By Gerrie Summers
Spring: the season of rebirth. Whether its planting seeds in your garden or ideas for a new project at your job, Spring brings a burst of energy and desire to create something new. Time, energy and money are spent to “make-ready” your home or latest fashions, but just how much attention is given to your body and mind for the transition into the next season? We’re not just talking about cleaning the home where you reside, but more importantly your physical, mental and spiritual home—your body.
The first step is to start with your home. Cleaning (with natural, eco-friendly cleaning products of course) helps remove toxins and dust from your environment, so you have fewer toxins entering your body—and less than your body needs to expel. Getting rid of the things that you no longer need, love, or no longer serve you, will also get clear the mental clutter, energize the mind, and bring fresh energy into your home.
After tackling your environment, you’re ready to spring clean your body and soul.
DO YOU NEED A BODY CLEANSE?
Our bodies have a natural detoxification system, but it’s often impeded by the environment and what we eat—as well as the medications we take. Bouts of diarrhea, perspiring, and sneezing are ways in which our bodies repel excess toxins. Instead of heeding these signals, we often use antidiarrheals, antiperspirants, and antihistamines, which work against these natural processes.
Fasts and cleanses help the body take a break from strenuous digestive work caused by toxic and taxing substances; usually by eliminating solid foods and focusing on healthy fluids and pure water. The rapid release of several toxins at once following extreme, or short-term detoxes, will cause the body to experience any number of conditions from headaches, lightheadedness, digestive issues, fatigue, skin rashes and other issues. Fasts and body cleanses should be avoided by individuals with certain health conditions and should be done only under the supervision of a medical professional. A wise word: If you have been overindulging and feel sluggish and need to do a fast or cleanse, do so gradually.
Developing healthy eating habits that help your body’s natural, daily detoxification process is better than extreme diets and cleanses. Try intermittent fasting, in which you fast for 12 to 16 hours. For example, you stop eating at six in the evening and do not eat breakfast (breakfast, get it?) until six the following morning. This is easier than an extreme fast, mainly because you will be asleep during most of those hours. You can start out with a three-day clean eating weekend.
THE MORNING RITUAL
Rise and shine! Time to get your body feeling better than ever before.
• Add dry skin brushing to your morning routine, just before your shower. It not only helps detoxify the skin by removing dead cells, but it also promotes lymphatic drainage and boosts blood circulation. Use a natural bristle brush with a long handle (for hard to reach areas). Starting at the feet, brush towards the heart, working your way up the legs, then hands and arms. Avoid the face. Then shower off impurities brought to the surface.
• Follow with juice of a fresh lemon in a glass of warm water. This will aid in cleansing the liver and bowels.
• Get at least 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day for healthy digestion. Yoga has several poses that help with digestion such as forward folds, which are also useful for stress; twisting poses like seated twists stimulate the digestive tract and help boost the liver and kidneys to flush out toxins.
CHANGE THE WAY YOU EAT
Slowly change your diet by decreasing and eventually eliminating refined sugar, white flour, food additives that will slow down or obstruct detoxification.
• Choose organic produce and meats to avoid pesticides and chemicals, which increase toxic load to the body.
• You can choose to have mostly juices, teas and broth. Gabby Bern-stein, the author of Judgment Detox, likes to do a bone broth cleanse. “You can heal your gut and give your digestive system a break for a few days,” she says. “If you don’t want to drink broth for three full days you can add some steamed veggies and avocado.” Tip: If you have bone broth (or vegetable broth) for lunch, add a side of kimchee or sauerkraut for probiotics to provide gut-friendly bacteria.
• Drink plenty of fresh purified or filtered water daily to flush out toxins, reduce headaches and constipation.
• Try to eliminate caffeine. An okay substitute for coffee is green tea or try golden milk (made with turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, raw honey and non-dairy milk).
• Eat only when hungry. Don’t overeat (puts burden on the digestive system). Eat slowly to break down your food thoroughly.
Be sure to include these foods in your daily menu. Here, some suggestions:
• Make a daily salad of bitter greens like arugula, dandelion, mustard, and endive. These greens are good for aiding in the detoxification processes of the liver. Avoid store-bought salad dressing (high in sugar). Use olive oil and lemon juice.
• Vegetables with phytonutrients (beets, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts) to stimulate detoxification enzymes.
• Eat enzyme rich foods like pineapple, papaya, raw honey, mango, avocado, fresh vegetables, wheat grass juice, coconut water.
• Foods with probiotics (Greek yogurt, kimchi, miso, tempeh, apple cider vinegar) help the digestive tract function and help remove the harmful bacteria and create good bacteria.
• Use fresh herbs instead of table salt to season foods.
GET SOME QUIET TIME
Avoid mental toxins. Turn off all your devices and stay off social media. Instead, read something positive, take a walk in the park, take a bath, get a massage, do other calming activities.
• Learn to meditate or simply take a moment each day to breathe in for a count of five and five out, focusing on the breath.
• Get sleep! The liver is at its most active state at night, ridding the body of toxins. Strive for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Twin Lab Occuguard Blutein Protection contains carotenoids to provide antioxidant protection from eye-fatigue caused by blue lights (that prevent you from getting adequate sleep).
Gaia Herbs Golden Milk with turmeric and ashwagandha root provides a healthy mix to add to your milk of choice to sip during quiet time.
Culturelle Probiotics Pro-Well helps the digestive system work better, providing good bacteria plus omega-3 fatty acids.
Wedderspoon Raw Manuka Honey K Factor 16 is certified organic and non-GMO. It’s not UMF rated but touts a “higher than 75 percent Manuka pollen count.”
Gerrie Summers is a freelance writer, specializing in travel, health, beauty, spas, and wellness. The former Multicultural Beauty Expert for About.com, she has written for numerous publications, including Real Health, For the Bride, Essence, Luxury Living, NY Daily News, FoxNews.com, and Everett Potter’s Travel Report. For more information on Gerrie Summers, visit gerriesummers.com.