5 Cleansing Tips for a Wellness Boost
By Jenny Nelson
Spring is a very traditional time for a cleanse. It’s an instinctive behavior that is deeply rooted in our bodies, as we tend to consume heavier, more acidic, and mucus forming foods in the winter months, so as the days lengthen and we transition to warmer weather, our bodies naturally want to lighten and expand. It’s a time to move toward the light, to stretch, grow, and shed our winter layers—both emotionally and physically.
It’s amazing how all of nature works to assist us in this expansion and lightening process. Everywhere we look there are new growths of bitter greens such as dandelion, nettles and purslane pushing up through the ground. Their detoxifying and liver-supporting properties make them absolutely perfect for a spring cleanse and a very simple and inexpensive addition to our salads and juices. One person’s weeds are another’s spring tonic!
We don’t have to necessarily jump into a full blown fast or detoxification program to experience the healing and re-energizing benefits of beginning to simplify. As we naturally begin to eat lighter foods, and probably even naturally lessen the amount of foods taken in, we can begin incorporating some simple steps into our daily routines for these same benefits.
1. Let go of salty, heavy foods, especially red meat.
Foods to avoid as they are acid (and mucus) forming: nuts and seeds (unless soaked and sprouted and always organic!), dairy products, alcohol, refined sugars and flours, red meat, and caffeine. This will be the most beneficial thing you can do as the weather begins to warm. And it should actually be the easiest since when we begin to really listen to our bodies, we might realize that the foods we crave in the spring are lighter and fresher—tending towards the new salad ingredients that have been absent all winter and feeling drawn to bright, vibrant, fresh foods to create changes in our internal environment that correspond to the changes in the outside world.
2. Incorporate all the green plants you can—especially local, organic, young, and fresh ones.
You can grow your own sprouts (for eating) and wheatgrass (for juicing). Add cleansing foods to your daily diet as much as possible, such as herbal tea, fresh lemon juice in water (warm or room temperature), fresh vegetable juices, raw fruits and vegetables (with the exception of bananas as they can be a bit more mucus forming and high in sugar), steamed vegetables (leafy and root), sprouts, sea vegetables (nori, wakame, dulse, hijiki, arame, kelp, irish moss) and wild blue green and micro algaes (spirulina, chlorella, crystal manna), filtered or spring water, vegetable broth, and cooked non-gluten grains (quinoa, amaranth, millet, brown rice).
All of these foods are nourishing and satiating while cleansing and alkalizing in our bodies. Raw onions and garlic have wonderful anti-microbial and anti-parasitic properties and can easily be added to any of your daily meals. Support the liver and gallbladder, which are the organs that are activated in the spring when winter fat and mucus begin to clear out of the system, with pungent herbs like mint, basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill and bay.
3. Incorporate a daily probiotic
Taking probiotics daily creates healthy intestinal flora and boosts our overall immune system and serotonin production since 80% of our immune system resides in our gut and most of the serotonin production occurs there as well. To stay healthier and feel happier, a probiotic of at least 16 billion live organisms per serving will be incredibly beneficial.
4. Add in at least 30 minutes of some form of movement every day.
Walking, yoga or some form of stretching, jumping on a rebounder, doing somersaults or cartwheels in the new grass, climbing a tree, hiking a hill or a mountain, running, gathering dandelion greens, digging up new garden beds. . . the list goes on and on and doesn’t have to include an expensive gym membership or special equipment. Our bodies are the most effective cleansing tools we have. How we move them and get them to sweat creates space for toxins to move out of our system, we lose that extra winter weight, we feel lighter and looser, and our overall health improves immediately.
5. Lighten up your thoughts.
This is a simple one, but extremely important and often overlooked. As the winter darkness fades and everything begins to sprout, blossom and become new again, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to push our thoughts through the dark as well where they’ve been gathering strength and roots. This provides an inner detox with amazing benefits!
Five minutes of meditation in the morning when you wake up and again at night before going to sleep easily fits into our daily lives and can become one of the most life-changing habits. Take a moment to close your eyes and really be grateful for your meals—breakfast, lunch and dinner, no matter where you are. I was recently at a restaurant with friends and we joined hands and thanked the farmers, the chef, the servers, and each other for the food and energy that culminated in that meal. These things are simple but have enormous ripple effects. Laugh, be curious, learn something new whenever you can, teach someone else something new, put yourself in someone else’s shoes and give five different people a compliment every day. Remember that each of us is a unique, strong, compassionate and beautiful being, and we can make the biggest difference in the world by being authentic, hopeful, and kind (especially to ourselves). Creating vibrant health and peaceful thoughts become the greatest gift we can give to the world.
Jenny Nelson is a Wellness Specialist & Coach for Dr. Alejandro Junger’s Clean Program.