Photo Monica Marcu – Cherry blossoms are a sign of spring in many southern locales.
There is a different odor in the air! Maybe it is the earth shaking the heavy, snowy coat and growing fresh green "hair", the first flowers and buds covered with aromatic resin coming out into the warmer sun Spring is (almost) here, and, among the many activities we like to embark at this time is the cleaning of the house and yard. What about our bodies? During the colder season, we tend to spend more time indoors, avoiding the elements, maybe gained some extra pounds, feel a bit heavier and sluggish. Well, the lack of exercise and strenuous movement, coupled with heavier foods and lots of meat can cause an accumulation of residues in the body, some call this process a "toxic buildup". If your tissues are "clogged", you may feel more fatigued, congested, achy, and you may have a thick, white or yellow coating on your tongue in the morning. These symptoms are more evident in elderly or people with chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, and others. While the conventional medicine does not always recognize this process, there is plenty of data in integrative (or complementary) medicine to support its presence in most modern people, while all religions advise a period of cleansing or even fasting to help eliminate the toxins and restore the full functions of the body. I have tried myself along the years various methods of detoxifying and found, indeed, that after some of them I regained my clarity of mind, energy, and strength. It is wise to believe that we should cleanse our hard working bodies, after all we periodically check, clean, oil our cars. Also, with the age, some of our normal processes of metabolic waste elimination tend to be slower and less efficient. But springtime is an appropriate time to cleanse and fine-tune our bodies and minds! We are more active outside, so we sweat more sweating is a good way to detox, that is why many populations employ sauna regularly and swear by it.
According to one of the most ancient forms of medicine, thousands of years old but still practiced today not only in India, where it originates, but in many parts of the world the Ayurvedic medicine – Spring is the best time of year to detox and recalibrate ourselves. There are new plants and herbs coming in our gardens or forests – many with medicinal properties, or mineralizing and energizing virtues. By providing fresh, vitamin-rich plants we can support our physiological processes and speed up the elimination of residues from cells and tissues.
While the types of methods and intensity of cleansing should be a personal choice, I will share with you some main methods that could benefit most of us, at one time or another.
Drink plenty of fresh water. We benefit here from a truly outstanding quality water, enjoy it! The best way to support elimination of toxins (through the normal processes such as urination, transpiration) is providing plenty of water to the tissues, and doing it regularly, a few times a day and especially after intense physical or intellectual effort. It is believed that the number one nutrient deficiency in the N America is water deficiency, and indeed, many people walk around dehydrated for long time.
Start every day with a glass of room temperature water with a full lemon squeezed in it. Apple cider vinegar is also helpful one spoon in a glass. This will help clean out the liver, prepare our system for digestion, and hydrate those tissues. Continue drinking water or water-based beverages throughout the day. Make detoxifying teas with dandelion roots, they work very well.
Try eating regularly, three to four meals a day. These include fruits and light snacks. Add liver-supporting foods such as dandelion leaves, green onions, stinging nettles (boiled in soups), raw garlic, grapefruit, beets, carrots, artichokes, etc. You can also add various spices such as turmeric, cayenne and coriander since they assist with digestion. Include more soups with fresh plants and greens, but exclude sauces, fried foods, especially meat.
Eat light, avoid dairy, white sugar, rice or flour, and other processed foods. These foods are harder to digest, offer too many "empty calories" and few vitamins. Include in exchange brown rice and whole wheat (if you tolerate gluten), organic oats, and whole flour to make your own cereals or bread- whenever possible. Skip coffee but replace with green tea it still offers caffeine, if you really crave it – but with many plant-based beneficial antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
Eat a light and early dinner, at least three house before going to bed. Dinner should be the lightest meal of the day. Again, I prefer soups and teas, fruits and colorful salads that include all available fresh plants of the Spring, and some blueberries (of your frozen stock), raisins, spices.
Move and sweat as much as possible, breathe deeply. Forget at least for some days about the antiperspirant, this defeats the purpose of elimination of toxins. At least during the weekends, skip the "deo" and antiperspirant and allow the armpits to breath and work for you. There is a good reason why our underarms sweat! When walking briskly or exercising, practice deep breathing exercises to detox the lungs and bronchi deeply. Various cultures or yoga practices advice certain specific breathing rhythms, you can learn more if you take the time and they will be very efficacious!
Sleep earlier and at least 7-8 hours. Sleep allows the best recovery and detox of body and mind.
Brush your dry and clean skin with a natural hair brush in the morning. Start from the neck and go down, but follow the blood flow as it goes from all extremities to the heart. Finish in the region of lower abdomen. Feel the energizing rush! The skin becomes softer in time, and this massage stimulates the immune system and elimination of toxins through the skin our largest organ, vitally important for detox.
I will delve into more specific detox techniques and easy methods with tools we can find in our homes in the following weeks. Spring is a great time to employ the power of nature to purify our bodies and minds. There are too many wonderful methods to be covered all here.