Early spring is the best season of the year to help boost your immunity, kick those allergies to the curb, and feel more vibrant and energetic come summer.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the wood element is related the spring season and the detoxification organs of the liver and gallbladder. As we detoxify through cleansing we also need to make sure that other parts of the body - especially those involved in secretion - are well supported. Otherwise, we may experience toxic backups with symptoms such as constipation, digestive disturbances, respiratory congestion, headaches, and others.
I recommend that your cleanse last 7-10 days, which is optimal for most people.
The basis of this cleanse eliminates foods that have strong pro-inflammatory actions. At least once a year it is best to rest your digestive system from high fat and and concentrated proteins, certain kinds of oil, and nutritionally depleted foods such as sugar, refined flour, fast foods, etc.
What does the cleanse do for you?
Alkalinizes your system promoting the oxygenation and release of waste and stored toxins.
Provides support for all your organs and systems of detoxification and elimination
Accesses nutrients to deeply vitalize at the cellular level
Balances blood glucose levels
Reseeds the intestines with beneficial bacteria
Improves bowel transit time
Heals and minimizes intestinal permeability
Improves immune function
Removes heavy metals, pesticides, chemical toxins and bacterial toxins
What to Eat During the Cleanse
1. Focus on Organic Vegetables
Fresh, organic and seasonal vegetables should serve as the foundation for your cleanse. Emphasize green leafy vegetables, especially bitter greens such as dandelion greens, endive, parsley, beet, kale, chard, artichoke, mustard greens, spinach, endive, bok choy, arugula, and mixed salad greens. Preparation: raw, juiced, or steamed, baked, lightly sautéed in olive oil.
2. Boost Liquid Consumption
This can be in the form of water, herbal teas, smoothies, vegetable soups or broth. Try to drink a minimum of eight, 8oz glasses of filtered water per day. Water in plastic bottles should be avoided as it often contains unsafe levels of toxins that have leeched into the water from the packaging.
3. Eat Lean Protein
Eat lean sources of protein as a way to help keep your blood sugar levels as stable as possible. This includes fish, chicken (without the skin), sprouted seeds and beans. Cooked lentils are easily digestible and serve as a great staple during the cleanse.
4. Use Healthy Oils
Focus on having olive oil, flax, avocado and coconut oils. Optimal levels of oil for most people would be around 4 tbsp. of the above per day. Olive oil and flax are better eaten without heat added by lightly spreading over food.
5. Starches/Gluten Free Grains
These include rice, quinoa, millet, and amaranth. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yucca root, butternut and other squashes are also a great way to get healthy starches.
6. Go Easy on Fruits
Fruits contain a high amount of natural sugar and therefore should be used in moderation during a cleanse as one of the goals of the cleanse is to rebalance blood glucose levels. Apples, pears, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, and citrus eaten separately are all
appropriate choices during a cleanse. Avoid concentrated fruit juices and all other fruits during this time.
6. Spices and Condiments
Especially ginger, fermented vegetables, cayenne, curry, turmeric, nutmeg and cinnamon may be added to your dishes for variety and for their positive effects on digestion and detoxification.
Foods to Avoid
You've got this! After the cleanse is over try not to rush back into these things all at once. It can be tempting, but will cause digestive upset.
Gluten containing grains and grain products: wheat, rye, oats, barley
Corn and all products containing corn
Sugar, molasses, artificial sweeteners
Fruit juices. Fruits contain a high amount of natural sugars, and therefore should be used in moderation during a cleanse as one of the goals of the cleanse is to rebalance blood glucose levels. Avoid concentrated fruit juices and all other fruits during this time.
Coffee (caffeinated tea is okay)
A Process of Elimination
You may need some assistance to eliminate while on a cleanse. The high fiber content of an increased vegetable intake may not be adequate. If not, then it is vital that you add a good fiber source to your regimen, because a sluggish bowel will produce a toxic effect even if you are eating healthy, cleansing foods. Fresh ground flax seed, rice bran, or psyllium can be used. In addition, I recommend using “SP Cleanse,” (what I carry in my clinic) which is a comprehensive digestive formula that can assist in regulation of the bowels as well as cleansing the GI tract of unhealthy bacteria and fungus. You should have bowel movements twice per day while doing a cleanse. Otherwise, toxins have a chance to get reabsorbed back into the body from your GI tract.
Beyond diet, one of the best things that you can do to optimize your cleanse is to exercise. The beautiful spring weather provides us all with ample opportunity for outdoor activity. Ideally moderate exercise is done 3-5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes. However, a simple 30 minute walk each day can go a long way toward boosting your health.
And that is all, my loves! If you have questions or would like support around the cleansing process I am glad to respond.
With love, peace, and lots of healthy elimination,
Monica Walters, L.Ac.