Spring is when new life begins, it is a good time for us to breathe some new life into ourselves as well. There are many benefits to a spring cleanse; increased energy, better digestion, fewer allergy symptoms, improved immune system function, better sleep and concentration, healthier skin and weight and much, much more. Spring cleansing doesn’t have to be hard, here are 12 Simple Tips for Spring Cleansing developed by Woodside Director of Wellness, Dr. Amanda Chaney to clean your body without strict regimes or harsh restrictions. Dr. Chaney specializes in Naturopathic Medicine, which emphasizes prevention, treatment and optimal health through therapeutic methods and substances to encourage inherent self healing. The practice of Naturopathic Medicine includes modern, traditional, scientific and empirical methods.
1) Spring Cleaning
Spring clean your home to remove common allergens such as dust and mold. Recycling old papers and donating unused items in the home will allow you to feel lighter and less cluttered.
2) C- Boost
Optimize your immune system before the seasonal allergies get you. Many people do well to increase their Vitamin C and bioflavonoids daily as they are natural anti-histamines. Many herbs are also helpful as anti-histamines without the drowsy side-effects common to other medicines.
3) Eat clean
Eating clean is a simple strategy for a healthy diet. Eliminate all the ‘trash’ foods – fried foods, sugary foods and all processed, pre-prepared, and packaged foods. Eat whole foods – a general guideline is if the food looks like it does in nature, you can have it!
4) If you can’t read it, you shouldn’t eat it!
Read the labels – even on the so-called ‘healthy’ foods. If the ingredient list is long, or contains words that you can’t pronounce, then you probably shouldn’t eat it. Chemicals and food preservatives often have long, complicated names and should be avoided to lower our body’s burden of toxic chemicals.
5) Eliminate or cut back on meat and dairy products.
Meat puts a strain on your kidneys and intestines and requires a lot of energy to digest. Dairy promotes mucus formation and is a common food allergy. Give your body a break and eliminate or cut back on these foods.
6) Choose healthy snacks and enjoy them frequently.
Eating frequently throughout the day helps to stabilize your blood sugar and maintain your energy throughout the day. Healthy snacks include: raw nuts (like almonds, walnuts, and brazil nuts), almond butter on celery sticks, carrot sticks and hummus, berry smoothies with almond milk, frozen or fresh grapes, and dates with pecans.
7) Do alternating showers every morning.
Most people choose to shower in water that is much too hot. Choose a temperature that is warm rather than hot to decrease dehydration. At the end of the shower alternate between hot water (hot enough to turn your skin pink – but not so hot that it burns) for one minute and cold water (cold but bearable) for 20 seconds. Repeat this sequence two or three times to encourage healthy blood and lymph circulation and promote detoxification.
8) Take deep, cleansing breaths three times per day.
The lungs are an important organ of elimination that are often overlooked during cleanses. Spend one minute three times per day taking in five deep, cleansing, slow breaths.
9) Shift your diet from warming foods to cooling foods.
In Chinese medicine, foods have either warming or cooling properties. Heavier carbohydrate foods, like potatoes and squash, that most of us enjoyed during the winter helped keep us warm. But now we want to cool off. Instead, eat cool and refreshing salads. Try to incorporate at least five different colors in every salad that you make. This can mean adding in foods that are different shades of green, bright-red tomatoes, orange carrots or purple beets. Be as creative as you want here.
10) Get a move on!
Greet the day with some morning movement. Get out and watch the sunrise, and build up a sweat. Or, end your day with a stress-reducing yoga or pilates class. Give your body the gift of movement to help you burn calories, stimulate circulation and support feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin.
11) Drink water.
Our bodies need at least 8 to 10 glasses of water (or more!) daily to help flush out toxins. Adding the juice of one organic lemon to a glass of water can add flavor, antioxidants, anti-cancer compounds and support the detoxifying actions of our kidneys, liver, and colon.
12) Drink green tea to help support your body’s natural metabolism.
Researchers have seen benefits with green tea’s ability to support a healthy cardiovascular system, and it may also help support healthy metabolism for those eating a well-balanced diet and getting the proper amount of exercise. The other benefit of green tea is that it’s chock full of polyphenols, with are antioxidants. Green does contain some caffeine, which will give you a bit more energy, so be careful not to drink more than a cup a day if sensitive to the stimulating effects of caffeine. Alternatively, you can take green tea in capsule form.