Just as you'd give your home a good spring cleaning, April is the best time to clean out your body. Winter is all about cocooning and shoring up our resources. At the end of this period of hibernation, we tend to have a build-up of ‘sludge’ from all that sitting around. Spring, however, is all about flow. It’s the perfect time to let the natural rhythm of the seasons work in your favour. It’s the perfect time for a detox.
Keep it Simple
This does not need to be an arduous experience. In my opinion, natural and simple is the best route. The foods of spring help this process along – think spring greens, lighter fare, less meat, and more vegetables. Below you’ll find three versions of a suggested spring cleanse, ranging from easy to moderate. These can be undertaken anywhere from a few days to one month, depending on what you feel you need. Remember to take it easy while doing your detox: cut down your schedule, take naps, read books, get fresh air, and most of all, be kind to yourself. This is a rest and repair phase.
Three Easy Options
Detox #1: Clean Living
Carry on as you normally would, but cut out alcohol, wheat, dairy, sugar, preservatives, and caffeine (green tea is acceptable). If you absolutely can’t face giving up coffee, keep it to one small cup in the morning with no added milk or sugar. Substitute with nutrient-rich foods such as quinoa, brown rice, wild fish, plenty of vegetables, and a moderate amount of fruit.
Detox #2: Go Vegan
In addition to the list above, cut out all animal products. With a little advance planning, this option is not much harder than Detox #1. Make sure that veggies comprise the majority of your diet. Protein options include tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes, and derivatives of these, such hummus, nut butters, and tofu spreads. Accompany this diet with 2-3 cups of naturally detoxifying herbal teas, such as nettle, dandelion, and burdock.
Detox #3: Juice Fast
This detox comes with the greatest benefits: consider it the gold standard of cleaning house!
Length: 2-5 days for the actual fast, and 2-3 days of clean living (Detox #1 or #2) on either end.
Supplies: You’ll need a juicer or a blender and some mason jars, and lots of organic fresh veggies and fruit.
What to Expect: It’s absolutely critical to book some down time for yourself while completing a juice fast. Count on cutting your regular schedule in half.
How-To: Choose lots of leafy greens (kale, swiss chard, beet greens) for maximum benefit. Juice or blend with the veggies and fruit of your choice. Apples are a nice complement to most vegetable combos, but avoid all citrus fruit. You should consume 5-7 juices daily, plus unlimited herbal teas.
Supplements: 1 tsp. of ground flax seeds or chia seeds three times daily to replace fibre and ensure that the toxins move on out.
In any cleanse:
• Normal side effects include headache, fatigue, and irritability as your body clears out the garbage.
• Abnormal side effects are a headache lasting longer than five days, extreme fatigue, or nausea… Too much too soon! Try a gentler version.
• Always drink plenty of spring water throughout the day. This is necessary to carry the toxins out of your body.
• Start each day with 1/2 – 1 juiced lemon or lime in 2 cups spring water.
• Whenever possible, choose organic! Now is not the time to expose yourself to pesticides and hormones.
• Great herbal tea choices that support a detox include nettle, dandelion, burdock, milk thistle, basil, and mint.
The end result of this brief pause is that you'll likely feel re-energized and vibrant. Give yourself a big pat on the back; you’ve allowed yourself to heal from within, and there’s probably a brand new you in the mirror. Happy spring cleaning!