As winter draws to a close and green shoots poke up out of the ground, we emerge from our warm lairs to venture outside into sunnier, longer days. The air is beginning to smell like spring and the sun has a touch of warmth that has been missing these last long, cold months. It’s time to prepare ourselves for the change of season!
First we go to our closet, and try on summer clothes from last year. What’s this? Somehow they are all a little too small! A lack of exercise and an increase in processed foods over the winter has slowed our metabolism and caused waste to be retained.
Let’s fix this with a spring detox! This will improve digestion, increase the activity of all the organs of elimination, and help to throw off the toxic accumulations from winter to give us a renewed burst of energy and a sleeker body. The goal is not weight loss , but these foods will help support the body’s metabolism and we may drop a little weight if needed.
All the organs of elimination including the bowel, kidney, lung and skin need to be targeted when considering a detox. If these organs of elimination aren’t working well as you detox, waste products will accumulate which can result in illness. A gentle, slow detox, such as the one outlined below, will address the digestion and different organs of elimination to prevent adverse effects.
The detox method in this article is suitable for almost everyone, including pregnant and nursing moms as well as those with chronic health conditions. Anyone with serious medical conditions should have a chat with their health care provider before beginning, and detoxes are not for children or for those who are underweight. If there are allergies or other issues with any of the foods listed here then simply substitute other similar foods in their place.
There must also be no decrease in the number of calories eaten each day, or the exclusion of any healthy food. A fact about this detox is that it can jump start a healthy diet since it includes beneficial foods and activities, and then this way of eating can be sustained indefinitely. The best news of all is that you don’t need any special kits or supplements, and all the required foods can be found easily in any grocery store.
Here are the eight steps to a successful detox:
1. Hydrate – make a habit of drinking a litre of filtered water before noon, another before supper and a half a litre after supper. The water can be infused with a few berries, a sprig of mint or some cucumber if you like and you can substitute with herbal tea. Both bowel and kidneys will increase elimination of waste and there will be an improvement in energy, sleep and mental function.
2. Deep breathing – this will help to improve lung function – spend a few minutes breathing slowly and deeply into the bottom of your lungs every couple of hours. This can also be combined with a mindfulness exercise to decrease stress levels.
3. Add in greens – eat leafy greens at two out of your three meals. Alternate your greens, choose raw and cooked to supercharge your vitamins and minerals as well as help cleanse the liver and assist the bowel to empty. Foraging for new, fresh greens such as young unsprayed dandelions can be particularly nourishing.
4. Chop up some onion and garlic daily along with at least one serving of the Brassica vegetables (kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage). These provide much needed sulfur compounds to help the body detoxify it’s waste and reduce cancer risk. Fermented forms of these veggies add in good bacteria for the gut.
5. Avoid sugar and junk food. The less of this in your diet, the faster your body will improve.
6. Use unprocessed or minimally processed foods, organic and grass-fed if you can afford them, sufficient plant and/or animal proteins, and healthy fats such as olive and coconut.
7. Do restorative exercise each day such as walks in nature, stretching and yoga. All organs work better after exercise.
8. Do dry skin brushing daily. Using a brush with natural fibers, with gentle sweeps along the skin in the direction of lymphatic flow. See a U tube video for more instruction on proper technique.
After a couple of weeks on this detoxification plan, there will be a feeling of more energy and little health symptoms may be starting to clear up. Enjoy the clearer feeling in your body as you enjoy the season of spring!