Spring is the season where everything starts anew. Our days are longer and we want to shake off the winter blues. Spring cleaning is a well known term and typically refers to cleaning out our closets, basements and garages. It is also the best time of year to clean out our bodies.
Should we be doing a detox in the spring? The short answer is yes. The long answer is a bit more complicated than that.
Short answer, the spring is when we historically cleanse. It is starting to warm up and our bodies are more likely to release toxins so is the most effective season to cleanse.
But if you have a terrible diet, and you treat your body poorly, a 14 day detox once a year is not going to offset that. Instead, eating well (most of the time), exercising (most of the time) and decreasing your stress (as much as possible) would be more beneficial.
If you still want to add to the tenants of a healthy lifestyle there is a lot you could do to make sure your body is cleansing on a daily basis. These can be done all year long.
The organs of detoxification include your liver, kidneys, skin and lymphatic system. In women, our periods help to detoxify us. By supporting these systems daily or multiple times a week you can increase the amount of toxins that leave your body. Most of the suggestions are things you can incorporate into your diet on a daily or weekly basis. Some of the suggestions are things that you do and not consume.
Water: Water is the best thing that you can do to flush out all parts of your system. If you have access, use filtered water. Drink up to 3L a day but don’t feel you need to have that much. It all depends on your coffee and caffeinated beverage intake. You need to make sure that you are drinking ½ – L more water than your caffeinated beverages so that you don’t end up dehydrated. All of your detoxification organs need water to function properly so your body uses a lot during the day.
Lemon water: The juice of 1/3 of a lemon in a cup of warm water first thing in the morning helps to mobilize the toxins your liver has stored overnight. A second option is using 1-2 tsp of apple cider vinegar in the same way. Both suggestions support digestion too.
Herbal Tea: These can be counted towards your total water intake so if you like them, go for it! I could write a separate blog on herbal teas, but for now I will focus on those good for your uterus, kidneys and liver. For the uterus: Red raspberry leaf, ginger, yarrow, green tea. For the Kidneys: dandelion (root and leaf), burdock root, cleavers. For the Liver: chicory root, peppermint, yellow dock (also great for the skin and lymphatic system) and dandelion. Most of these you can get from the company Traditional Medicinals (found at health food stores or Superstore) or loose from a health food store or online company. The last one is not a “tea” that you buy as leaves, but one you can make with turmeric, including turmeric milk. See recipe below!
Fermented food: The good bacteria in these foods helps your intestinal lining to heal and improves your liver function. You can try making your own fermented foods. These include sauerkraut, kimchi and water kefir. I’ve included some links below. You can also purchase locally made fermented foods at your farmers markets, health food stores and Local Source Market on Agricola Street. Some brands I like include The Cultured Coconut, Cabbage Patch Kimchi, and anything by Springhouse (at the Seaport Farmers Market).
Greens: These vegetables are high in fibre as well as vitamins and minerals that we might not otherwise get. This includes zinc, selenium, glutathione, and sulphur compounds. They help to neutralize toxins and help your liver and kidneys to function more effectively. Mix it up so you don’t get bored: spinach, kale, collard, mustard greens, parsley, cilantro, cabbage and bok choy. If you have thyroid issues, it is better to cook your greens and eat them that way.
Fibre: Fibre helps to bind toxins in the intestines and flush them out with your bowel movements. The means they avoid the organs of detoxification because they are no longer there! You need a mix of soluble and insoluble fibres. These include veggies and fruit, ground flax and chia, nuts, seeds and whole grains. The trick with fibre is finding out the balance for your system. It can take some trial and error but don’t give up! There is the occasional person who is fibre intolerant but often it is a matter of imbalance or not slowly increasing your fibre over time. Fibre also helps to regulate hormones.
Turmeric: This is the spice that gives curry it’s yellow color, but not it’s taste. It is a herb that supports all of the organs of detoxification. It is also one of the most potent anti-inflammatory herbs for the entire body. As above, you can make it into a tea or milk but it can also be taken as a supplement or used in foods. It isn’t just for curry, I sprinkle it in salad dressing, on stir fries and in smothies. You don’t taste it, as long as you don’t put too much.
Movement: This gets your lymphatic system pumping and the toxins will move out of your system faster. You can walk, run, hike, bike, lift weights, do yoga, jump on a trampoline or stretch. It doesn’t have to be for long but make the effort to move often during the day to keep everything flowing. It can also help bowels, joints and your concentration. If you are interested in exploring movement in a different way check out: https://nutritiousmovement.com/blog/.
Dry skin brushing: This increases the circulation and the effects of the lymphatic system. If you have unexplained swelling on your body (anywhere) then you need to get the lymph system moving, toxins will pool in that area. If you are interested in trying it out check out this link: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12675/a-stepbystep-guide-to-dry-skin-brushing.html
All of the above suggestions can be used daily or weekly or monthly. You don’t need to incorporate 9 new things into your routine each day. Pick and choose the ones that appeal to you or seem easy to integrate into your days. If you still aren’t sure I suggest trying to focus on the water and movement to get you started.
turmeric Tea: https://www.joyoushealth.com/26656-blog-super-easy-turmeric-ginger-tea