Easy Spring Detox
The sun is shining, the sprouts are popping out of the ground and the buds are just waiting to burst with new spring flowers! I LOVE this time of year! Everyone is coming out of winter hibernation to clean up their gardens, play in the yard and the winds of Spring time are bringing in a new burst of energy to get us all moving again. Within Traditional Chinese Medicine we look at Spring as the time of the wood element with an emphasis on new growth. Just as the earth nourishes dormant seeds and springs forth new life this time of year, spring is the perfect time to take advantage of spring’s activating energy by getting outside to enjoy the warmer, longer, and brighter days. Eating in harmony with the season will ensure that your body can regenerate and bloom this spring.
Like many people, I tend to eat heavier meat and potato meals during the wet cold winter months and by the time Spring rolls around my digestive tract is pretty weighed down. While the closets and cobwebs are being cleared in the house, I find a simple cleanse of my body to be the energy boost I need to head into all my Spring projects.
It isn’t necessary to fast in order to cleanse your body but you will want to adjust your diet to be in tune with the season. A lighter diet will provide the energy we need to burst forth into Spring but will lighten our body’s load so it can busy clearing out waste.
So let’s kick our bodies natural detoxification systems into high gear! How does the body naturally detox ? Simple. By eliminating waste through poo, pee and sweat!
- Go Green: Start your body’s spring cleanse by adding more greens – especially dark leafy greens such as bok choy, kale, chard, spinach and collards. Young, leafy greens such as baby lettuces or dandelion leaves and seasonal veggies such as asparagus and peas are ideal for a spring time diet too. Vegetable broths and steamed veggies will give you energy and calm the nervous system while clearing out the Liver channel–our main meridian of the season!
- Drink Up : Ice cold water is hard on your stomach, so go for room temp or warm water. Incorporate herbal teas that also help us detoxify : dandelion, green tea with mint, chrysanthemum tea, or “detox” teas from the store. You can sip these teas cold instead of hot for a cooling effect. Try adding a pinch of sea salt and some sliced lemon and orange to your water for extra refreshing, and extra hydrating mineral water. Try to drink 1/2 your weight in ounces of water or herbal tea ex: 100 lbs = 50 oz of water. And yes, I DO want you running to the loo every hour or so : )
- Lighten the Meat and Carb Load : You may naturally crave meat and carbs less with the warmer season, so instead of pasta with marinara choose a salad with seared fish instead. Try to limit red meat to 2 meals a week, and increase fish and chicken. Take 3 nights off from meat all together and go veggie!
- Go Raw : A 100% raw diet is not for everyone, spring time is an appropriate time for most people to incorporate more raw fruits and veggies. Not only will these foods feel less dense, but, the enzyme and mineral content in raw produce will give your body a wellness boost.
- Naturally Sweet : Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and pineapple OH MY! Soothe your sweet tooth with the fruits that are now in season.
- Move that Hot Bod! : Time to get out there and break a sweat at least 3-4 times a week. Whatever you enjoy! A brisk walk, jog, hike in the woods, playing chase with your kids in the park. Try to get outside so you can to boost some Vitamin D while you are at it.
Typically I reserve fasts for patients with medical conditions such as PCOS, food allergies or other digestive disorders BUT I hear ya! You just want a bit more to get purged from the guts. Ok, don’t go starving yourself just yet! Try this detox broth that can be found in Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions” cookbook— click on the book link on the left side of the page if you want to learn more.
This combination of veggies is thought to be ideal for restoring acid-alkaline imbalance as well as sodium-potassium balance to the body. Perfect for recovery from stress and adrenal fatigue or a weekend of over-indulgence, this soup is recommended for patients with back and ligament problems. Try eating it for breakfast as a cleansing start to the day or under a practitioners guidance use this for a one or more day cleanse.
- 4 medium zucchini sliced
- 1 pound string beans, ends removed
- 2 sticks celery chopped
- 1-2 bunches parsley, stems removed
- Fresh herbs such as thyme or tarragon tied together with string (optional)
- 1 Quart filtered water
Boil for about ½ hr, remove herbs and blend into a thick soup. Season with sea salt if desired.
For a more culinary- and slightly less cleansing version that is still great for adrenal fatigue, back pain, and ligament issues, use chicken broth instead of water and add 4 tablespoons of tomato paste and ½ teaspoon of paprika.