Spring Clean - Cleansing Yourself
Nature seems to have everything perfectly balanced when it comes to adjusting for each seasonal change. In nature, survival depends on living in harmony with these changes. Our bodies accumulate the dryness and cold from the long winter, which is why many of us dream about holidays in Bali at this time of year. The foods that Mother Nature is providing at this time of year are light green vegetables, a few berries and some bitter roots. These foods are naturally mucus-free and perfect to cleanse the body of all the extra fats we ate all winter.
Do not let the seasons change without some sort of cleansing effort even if it’s simply via a few basic changes to your diet and routine. People often want to embark on a cleanse but can’t find the right time to start. There will always be some special occasion on the calendar to delay your starting a cleanse but part of the process of improving your eating habits is learning how to stay on track during these special occasions, so just go ahead, start your cleanse.
Checklist prior to cleansing:
- Make a date to start, look at new recipes and plan some meals that you know you will enjoy, then go shopping to prepare.
- In the week prior to beginning, cut down your caffeine and sugar intake in preparation to cutting it out altogether.
- Make a few notes about what you hope to achieve, and how you hope you will feel having done this cleanse.
- If you have a couple of special events make a plan about how you are going to get through the event, but do not guilt yourself into not enjoying your special occasion.
In the spring, you want to avoid heavier foods like dairy, nuts, red meats, and shell fish. There's a reason that asparagus is the celebrated veggie of spring, it is one of the first vegetables to make itself known in the garden. Most vegetables are good, in particular green vegetables like kale, dandelion and spinach. Grains which are harvested in the fall to be eaten in the winter can also be eaten in the spring, if properly selected. Corn, millet, and buckwheat are okay because they have no gluten and reduce our springtime congestive energy. Fruits, which are typically eaten in the summer, can also be appropriate in the spring if they are light and dry, for example apples and pears.
Some ideal foods and activities to include:
1. Asparagus - contains glutathione, a powerful antioxidant known for its role in supporting the body’s natural detoxification process carried out by your liver.
2. Avocados - along with asparagus, avocados are rich in glutathione. This powerful antioxidant supports the liver in getting rid of harmful materials.
3. Lemons - are also abundant in vitamin C, which boosts your immune system while fighting free radical damage to the body.
4. Walnuts - high in ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), a type of omega-3 fat that not only boosts brain power and also supports detoxification in the body.
5. Garlic - raw garlic, in particular, activates liver enzymes, helping your body to destroy unwanted chemicals and toxins.
6. Dandelion - yes, the pesky lawn weed has medicinal properties. The root of dandelion makes a great tea that has been shown to help the liver rid the body of toxins.
7. Beets - it's acceptable to continue eating these root veggies well into spring. Beets benefit the overall health of the liver while also boosting cardiovascular endurance.
8. Green tea - is high in catechins, which cleanse the body and support liver health.
9. Greens, Greens, Greens - including dandelion, parsley, kale and chard, endive, spinach, escarole, collards, red or green mustard greens or watercress which are all cleansing for your liver and gall bladder. Steaming beet greens is also detoxifying and great for digestion. Chlorophyll-rich leafy greens have the new, active nature of spring within them to help detoxify and de-stagnate our bodies in this season of renewal. Dark green leafy vegetables have both a grounding quality and a “releasing” property—calming an edgy-irritable system and helping us let go of sluggish, negative energy.
Eat foods to help seasonal allergies: Ginger is a natural antihistamine and decongestant. Apples, contain the flavonoid quercetin that can cross-react with tree pollen. It also decreases inflammation. Omega-3s essential fatty acids can counter the formation of chemicals that cause inflammation of the air passages. Good natural sources include flaxseed oil and wild salmon and sardines.
Move: Increase your exercise routine and sweat regularly to help with liver detoxification. Yoga poses that combine twists literally “squeeze and soak” the abdominal organs. Yoga twists are important poses to aid the body in detoxification. Twists stimulate digestion and facilitate the elimination of impurities and waste products from the body. Circulation of blood and of lymph is also boosted. The abdominal organs are squeezed during twists, stimulating the kidneys and liver, and forcing out blood filled with metabolic by-products and toxins. When the twists are released, then fresh, clean blood enters these organs, bathing the cells in nutrients and oxygen. Twists have a cleansing, refreshing effect on the abdominal organs and the associated glands.
Move your Lymph: The lymphatic system is the drains of our bodies so to help us move waste out we need our lymphatic system working well. Berries, cherries and sipping plain old hot water every 10 – 20 minutes for 1 to 2 weeks can cleanse the lymph helping us to detox better.