As the word “spring” implies, it is about movement — springing forth. As the trees grow green again, the tulips and flowers sprout, we see all around us that spring is about renewal. So many of our problems in Western society come from excesses, that a period of cleansing and detoxification is the perfect rite of spring for the body. A detox can bring renewal to your body, as you let go of the old, that which was retained during the period of nourishment and internalization that winter is, and bring forth a cleaner, fresher more vibrant you. Detoxification is about reducing your intake of toxins and improving elimination. My hope is that this post will inspire and motivate you to begin your spring detox, and make it into a yearly ritual.
First Step – Elimination
The first step in your spring detox should be about eliminating those things that are harmful to your body. Before you can renew, you must remove your body’s burden – this is what detoxing is all about. I challenge you to take a week off of caffeine, alcohol and sugar. If these substances are a heavy part of your daily routine, ease into it slowly, reducing the amount by half every 2 – 3 days, until it’s out of your system. This will help minimize the typical withdrawal symptoms one would experience. You can ease into your spring detox this way, and prepare for the most intensive part of the detox.
Second Step – Preparing the Mind
Detox your mind as well. Begin by eliminating all negative thoughts. Don’t allow any thoughts that are negative to linger too long. It is amazing what happens when you draw attention to the steady stream of thoughts that come and go, and how many of those may be self-destructive or critical or negative in some way. Let go of them, wash them out, as the incoming tide washes away footprints on the seashore. Replace each negative thought, with a positive affirmation. Detoxing is as much a state of mind, as it is for the body.
Now that you are in the detox mind, remember to drink a lot of water. It is amazing how many of us are walking around dehydrated. Our bodies hold up to 70% of its weight in water. Our cells need water to function properly. Without this essential component of life, toxins build up and accumulate within the body. Drink at least 1.6 L per day during your detox phase, it will help you cut out the cravings, and make the elimination phase easier to stick with.
Third Step – Elimination Part II
Now you are ready for the next elimination step. Remove all wheat, dairy, corn, soy and eggs from your diet. You may feel I just wiped out your entire diet, but don’t despair. This is part of your internal spring cleaning. In order to do that, we need to eliminate the most common food sensitivities. These foods tend to increase body acidity and mucous production. Eliminating these foods will improve elimination and lessen the build-up of toxins in your body as you prepare to clear out.
The Detox Plan
You have reduced the toxic burden on your body. Now you are ready for the detoxification itself.
Upon rising: A tall glass of filtered, room temperature water with half a lemon squeezed in it.
For Breakfast: Bowl of fresh fruit, followed by one bowl of cooked whole grains – brown rice, quinoa, millet or amaranth. For flavoring, use fruit juice or a little sea salt.
Lunch: 2 medium bowls of steamed vegetables. Save the water used for steaming, as it is full of nutrients, and you can drink it later. Use fresh spring vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kale, chard, asparagus, and cabbage. Another option is a raw foods salad, with a mix of dark leafy greens, and some bitters, like watercress, endive, or radicchio. Use a simple salad dressing of lemon juice and spices.
Dinner: Bowl of steamed vegetables or salad (similar to lunch). If you feel tired, add some protein here in the form of fish, free-range chicken, or beans.
After dinner: No more food, just water and herbal teas.
You can follow this detox plan for 2 – 3 days, or up to 5 – 7 days.
Other Nutrients and Supplements that can aid in body detoxification:
- Vitamin C, NAC, chlorophyll, Alpha-lipoic acid
- Garlic, Echinacea, dandelion root tea
Sweat it Out!
Finally, the missing ingredient to this process – sweating. One of the best ways to get rid of toxins from the body is to sweat them out. It’s springtime, so go outdoors for your exercise. Draw up a sweat with a run or a long bike-ride on a sunny day. Or head to the sauna for some intensive sweating. The best sauna to use with the most therapeutic benefits is the far-infrared sauna.
After the Detox
Ease into your “normal” dietary routine. You may find that you like the way the detox has made you feel, so incorporate some of these good habits into your dietary plan. This can be the beginning of a redefined lifestyle – a new you, a new mindset of healthier, more whole living. You may find it necessary to detox your apartment or home to reflect the less cluttered, cleaner you. Ride the wave, and make the changes inside and out!