by Ann Zimmerman, LAc.
Have you suddenly gotten the urge to clean up your house, start a new project, reorganize closets, or begin a cleanse? This is the natural order of things in the spring. However, if you have not gotten this urge and are feeling cluttered with stuff, stuck, indecisive and unable to move forward with projects, it’s time to do some spring cleaning in both your home and in your body.
Traditionally, in many cultures around the world there has been some type of cleansing or fasting process, specifically in the spring to help lift the heaviness of winter (physically, emotionally and spiritually). If we don’t purposely cleanse or fast as spring arrives, the body may naturally begin cleansing itself from excess oils, fats, salt and animal proteins by releasing a flu or cold. Some people may also suffer with odd aches and pains. This is the body’s way of cleaning out by releasing excess toxins.
Cleansing typically leaves the body with more energy, speeds up the healing process and reduces aches and pains. After a long winter, our “normal” can become well below an average quality. By taking the time to be intentional with your diet and lifestyle you can be reminded of how potentially good you can feel. Spring is a wonderful time to take on this kind of work because of the abundance of fresh food, mild weather, and natural inclination to move the body again after winter’s hibernation.
We can aid the body through this natural cleansing process by eating lightly prepared meals (steamed, sautéed, blanched and raw foods), less food overall, eliminating animal products for specific periods of time and by avoiding the most common allergens. The most common ingredients that trigger food allergies/sensitivities are; *Milk, *Eggs, *Peanuts, *Tree nuts, *Fish, *Shellfish, *Soy, and *Wheat. Typically, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar are also recommended to be avoided during a cleanse. This gives your digestive track a vacation and allows you to refill your energy reserves without wasting unnecessary energy on breaking down foods that are problematic for your body. Drinking plenty of clean water is also key to help flush out the toxins the body dumps during a cleanse.
If you are new to cleansing or always had an aversion to the idea there are many ways to do this that have varying degrees of commitment. You certainly do not need to go hungry, stop working, or feel terrible to do a cleanse. Depending on your willingness to make changes or on the degree of improvement you are wanting to achieve different options will be appealing.
The simplest option is to avoid things you know you eat or drink in excess or foods that make you feel bad every single time. A good period to avoid or limit things is 3 weeks. If you are feeling more committed to a cleanse then I typically recommend try an elimination diet cleanse. This means removing the common listed allergens, refined sugars, alcohol, and limiting caffeine to green tea or mate. This cleanse is usually done for 3 weeks and during that time it is recommended to take a high protein cleansing powder that helps your body flush stored toxins. Our favorite is Thorne Research’s Medi-clear cleanse. This cleanse can be done while doing your normal life. You can eat as much as you want, but not everything you want. Typically, by the end of the cleanse people feel a whole lot better and are less symptomatic on all levels. It serves as a reset to your habits. After a cleanse, many people will continue with improved habits and sometimes making lasting changes or slowly drifting back to old habits.
If you have questions about cleansing or would like guidance on how to get started give our clinic a call. And best wishes with the home and closet projects.