Spring. Just hearing that word makes me smile. It’s my favourite time of year. It’s a time when we throw open our windows and let the sunshine and fresh air into our homes. It’s the time when we spring clean our homes, and we should do the same for our bodies.
A spring cleanse can be a wonderful way to clean up our diets and feel as good on the inside as Spring feels outside.
There are many benefits to a spring cleanse: increased energy, better digestion, fewer allergy symptoms, improved immune system function, better sleep, better concentration, healthier skin, healthy weight and many, many more.
Spring cleansing doesn’t have to be hard. Join me as I do my annual Spring cleanse (I cleanse for the entire month of April every year!) I want to share with you 12 Simple Tips for Spring Cleansing so that you too can clean up your body without strict regimes or harsh restrictions.
1. Drink water
Our bodies need at least 8 to 10 glasses of water (or more!) daily to help flush out toxins. Adding the juice of one organic lemon to a glass of water can add flavour, antioxidants, anti-cancer compounds and support the detoxifying actions of our kidneys, liver, and colon.
Eating clean is a simple strategy for a healthy diet. Eliminate all the ‘trash’ foods – fried foods, sugary foods and all processed, pre-prepared, and packaged foods. Eat whole foods – a general guideline is if the food looks like it does in nature, you can have it!
3. If you can’t read it, you shouldn’t eat it!
Read the labels – even on the so-called ‘healthy’ foods. If the ingredient list is long, or contains words that you can’t pronounce, then you probably shouldn’t eat it. Chemicals and food preservatives often have long, complicated names and should be avoided to lower our body’s burden of toxic chemicals.
4. Eliminate or cut back on meat and dairy products.
Meat and dairy over-consumption are responsible for a number of health conditions affecting North Americans (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity). Meat puts a strain on your kidneys and intestines and requires a lot of energy to digest. Dairy promotes mucus formation and is a common food allergy. Give your body a break and eliminate or cut back on these foods.
5. Eat a rainbow.
Eat as many different colours of fruits and vegetables as possible each day. This will make sure your body is getting a diverse selection of vitamins and minerals. Aim to make three-quarters of each meal vegetables.
6. Discover whole grains.
Whole grains is NOT the same as ‘whole grain bread’. Whole grains are foods like brown rice, quinoa, millet, kamut and amaranth. If you haven’t tried these foods – you should! They are simple to prepare and delicious. Whole Foods Markets have a great variety of whole grain recipes on their website. Whole grains are high in fiber, B vitamins and when combined with beans provide a complete meat-free protein.
Beans are delicious, filling and a great source of fiber and nutrients. Beans also help balance your blood sugar and can promote healthy weight maintenance and enhance energy levels.
8. Choose healthy snacks and enjoy them frequently.
Eating frequently throughout the day helps to stabilize your blood sugar and maintain your energy throughout the day. Healthy snacks include: raw nuts (like almonds, walnuts, and brazil nuts), almond butter on celery sticks, carrot sticks and hummus, berry smoothies with almond milk, frozen or fresh grapes, and dates with pecans.
9. Do alternating showers every morning.
Most people choose to shower in water that is much too hot. Choose a temperature that is warm rather than hot to decrease dehydration. At the end of the shower alternate between hot water (hot enough to turn your skin pink – but not so hot that it burns) for one minute and cold water (cold but bearable) for 20 seconds. Repeat this sequence two or three times to encourage healthy blood and lymph circulation and promote detoxification.
10. Take deep, cleansing breaths three times per day.
The lungs are an important organ of elimination that are often overlooked during cleanses. Spend one minute three times per day taking in five deep, cleansing, slow breaths.
11. Drink tea (instead of coffee).
As part of my cleanse I am drinking a cup of matcha daily. Matcha is a green tea full of antioxidants and anti-cancer compounds. You could also drink regular green tea or a botanical tea such as dandelion root teawhich supports the liver in it’s important detoxifying role.
12. Go outside and exercise.
Exercise improves circulation, energy levels, sleep quality and encourages detoxification through the skin and lungs. Exercising in the fresh air brings clean fresh oxygen to your blood and revitalizes your body, mind, and spirit.
Doing a spring cleanse does not have to be difficult. I look forward each year to my spring cleanse. It reminds me how good it feels to prepare healthy food for myself and my family. It refreshes my mind, body and spirit and makes me feel happy, energized and healthy.
The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.