time. I was so. freakin’. cold. all day long while juicing and incredibly sluggish. Usually I’d write this off as the usual clinical detox symptoms (headache, chills, fatigue) but I could feel the cold in my bones. It wasn’t much help that the heat in my house was broken, either.

Then it hit me. Of course – it’s winter! I am a person who is too “yin” or cold, and I am easily prone to “yang (heat) deficiency”. When I ease up on my healthy habits for even a day or two, my hands and feet get cold, I sleep too much, and I get bags under my eyes. I also am prone to edema (swelling), poor circulation, and low thirst – especially if I don’t have my morning ginger tea!

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If you are yin as well, it will be VERY difficult to fast on juices in the winter unless your climate is hot. Fruits and vegetables have a yin energy by nature. Winter is a time for conserving the little yang we have left by avoiding all things cold and raw.

On the other hand, if you are yang (hot – see chart above), i.e. you live somewhere warm, have a high thirst for cold drinks, dry stool, you speak rapidly, and have restless energy, go for the juice fast.If you typically feel very grounded in your life, more heavy and analytical, and find it difficult to dream up stretches of the imagination, the juice fast would aid in lightening you emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

But if you’re like me, where you generally feel light and spacey, ungrounded and unconnected, then a brown rice fast would be more grounding and warming.

A brown rice fast can be more stabilizing than other types of fasts but provide the exact same detox. Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate, metabolizing and delivering energy-giving sugars slowly, over time. Fruit, on the other hand, is comprised of simple sugars, more quickly metabolized, and can lead to highs and lows in some people. The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, the oldest-known book of Chinese medicine, prescribes a ten-day rice gruel fast as the first remedy for all disease. Brown rice contains yin and yang in almost perfect proportions for the human system.

How to Fast:

  • Eat as much SPROUTED/SOAKED brown rice as you desire. You must soak and sprout the rice before you consume it in order to germinate it for digestion and remove phytic acid, an anti-nutrient. You can learn how to sprout nuts/grains in this post.
  • You can add a small amount of high quality sea salt to your rice if need be.
  • Drink warm water throughout the day.
  • If you’re not having bowel movements frequently enough, you can use Lower Bowel Formula capsules.
  • If you feel the rice is too acidic, you can add some sheets of seaweed.

And that’s it! Just brown rice and water. So easy and so satisfying. Happy fasting!

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Ilse Garcia

Hi Olivia, Only question I have is, for long should we do the Brown Rice fast?

Josie M

Hi Olivia, Thanks for the post! I currently live in South Korea as a teacher but I can’t seem to find brown rice and If I do, I am scared it won’t be organic. White rice is everywhere as Koreans consume it 3 times a day. What are your thoughts on fasting with juices but adding white rice in between? I juice frequently but it’s snowing and it’s just too cold to drink cold juices all day. Thanks so much!


Hi, I was wondering about the arsenic that seems to be in elevated levels in all types of rice. What is your take on that???


Thank you for sharing this! Its an eye opener. My significant other is very YIN and im very YANG.. reality check! But I still love my hot tea!!! YUM.

Teresa Valentina B.

Thank you so much for sharing this, Olivia! I have been in Thailand for a whole month and I know that some sugar (and other nasty stuff I don’t like to consume) is used. So I really wanted to do a cleanse and the only thing that came to my mind was a juice fast, but it is snowing where I come from and I am naturally more ying like you are. Next week when I am at home again, I am going to do a brown rice fast. Hello ginger tea.. I am drinking to you with my tea mug in a few days 🙂 sending you lots of love and wishing you and Nick a happy, healthy and successful 2015 xx

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