We’ve had a long winter! And, finally, this coming March 21st marks the official beginning of Spring! Spring is a time when we see huge transformations in nature. These transformations are also taking place within us, as our body goes through a natural cleansing process, getting rid of accumulated toxins and weight we may have accumulated throughout the winter months. In Spring, most of us start to wake up earlier, get more fresh air outdoors, exercise more, and crave lighter foods. These are all natural changes that help our body to cleanse itself.
Since our liver and gallbladder play a key role in cleansing and renewing our body, Spring is a great time to support these organs by following some simple nutritional and lifestyle guidelines.
Here are some suggestions on how to help your body cleanse and renew itself this coming Spring.
*The following recommendations are meant for healthy individuals with no major digestive isssues such as IBS, Crohn’s, or Colitis. If you have any of these conditions, please seek personal advice from me or another health care practitioner:
1) Begin each morning with fresh lemon and water. Warm water in the morning helps promote elimination of the bowels which leads to increased metabolism and improved digestion throughout the day. Fresh lemon juice leads to cleansing of the liver and gallbladder which renews our body for the day ahead. Simply warm 1-2 cups worth of water in a kettle, add to a glass or mug and squeeze the juice of ½ lemon into the water. Drink! This is suggested first thing in the morning (before any coffee, tea, or breakfast)
2) Increase fluid consumption. Water and herbal teas support the body’s detoxification process. Take 6-8 glasses of water minimum per day and 2-3 cups of herbal tea. Mint and Lemon Balm are two herbs that will help your body’s cleansing process.
3) Use pungent herbs in cooking to help increase circulation. Our bodies tend to be more stagnant during the winter. Good circulation is essential in order to ensure all aspects of our health, including the maintenance of an optimum weight, vibrant skin, and good digestion. Pungent herbs include: rosemary, dill, bay leaf, basil & fennel. Fennel is especially recommended as it supports the functions of our liver.
4) Eat high fibre and nutrient dense foods. Nutrient dense foods help to energize our bodies and balance our blood sugar levels which decreases or eliminates cravings for junk food. Fibre rich foods help us with cleansing of the bowels, which is extremely important in renewing and cleansing our bodies. Fibre rich foods also keep us fuller for longer periods of time than foods that contain little to no fibre. So, eating fibre rich foods can lead to eating less nutrient void calories overall, which can help our bodies to shed unwanted pounds. Examples of nutrient dense foods that help to cleanse our liver and gallbladder are:
- whole grains (brown rice, millet, barley)
- legumes (kidney beans, chick peas, mung beans, lentils)
- fresh & lightly cooked green vegetables (broccoli, bok choy, green peppers, parsley, and zucchini)
- orange vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash, carrots)
- fresh fruits (apples, pears, raspberries, blueberries)
- nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, sunflower, hemp & pumpkin seeds)
- fish (if you eat animal products – salmon, rainbow trout, and arctic char)
5) Get plenty of Fresh Air. Our mind and body work much better when we are breathing in fresh outdoor air. In the winter, we are indoors most of the time. Walking for 20-30 minutes outdoors, 2-3 times a day can do wonders for our mental capacities, energy levels, and our digestive systems.
Laugh often! Laughter has a wonderful effect on our body and mind. It also helps to stimulate digestion and circulation throughout the body. So, however you can, whether it is by watching a funny movie, going to a comedy show, listening to a funny podcast, or by joking more with your friends and loved ones…. Laughter is bound to bring upon a Spring within!