Spring. It is finally here! Winters chill is loosing its grip and the cherry blossoms are showing off their warmer version of winter white. Spring is fresh. The grass is vibrant, the sky is bright (after the April showers of course) and it is time to take a deep breath, remove a layer of knit and expose parched skin to the spring sunshine. Something about this season, with all its new life and new beginnings urges us to clean—our homes, our closets, our pantry and for the sake of this article, our bodies! Spring is the perfect time to do a cleanse.
So, how do we cleanse? Well, your body is actually doing it right now sitting at your computer reading this article. It is a task at work as every cell in our bodies eliminates waste every moment of every day without us paying any attention to it.
So What’s the Point of a Cleanse?
If the idea of “doing a cleanse” conjures up images in your mind of sitting in a white towel, drinking herbal tonics and green seaweed sludge, perhaps I can give you a fresh perspective. Taking the time to do a cleanse can look different for everyone depending on their current level of health and what they wish to get out of it. The whole point of a cleanse is to first reduce the burden placed on our cleansing organs and second, to increase nutrition available so that the body can finally get to cleaning out toxins that were stored in times of overload.
Using the example of cleaning my own house, as a mom of two busy young kids I am about the task of cleaning all day long, yet if you were to pay me a surprise visit at any given time, you would most likely not describe my house as very clean. Once I have finished putting something away, there is another mess being created… constantly. Now, if someone were to come along and say “Nina, allow me to take your kids to the park for 5 hours while you clean up your house” it would be a different story! While not having to clean up after my sweet but messy kids my progress is accelerated, I could organize messes behind doors, put away the piles and address disarray in cupboards and drawers that have been, for the sake of more important tasks, hidden and ignored. …So, is anyone interested in that park date with my kids? :)
See, for some people, ‘doing a cleanse’ is all about consciously reducing the toxic burden to the body by simply eliminating the “messes” such as:
- Caffeine and stimulants
- Processed and non-organic foods with all their chemicals and additives
- Chewing gum
- Artificial sweeteners,
- Regular or Diet soda
- Chemicals found in antiperspirant and petroleum based hygiene products
By simply giving your body a break from the constant ‘messes’, you remove a great burden from the bodies cleanse organs, allowing them to perform a deep cleaning.
So as you read the above paragraph, you may be thinking to yourself “Well, I’m not so bad: I never eat sugar, or non-organic foods, I use natural hygiene products, I never consume caffeine, or other drugs…” If that’s you, you are rare and we applaud you. But let’s face it. We live in DC—one of the most stressful cities in the world, where we have some of the dirtiest tap water in the country, and in our air we are surrounded by fire retardants, jet fuel, pesticides and other toxic chemicals…the list could go on. So here is where the extra boost of nutrient-rich cleansing foods, drinks and practices can play a role in your “cleanse”: So to put a practical face to all this talk about cleansing, here are some techniques I encourage you to integrate into your plan.
Food Related Cleansing Measures You Can Take:
1. Greet your morning with a HUGE glass of water and an entire organic lemon squeezed into it. Highly alkalizing, your kidneys will thank you!
2. Go on a brisk walk daily…we are talking at a speed that would be more comfortable as a jog. Really swing your arms and take long strides. Movement stimulates your lymphatic system.
3. Replace your morning coffee with green tea. Coffee is acidic in the body, and unless it is organic, is doused with pesticides.
4. Follow my recipe for making super juice once a day, and drink on an empty stomach: Something green (kale, chard, romaine, spinach, celery etc.), something from the ground (carrots, beets, ginger, turnips, sweet potato etc.) something citrus (orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime) and an apple.
5. Drink Kombucha throughout the day, sip on 4 oz or so between meals.
6. Make sure everything you eat is organic. Everything. This means going out to eat at most restaurants is a no-no while you’re on a cleanse. Also, make sure any animal products you consume have the organic label and are pastured or grass-fed. This will reduce your body’s toxic burden tremendously!
Additional Cleansing Measures:
1. Infrared Sauna: While infrared heat penetrates deeply into your tissues, your internal body heat rises and causes you to sweat. You can sit in the sauna for up to an hour, unlike a traditional sauna, which heats the air around you, this is a great way to burn through tons of calories and sweat out toxins.
2. Ionic Foot Soak: the powerful benefit of negative ions to help your body fight free radicals can also rev up your body’s natural cleansing response.
3. Epsom Salt Baths: Salts draw out impurities through the skin. Try adding 1 TBS of freshly grated ginger root to help draw toxins to the skin’s surface.
4. Coffee Enemas: Yep, you read that right, (be brave) use fully leaded, room temperature organic coffee, enema style to improve the abilities of the liver and gallbladder to remove toxins and cancerous metabolic by-products by stimulating the flow of bile and increase blood supply to the intestines.
5. Gallbladder Flush: specific recipes involving citrus fruits and expeller pressed oils consumed on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
6. Body brushing: Body brushes can be found at “The Body Shop” or online. Before showering first take the brush and apply small strokes upward from your ankles to your neck. This helps stimulate the lymphatic system.
7. Deep breathing: Yoga, Pilates or any form of exercise to create deep breathing…we know a Personal Trainer or two who can help out with this one. J
A Word of Warning
Remember, cleansing requires a lot of energy from the body. Also, the cleansing effect can make some people feel sick if toxins are shunted out of the cells and into the blood stream for removal too quickly. Headaches, tiredness, and nausea are an indication that you may be cleansing too aggressively and you may need to back off a bit.
I you feel a cleanse sounds like something you need to do, but you are not sure how to go about it, and would like a more specific plan created just for you at your current level of health, I would love to do a consultation with you!
Happy Spring Cleaning to All…Here’s to your Health and Wholeness,
For Those Who Want to Know…Here are the Three Systems Hard at Work Cleansing your Body Everyday: The Liver, Kidneys and Lymphatic System
Think about the fact that every bite of food you take ends broken down to microscopically small particles and pumped through your blood stream. Before it can get there, it is the task of these three main players to ensure only the stuff that needs to be in the blood arrives and any garbage takes a detour.
First, the liver, the largest gland in the body uses 12% of our total energy supply to function and its task is a big one. Filtering out over 1½ quarts of blood per minute, including medications, vitamins, fats, toxins, sugar, dyes, colors, pesticides, preservatives and even high-fructose corn syrup gets the red light from him.
After initial inspection, this newly filtered blood from the liver is not quite ready to nourish your cells until the kidneys alkalize it. The process of digesting protein (think stomach acid) is very acidic, and it is up to the kidneys to alkalize it.
Finally, anything left that has made it past the first two filters gets swept up into the lymphatic system (the bodies drainage system), attacked by the immune system and hauled out to the nearest exit.