Here in Provence, the almond trees begin to bloom which is a telltale sign that spring is on its way. I am filled with pure joy when I sniff on spring grass and the earthy smell of the ground is just so...lively! It’s the season of hope, of fresh life and new beginnings. Maybe you already started spring cleaning in your home or your office, but what about your body? Now, I know, I know, everyone wants a quick fix to look good in a bikini. But there is no quick fix. Healthy bodies take time. So why not start now?
Why Spring Is The Best Time For Cleansing
Over the winter months, many of us (yes, me included) may have overindulged in food and drink. First, there was Christmas with all those cookies and treats, then New Year's celebrations with too much alcohol, followed by Valentine's Day with all that chocolatey goodness and lastly, Carnival with all those yummy fatty foods.
Do I hear the critic in you say that detoxing simply isn’t necessary? I remember one doctor telling me with a serious face: 'our bodies are designed to detox all by themselves naturally'. Well, yes, in an ideal world. But sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world. There is pollution in the air, in our homes, in our water, in the foods we eat and the clothes we wear. Our livestock are treated with antibiotics, our crops are sprayed with pesticides and fungicides.
When you start changing your habits, you might be surprised, how many health problems can be solved just by a few days cleanse. Bloating, nausea, indigestion, constipation, gas, cramping, the list goes on and on.
Frequent colds and flu, tiredness, congestion and urinary problems could clear up as well. Also, many people experience an increase in energy after a detox. Detox is also a concentration and mood enhancer.
So Why A Spring Detox?
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), spring is the best time to detoxify the body - specifically the liver. The main reason is that biologically, nature supports cleansing the body during the spring season. With spring around the corner, many people notice change in their sleep and eating habits, energy levels, even mood and senses.
How To Start a Detox
1. Eliminate entirely: alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee, sodas, etc.), dairy, wheat, red meat (including ham, sausage, etc.), processed and fast food, sugar.
2. Eat lots of fresh veggies and fruit. Make soups, salads, stews and stir-fries. Fruit and vegetable juices, especially beetroot, broccoli and celery, are ideal for detoxing. I start every day with a green juice or a green smoothie. In just that one drink, I get three cups of fresh whole food. Choose organic produce whenever possible. Use only a limited amount of sea salt or Himalayan salt in your flavoring, herbs and spices are wonderful. Nuts and seeds are a very good option to add to salads.
3. Have two or three servings of protein a day: fish, organic eggs and chicken. Aim for 30 grams of protein with each meal (speaking about three meals a day). If you eat soy products and legumes, they are also a good protein option but remember, when you eat only plant protein, you should double the amount (60 grams of plant protein per meal).
4. Drink caffeine-free herbal teas and green tea, e.g.matcha tea.
5. Stay hydrated. Drink eight glasses of still (not carbonated) water a day, more if you are exercising, to help flush your kidneys and digestive system. Warm water with lemon or a pinch of sea salt (used for detoxing in the ancient Indian system of ayurveda) is my daily morning routine.
6. Take a quality probiotic supplement (packed with “good” bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium) to support the digestive tract.
7. Brush skin daily for five minutes before your shower or bath. It stimulates the flow of lymph and promotes good circulation. Use a natural-bristle body brush. Always brush toward the heart. Start with gentle movements, building up to gentle but firm pressure.
8. Exercise regularly. The best exercise while detoxing is walking, swimming and yoga.
9. If possible, include regular saunas and massage therapy. If this is impossible (budget or time issues), use Epsom salts baths at home.
Some forms of detox are not suitable for some people, for example, fasting is not advised if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. However, adding green juices and green smoothies into your daily routine will not harm you even if you are diabetic, suffer from high blood pressure or autoimmune condition.