Spring is here! Well, almost. At this altitude (our homestead is at about 8500 feet) we are accustomed to fickle spring weather – one minute it’s sunny and warm, the next it’s a blizzard. No matter what the weather does, however, spring is still springing from the tender green shoots pushing up through the snow to hearty pink buds glazed with early morning frost. We are using each added minute of daylight to open our windows, shake out our rugs, sweep off the patio, and plant our gardens.
Spring cleaning isn’t just for the broom and dustpan. You probably get that long overdue oil change, de-clutter the closet, “defrag” the computer. But what about your body? Like it or not, dust builds up in those hard-to-reach corners and crevices of your body throughout the winter. Whether it’s excess mucous in your sinuses or a little extra fat around your waist, our bodies have spent the whole winter accumulating and storing. Take the opportunity this spring to clean out the corners and crevices with a cleanse.
Why cleanse? The liver, lungs, bowels and skin are the primary organs for elimination. But too much hard work with no break can wear down these organs, making them function at less than optimal levels. According to Dr. Linda Page author of Detoxification, “It’s a way to recharge, rejuvenate, and renew…Anybody can benefit from a cleansing. The body is coming out of what might be called hibernation. It’s a way you can jump-start your body for a more active life, a healthier life.”
Think about your car – when it’s running less efficiently, shifting slower, revving higher, your gas mileage goes down, you notice a few extra squeaks or clinks as it runs. Then you look at that sticker on the windshield and you say to yourself, “sheesh…I guess it’s time to go get a tune up.” Well, your body works in a similar way. When you notice a few extra cracks and pops when you go to stand up, when it’s harder to get out of bed in the morning, when your hands get stiff and sore – maybe from the cold? maybe from the change in weather? – your body will definitely benefit from doing a cleanse.
I know what you’re thinking – oh no! Nothing but prune juice for three days? Misery! Or, I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a complicated detox program! Or, I don’t have time to juice all my meals and “chew” all my juice…eew! Fortunately, none of that is really necessary. Here are three easy, effective and inexpensive ways to reboot your body this spring:
Drink more water. Water is the essential medium for removing toxins and waste at the cellular level. When you substitute a glass of clean, cool, fresh water for a cup of coffee or a bottle of beer, you are not only giving your adrenals, liver and kidneys a break, but it’s like giving those organs a cleansing bath. Drinking more water helps to wash out that accumulated waste.
Eat more fiber. Accumulated waste is like sludge in the body. It builds up and becomes harder to move out. While drinking more water is like giving your organs a refreshing bath, adding more fiber to your diet is like using a scrub brush. Including brown rice, beans and raw vegetables adds a few extra grams of fiber to your daily intake (the FDA recommends 25 grams of fiber per day). To make your cleanse more effective, however, try taking a fiber supplement that has psyllium husk or oat bran. Fiber supplements contain non-digestible carbohydrates and as much as 9 grams of fiber per serving. Start with a small amount and gradually increase to the recommended dose to minimize any discomfort.
Give something up. What is your favorite comfort food? Is it fried, glazed or battered? Or, think about a substance that you can’t live without, but you know it’s hard on your body like coffee, alcohol, or tobacco. If you regularly bombard your system with nutrient-poor, chemical-laden or downright toxic substances, your body will eventually wear down. What else do you expect your body to do with all that extra sugar or fat or caffeine? It gets stored somewhere, and accumulates until it makes you sick. To initiate deep cleansing, slowly taper off your intake until you can eventually give up entirely that one thing that is keeping you from optimal health. Give your lungs and sinuses a break by giving up smoking. One of the first things anybody notices when they quit smoking is the amazing amount of colorful “crud” they start coughing up – this is the body’s way of cleansing itself from years of accumulated toxic exposure. Think about your liver, too. Giving up alcohol is another way to cleanse from the inside out. It is common to experience flu-like symptoms when you give up drinking – sweating, chills, weakness. But eventually, the symptoms subside, and your body is stronger and healthier for it. Or just give up sugar for a few days, and notice the difference for yourself.
Set aside one weekend this spring to make the most of your cleanse. According to Dr. Page, “as your body gets lighter and lighter through the weekend, you can feel what’s going on. You’re getting rid of toxins accumulated during the winter. Your body is starting to release fat, those extra pounds.” Spring is springing, so follow nature’s lead and clean out those hard-to-reach corners and crevices with a spring cleanse.
Consult with your doctor before making any dietary changes or starting a new dietary regimen.