Spring has arrived! The fresh scents of flowers, the blooming hillsides, the warm sunshine and the cleansing rain. Even the most cynical of us appreciate the promise of new beginnings in spring. A time for spring cleaning, some new clothes, and maybe a new work out.
Spring can also be the perfect time for a cleanse or detox for your body. But the word ‘detox’ scares some people with the thought of expensive supplements and regimented programs.
So here are some simple ways to feel refreshed and rejuvenated from the inside-out with an easy version of a spring cleanse from a Chinese Medicine perspective.
In keeping with the philosophy of Chinese Medicine, the best time to cleanse is in springtime because of the connection between the organ systems and the seasons. Spring is connected to the liver physically and energetically.
Chinese Medicine’s view of the liver is that it allows energy to move freely throughout the body- called Liver Qi (chee). Moving the Liver Qi, energetically, helps to keep hormones balanced and your moods stable. ‘Stuck’ liver energy, called Liver Qi stagnation, is often caused by stress and can turn to depression, PMS, or anger.
Moving the Liver Qi with exercise or acupuncture helps keep us feeling balanced.
For women, healthy liver detoxification is essential for healthy hormone balance. The optimal liver function allows proper break down of estrogen for elimination. This is important for the prevention of estrogen dominance and harmful estrogen metabolites associated with hormone-related cancers.
While there are many supplements and products designed for detoxification or cleansing the liver, it doesn’t have to cost you anything but a trip to the grocery store or farmer’s market.
5 ways to Spring detox:
- Elimination diet: the gold standard for removing possible digestive irritants as well as allowing your body to rest and your liver to detox is the elimination diet. This includes eliminating alcohol, dairy, wheat, sugar and processed foods. After 30 days of eliminating these foods, add 1 back every 4 days and notice if there are any symptoms. Food intolerance is not a true allergy and can occur 1-3 days after the offending food is ingested. Symptoms and can look like headaches, stomach upset, loose stools, skin reaction, joint pain, or sinus congestion, to name a few.
- Elimination of toxins: cosmetics, cleaning products, pesticides and toxic people! Try 30 days of purity in eating, thinking and what you choose to allow into your life. Think about what food, conversation, TV show will nourish your body and mind. You will want to keep this going all year round!
- Eat your greens: Eating green plants strengthen liver function. The chlorophyll in green vegetables has excellent antioxidant properties and are alkalizing for your body. So show your body some love by piling those green veggies on your plate and eating a more plant-based diet. Broccoli ( and all cruciferous vegetables) is especially good for helping the liver remove excess estrogens from the body.
- Drink more water: Drinking enough purified water daily helps our bodies efficiently remove waste and toxins from our bodies. But can also can assist with weight loss. Water is a natural appetite suppressor, and it helps the body metabolize fat via the liver. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy as it affects many systems in the body operate smoothly. According to The National Academies of Science, the recommended amount for women is 9 cups a day (74 oz) and more if you are exercising vigorously.
Tip: Hot lemon water first thing in the morning is an easy & effective way to flush the liver daily.
- Move your Liver Qi: Exercise is the best way to move your Qi! Yoga, walking, running, cycling, dancing – or other activities that make you sweat – whatever feels good to you and your body! Set a goal to move your body at least 5 times a week. If you are new to exercising, start out 3 times a week and you will feel an immediate improvement in your energy and mood!
For the next 30 days, allow your body to detoxify- on its own- by removing potential food allergens, alcohol, dairy and toxins and adding more purified water, exercise and positive thoughts.
Each day set an intention for your detox. Be clear why you want to get healthier. Is it to have more energy? To lose weight? To feel more clear and balanced? When you connect with your body and mind with clarity, new habits can be incorporated into your daily lifestyle for a healthier, happier you!