Time for a Spring Cleanse?

Time for a Spring Cleanse?

I was feeling a bit sluggish at the end of winter and felt the need to do a spring clean of my body as well as of my house and garden. I’m not normally a ‘cleanse’ or ‘detox’ kind of person – we eat well generally and I don’t live a toxic lifestyle at all.

When most people think of going on a cleanse or detox, they focus on everything they can’t eat or do and decide that it’s too hard and give up on the idea. As a herbalist I used to teach my students ‘always add before you subtract’. In terms of diet or nutrition, focus firstly on things to add. A good example of this is for someone who has sugar cravings, if they add more protein into their diet, the cravings will reduce without having to use an enormous amount of will power to stop eating sweet stuff. If you want to eat less bread, then focus on eating more vegetables (and yes potatoes are ok).

To assist cleansing and detoxification, I look at the nutrients, foods and herbs that will assist your liver and kidneys to function well, and focus primarily on adding things that will nourish the organs of elimination to support effective detoxification.

  • Here are some ideas of things you can do:
  • Drink more water. If you have a water filter, now is a good time to change the cartridge to ensure that you filter out the chlorine and other undesirable chemicals and particles
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice to your water
  • Make a vegetable soup or broth with celery, carrots, parsley and leafy green vegetables. You can add an onion and other vegetables if you like. Try to have 1 – 2 cups per day as a general liver and kidney cleanse.
  • Asparagus is a fantastic diuretic and kidney tonic. Eat asparagus to help remove metabolic wastes such as urea.
  • Drink herbal teas such as dandelion and burdock, or nettle tea, which are considered ‘blood cleansers’. Full of vitamins and minerals, they help remove metabolic wastes and boost your energy
  • Increase intake of fresh air and sunshine by going for walks. Avoid traffic pollution by walking in the early morning or late evening, or avoid heavy traffic areas. Walking increases circulation and oxygenation of the tissues to remove metabolic wastes and stimulate cellular metabolism.
  • Increase fibre intake. Insoluble fibre or ‘roughage’ such as shredded cabbage or apples helps give the gut a good scrub, and soluble fibre such as oatmeal, ground linseeds (LSA) or seaweed bind toxins to remove them from the body. It’s also a source of fuel for the good gut bacteria.
  • Eat lightly – less stodgy food such as pasta with creamy or cheesy sauces, meat and potato type meals, burgers, or pizza, and eat more fresh food – salads, stir fries, and fresh fruit. Protein that feels lighter includes fish and eggs rather than red meat or cheese.
  • Avoid all refined sugar, takeaway (fried) food, processed meat, and bakery foods.

My cleanse consisted of:

  • Having 2 cups of vegetable soup every day as mentioned above
  • Eating oranges and/or lemonades every day
  • Eating a salad every day
  • Eating lightly and only when hungry
  • Having a herbal tonic to support my liver and aid detoxification
  • Going to yoga class 2 – 3 times per week
  • Going for a walk or doing an exercise class every day
  • Drinking more water
  • Reducing coffee to one or two cups per day, and
  • Avoiding all sugar and processed food.

I noticed initially that my mouth felt really clean – no white or furriness on my tongue, and a slight residual taste of celery or parsley tinged with a hint of citrus. I was sleeping better, and my energy picked up – I had been feeling quite lethargic. My mood also improved and I felt lighter and happier. I did have a headache on day 5, and again after I introduced the herbal tonic.

Alongside my body cleanse, I’ve done a big clean up around my garden, in the laundry, bedroom, office and clinic. The kitchen bench that had become a dumping ground was completely cleared.

Spring is a natural time to do a detox. Energy tends to pick up, and you may want to reduce a bit of weight you’ve allowed to accumulate over winter.

If you’d like to get some assistance with creating a detoxification programme, or having a herbal formula designed to assist your spring cleanse, make an appointment to see me and I’ll do my best to help you be your best!


1 Comment

  1. Donna Masters

    Great article Helen, I will definitely try the vege soup daily.

Helen is a registered medical herbalist and naturopath with 15 years clinical and teaching experience. She aims to help her clients to create vibrant health through improved nutrition and better lifestyle practices, and uses herbal medicines to support healing processes. Her philosophy on health is to keep it simple and find easy ways to fit 'being healthy' into your life.

Helen is passionate about health and wellbeing, and understands metabolism and weight management as a holistic practice - working with physical, mental and emotional aspects of health, weight and body image.

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