Your guide to an at-home spring cleanse.
Spring is full of transformations and often symbolises a time of love, joy and renewal. Just as we like to declutter our homes in Spring and clear out accumulated waste, we can do the same for ourselves and with a gentle cleanse.
Allowing our body time to cleanse is essential for good health and vitality, although this needn’t be about deprivation or an extreme juice detox, but instead an opportunity to reset your body and make long term positive changes.
Eat with the season
It’s time to eat real foods that are abundant in nutrition and that haven’t been sitting in cold storage for months on end. Get to your local farmers market to buy fresh regional produce that support our local economy and environment, it tastes great and helps you to reduce your exposure to pesticides.
- Vegetables – cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, watercress and garlic are high in sulphur which is very nutritious and helps us to detoxify our bodies.
- Fruits – are loaded with vitamins and minerals. They provide a wonderful source of fibre and are full of phytochemicals, like pectin (high in citrus fruit and apple skin), that help the body wash out toxins and provide antioxidant benefits.
- Herbs – every dish tastes better with herbs and they are also a great way to eliminate the toxic build up in our system. Grab a handful from the garden or the market – basil, coriander, parsley, mint – and sprinkle them on salads, add to soups or blend in juices/smoothies. Did you know that coriander is great at binding heavy metals like mercury and eliminating them from the body? Add some turmeric to your next meal to bump up the anti-inflammatory benefits too.
Go to sustainabletable.org.au to view what’s in season for spring.
Eliminate foods that increase your toxic load
We want to be avoiding sugary, fried and refined foods. Excess alcohol and caffeine, both easy to over-consume in the cooler months, need to be reassessed also. Typically most processed foods are full of sugar, cheap refined unhealthy fats/oils and they often contain hidden artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. Then there is the concern of genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) found commonly in soy and corn products.
Sugar is one of the main drivers of inflammation in our body while providing only empty calories (no vitamins/minerals/good fats). Too much refined sugar can also put more stress on your liver, when the liver detects more sugar (fructose, sucrose,glucose) than can be used by the body for energy, it can be turned into fat and this can contribute to fatty liver and other fat accumulation. A diet high in sugar puts you at a greater risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, ischaemic heart disease, stroke and dementia.
We need to be thinking green and including lots of dark leafy green vegetables. Raw juicing and smoothies are a perfect source of fibre and phytonutrients, offering our bodies dense nutrition. Get creative in the kitchen and work out your perfect green goddess smoothie or Shrek juice that the whole family will love. During your cleanse, substitute one meal per day with your juice or smoothie by adding quality protein powders such as hemp, collagen, whey or pea protein. (Adequate protein is needed to provide amino acids to support liver detox pathways.) Just remember to add healthy fats to your smoothie like avocado (more green) or nut butters, coconut oil, hemp, chia seeds etc. to keep you satiated and to provide more balanced nutrition. Go light on spinach and kale when it is raw, it is not so easy to digest – stick to 1-2 large leaves per smoothie.
Small healthy changes lead to long term positive results
If we are talking about resetting the body then we are looking more at the long term health benefits of a spring cleanse. It takes around 3 weeks to change a habit. Start to make a few adjustments to your diet over the course of a week. Maybe swap your second coffee of the day for an antioxidant rich green tea or a refreshing gut friendly kombucha. Once you are comfortable with this, add a few more changes until these ‘tweaks’ become daily habits. Your body will love you for it!
Never underestimate the power of movement to support the mind and body to detox. Exercise (even without needing to go to the gym) that gets the heart rate up like a brisk walk around the block, a jog on the beach or rebounding (mini trampoline), increases lymphatic flow and circulation to help sweat out toxins.
Yoga can be done in the comfort of your home too. Certain poses can work specifically on the abdominal organs, stimulating the kidney and liver to remove wastes from the body. Yoga is fantastic at supporting digestion and at the same time calming to the nervous system. By including 15 minutes of meditation or belly breathing to your daily practise, you will also help to clear the mind.
The benefits of a spring cleanse are endless and provide an opportunity for us to make some positive changes to our lives.
Remember that every time we eat is an opportunity to nourish our bodies. Eat better, not less. Eat clean, be happy.