Discover Renewed Energy With a Spring Cleanse
It’s April, and Spring has officially sprung in the Northern Hemisphere, and now it’s time to think about Spring cleaning from the inside out. (And if you’re below the equator Autumn Cleaning is just as powerful!)
Now, most people think about washing windows and turning mattresses when they hear the words “Spring Clean”, but I’m talking about a different sort of cleaning. Three different sorts actually, and they all relate to each other in some way or another. They are:
Physically cleaning and detoxing your body.
The change of the seasons—particularly to spring or autumn—is an ideal time to think about what you can do to sweep out for your digestive system, your liver, and other systems of your body. This is a well-practiced tradition in many cultures and healing systems.
Emotional and Mental Clearing.
Of course, this is important to maintain on an ongoing basis, but I believe practices to clear out the mental and emotional clutter can be even more effective during these transition times. Particularly when you accompany it with some sort of internal body cleanse.
Spiritual Cleansing or Reboot.
How’s your spiritual practice these days? Does it fall by the wayside more often than not because there’s simply not enough hours in the day for meditation, contemplation, alignment and/or prayer? Or, perhaps you’re saying, “What spiritual practice?” We’ve all seen the studies that point to greater joy, satisfaction and happiness for people with a regular devotional practice. And it doesn’t have to be affiliated with any particular religion or other system. It can be self-created and deeply personal. Why not harness the energy of fresh starts with the advent of this new season?
This week, let’s start with some tips on the first type of spring cleanse. A detox.
What Are the Benefits Of A Detox Cleanse?
When you pare down the amount of different foods you eat – or eliminate solid food completely – it’s like pushing the reset button for your body. Kind of like a reboot on your computer. Your digestion gets a rest, and your liver gets a chance to take a quick power nap. This strengthens it and allows it to do its job even better (which is processing every toxin that enters your body!)
Your stomach shrinks (inside, but usually a bit outside too), which has the happy result of making you feel full on a lot less food.
Plus, when you’ve eliminated potential allergens from your diet for a period of time, you get a chance to notice which foods might create a less-than-energized feeling in your body. (That only works of course if you follow up your fast or cleanse with a slow introduction of different foods.)
Fasting has been practiced by spiritual devotees since time immemorial as a way to grow less attached to the body, and theoretically closer to Spirit or God. And certainly many people find it easier to focus on spiritual matters when their stomach isn’t burbling and their brains aren’t running through the options on what to make for their next meal.
Many people notice an increase in energy levels while fasting, it makes sense because it takes a whole lot of vital energy for your body to digest, then assimilate, then eliminate the wild assortment of foods and other substances that permeate our modern lifestyles.
But don’t expect a blast of energy on the first day or two of a fast or detox plan.
When you begin an internal cleansing plan all those stored up toxins start dancing around. Many people feel tired and sluggish during the first few days, you might even experience a whole array of unpleasant symptoms (from headaches, to stinky body odors) as these toxins make their way out of the body. This crappy feeling is usually followed by a sensation of increased clarity and energy – even if you are not on a full fast.
Full fasts have fallen somewhat out of favor in recent years—and for good reason!
Fasting, especially just on water, can be extremely hard on your body. Just how hard depends on your individual physical constitution and how many toxins you are regularly exposed to.
The detox symptoms mentioned above are a lot worse if you’re not consuming any nutrients at all.
Even juice fasts can be too much of an intense cleanse for many people – myself included.
Unless your juices consist solely of kale, spinach, cucumber and other low-sugar vegetables, then you are actually getting a lot of natural sugars when you juice fast – especially if the fresh juices contain a lot of fruit. So, for those of us sensitive to sugar, this causes blood sugar spikes and crashes and can exacerbate a problem called insulin resistance, which can cause your body to actually hold onto fat! Seems weird with something as healthy as fresh juices, but there it is.
You, however, might find your own body thrives on a fresh juice cleanse during the springtime. It’s important to check out your own body’s response, rather than religiously follow some prescribed plan despite the fact that your body is screaming at you.
There are several more gentle ways to cleanse and detox to reset your body this season. Here are a few:
Gentle Detox Ideas
- Eat fresh greens, especially bitter greens. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that you can go out and pick some fresh new spring greens – by all means do so. Dandelion greens, stinging nettle (must be cooked), miner’s lettuce and purslane are all examples of greens that will support your liver and give your digestive system a boost.
Be sparing at first with the more bitter greens. They are so good for you, but they are an acquired taste. And if you want to get brave and go pick some nettles, be sure to wear thick gloves and/or use tongs. Boil or steam the nettles just like you would spinach or another type of greens. You’ll find plenty of fun recipes for using your nettles in the googles.
If you don’t have greens growing nearby—or if you have absolutely no idea where you would find them—you can sometimes get them in natural foods stores or even grocery stores, especially dandelion greens. Otherwise, go for fresh beets and beet greens, kale, or collards. Branch out and try a new type of greens or vegetable!
2. Do a gentle cleanse by eliminating some or all of the known food and beverage culprits for a week or several. Take a break from all types of sugar, including alcohol, juice and soda. Cut out flour products, gluten, corn, dairy products, and processed foods.
Some might want to eliminate meat as well, but be sure you are including some protein in your diet, especially if you go more than a week cleansing.
3. Focus on lots of fresh vegetables, moderate amounts lower sugar fruits (like berries, citrus and apples), and smaller amounts of whole grains and slower burning starch foods – quinoa, sweet potatoes, and garbanzo beans are examples.
Be sure to include some healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, and fresh nuts, and you might want to keep in some grass-fed beef. free range organic chicken or wild salmon.
After a detox or fast, you will likely experience a renewed appreciation for the simplest of foods. A handful of nuts will get your mouth watering, or a succulent winter squash will taste sublime.
A period of abstention from processed foods and other substances can definitely motivate you to choose wholesome and healthy foods once you go back to eating normally. For a while at least, those greasy potato chips just won’t sound so tasty.
Another excellent benefit to dietary cleanse or fast is that it allows you to let go of food addictions and cravings, and—with a little mental focus—you can decide to let them go forever.
Obviously, I’ve just scratched the surface of the possibility for doing a spring cleanse or detox to revitalize your internal systems. If you’ve never tried this, I definitely recommend consulting with a health coach, or another knowledgeable professional.
If you’re not sure how all this can work in your own life, it might be time to book a FREE Weight Release Assessment, where you’ll learn the 3 most important things stopping you from enjoying and a light and healthy body and the #1 thing you can do to start releasing the weight. Click HERE to find out more and book yours now!
And/or, I encourage you to download my new free report: Five Surprising Mistakes That Sabotage Your Weight Loss Efforts When You’re Over 45.
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