Restorative 5-Day Winter Cleanse for the New Year

Posted by Ingrid Bauer, MD, MS on Dec 17th 2022

Restorative 5-Day Winter Cleanse for the New Year

Winter’s arrival (and the new year it brings) inspires many of us to adopt healthy habits we hope will sustain and empower us to pursue our goals. In the spirit of renewal, we've designed a simple restorative New Year's cleanse, and we hope you'll join us!

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, winter is correlated with the water phase and the Kidneys, and yin energy. During this season, nature's rhythms encourage us to move inward and recharge. Much of this protocol is influenced by TCM’s guidance for working with these elements—by slowing down, drinking plenty of fluids, and fortifying the body with warming herbs and foods.

Why Do a Winter Cleanse?

During the holiday season, many of us indulge in sweet treats, processed foods, alcohol, and overeating. It can be a stressful time of year due to finances, family dynamics, or travel. Loss of sleep and lack of nourishing foods can deplete immune function and cause digestive turmoil. Unlike strict detox schedules that focus on deprivation or weight loss, our winter cleanse is designed to help you support the liver, promote gut health, manage stress levels, and bring vibrancy back into your body. If you are feeling the need for a wellness reset to recharge your mind, body, and spirit, this cleanse is for you!

How to Do a Cleanse for the New Year

This guide includes elements to help both cleanse the body and also build it up with nutritious and therapeutic inputs. It recommends herbs and supplements to help rid toxins, regulate digestion, and support nervous system functioning. It also incorporates examples of nourishing and cleansing foods, and self care and gentle exercise tips for a holistic approach. This doable five-day cleanse will leave you feeling energized, in tune with your body, and in optimal health.

For recipes and shopping list, download our full Winter Cleanse Schedule & Guide.

Winter Cleanse Supplements

  • Liver Support
    • Liver Vitality Greens (Anima Mundi): Vibrant greens for daily supplementation.
    • Liver Cleanse (Gaia Herbs): A dynamic blend of liver support herbs in a potent liquid gel cap.
    • N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (Klaire Labs): Liver and respiratory support, a precursor to glutathione.
  • Adaptogenic Energy Support
    • Sustainable Energy Tincture (Five Flavors Herbs): Adaptogenic support, especially helpful for supporting caffeine avoidance.
    • Rasa Koffee (Rasa): Rich adaptogenic herbs to brew as a coffee substitute.
    • Golden Sun Milk (Anima Mundi): Adaptogens, turmeric and mushrooms in an easy to use powder mix for lattes and smoothies.

Winter Cleanse Foods

A mix of cooked and raw whole foods (organic and locally grown when possible), especially those with antioxidants and pre/probiotics, can help us recover from the past year’s strain.

Foods to Avoid: Alcohol, sugar, processed foods, gluten, dairy, soy, and caffeine can disrupt the body’s equilibrium, tax our systems, and interfere with restful sleep.

Foods to Include: Bone broths (or vegan broths infused with mushrooms, seaweeds, or other nutritious ingredients), soups, lean proteins, cooked veggies, salads, green juices, and herbal teas. Here is a more detailed list of recommended cleanse recommendations:


  • Organic/free-range chicken or duck eggs (avoid if your body reacts poorly to eggs)
  • Organic/free-range chicken or turkey
  • Wild-caught halibut, salmon, or tuna (if sustainably sourced options are accessible)
  • Canned mackerel, sardines, or anchovies (not smoked)
  • Legumes, soaked or sprouted (avoid if you have a sensitivity)
  • Cooked grains such as quinoa, brown rice, or millet (congee is a great way to enjoy them!)
  • Nuts, seeds, and unsweetened raw nut/seed butters (avoid peanuts and any personal allergens)


  • Arugula
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Bok Choy/Napa
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms, including shiitake, maitake, crimini, oyster
  • Onions & scallions
  • Parsnips
  • Radishes & daikon
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnips & rutabagas
  • Winter Squash

Fruits (Limit 1-2 serving per day)

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Persimmons
  • Pomegranate

Herbs & Spices

All of them! Here are a few to get you started:

  • Basil
  • Cardamom
  • Cilantro
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Garam masala
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric


  • Water
  • Herbal tea
  • Non-dairy milk (unsweetened)
  • Caffeine-free herbal coffee (try Rasa Original Koffee Alternative)
  • Green juice (if purchasing pre-squeezed, check for additives and sugar)


  • For Cooking: Avocado, Coconut, Ghee
  • For Drizzling (Unheated): Organic extra virgin olive oil, organic cold pressed sesame oil

For recipes and shopping list, download our full Winter Cleanse Schedule & Guide.

Exercises to Support Your Cleanse

  • Stretching, Yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong, 20 minutes each day
  • Moderate-intensity, low-impact cardio or walking, 30 minutes every day (outside if possible!)
  • Movement that connects you with your body (dancing, sex, etc.) as desired

Self Care Practices for Your Cleanse

  • Journaling
  • Gratitude practice (meditation, affirmations, breathwork, etc.)
  • Cleanse and clear living space
  • Digital detox (limit or avoid screen time)
  • Give yourself time to sleep well


You might also enjoy:

Herbal Tinctures for Natural Health Support

The Five Flavors in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Herbs for Digestive Support

This cleanse regimen was developed by Ingrid Bauer, MD, MS: With experience that bridges Western and Eastern medicine, Ingrid brings rigorous scientific knowledge to Five Flavors Herbs. A graduate of the UC Berkeley/UCSF Joint Medical Program and the American School of Herbalism in Santa Cruz, CA, Ingrid integrates plant-based medicine into mainstream healthcare. She is passionate about bringing holistic care to people from all walks of life. Her master’s research focused on Latino health beliefs and traditional medicine at a bilingual clinic in Oakland, CA, and she teaches workshops about herbal medicine at conferences and schools.

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