Nurture the mind-body connection this winter through easy, healing practices that detoxify and enrich.
The act of cleansing can often make one feel more physically, mentally, and emotionally at-peace. Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) both recommend a seasonal cleansing, purification, and renewal process to eliminate accumulated physical and emotional toxicities, allowing our mind-body connection to return to a natural state of balance and health.
Seasonal cleanses are typically carried out during the equinoxes. According to the principles of TCM, the spring and fall provide the best opportunities for deeply detoxifying and cleansing the body. Spring, in particular, is a time of regrowth and renewal, and after a dormant season like winter, harmful impurities collected in our organs and tissues need to be flushed.
Associated organs: liver and gallbladder
Why: Cleansing is recommended for those seeking a greater defense against the irritants of allergy season.
Associated organs: small intestine and heart
Why: Clear out the inflammatory detritus originating from the small intestine which can cause bloat, fatigue, and brain fog.
Why: Foods grown in late-summer and fall support our natural cleansing rhythm and prepare the immune system for winter.
Associated organs: kidneys
Why: The kidneys support the entire body’s organs. Winter is a good time to strengthen the kidneys through restorative activities like yoga and tai chi.
In this article, we’ll focus on the transition from winter into spring. A spring cleanse can be as short as three days, or as long as 21 days. If you are just beginning, we recommend a 3-day, weekend cleanse so you may rest and recharge.
Three days after you’ve completed your cleanse, begin slowly reintroducing foods into your diet. Do not overburden your system by rushing. If you don’t feel well after eating a particular food, you may be sensitive to it. Consult a doctor or naturopath for further testing.
These foods cause inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. Begin to eliminate them from your diet one week prior to your cleanse.
- caffeinated coffee & teas
- milk & other dairy products
- refined sugar & artificial sweeteners or flavorings
- wheat/gluten, soy, & corn
- red meat
- trans fats found in vegetable oils as well as processed & deep-fried foods
EAT THE RAINBOW
Spring is the ideal time for purchasing seasonal produce. Purchasing in-season is better for our environment, the soil, and the flavor of our food. Nutrients and minerals are also at their peak. Foods such as arugula and other leafy greens, fennel, artichokes (which help support both liver and gallbladder functioning), asparagus, carrots, peas, organic strawberries, and ramps/green onions all have supportive health benefits to keep you healthy. In general, these foods are high in fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, and K, and sulfur.
- Start each morning with a warm glass of fresh-squeezed lemon water. Fresh lemon juice is alkalizing and supports the liver in bile production, which aids digestion and detoxification. The addition of turmeric or ginger can reduce inflammation and help expel excess mucus from the body.
- Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces of filtered water every day to help your kidneys flush out toxins. Herbal teas such as dandelion root tea or Traditional Medicinals’ EveryDay Detox® are also great for increasing fluid intake.
- Use herbs and spices to add flavor without extra oils or fats. Limit oil and fat ingestion to two tablespoons per day while cleansing.
- Commit to eight hours of sleep each night, as the body undergoes major repair and regrowth during sleep.
- Care for your emotional self: When we cleanse our bodies, we not only flush out physical toxins, we also inflame certain buried emotions. We may feel more irritable or sensitive. Journal and reflect so you may release negative emotions and find freedom from your burdens.
- Take a warm detox bath using ½ cup of Epsom salt per 50 pounds of body weight and a few drops of your favorite calming essential oil. Soak for at least 20 minutes to begin sweating, and pat dry when finished. Sweating helps to improve circulation and relieve stress. Do not apply any lotions or oils afterward. It is a time to let your body do the work. Aim to go to bed right after your bath.