With just a week to go until we reach the spring equinox, the air seems to be filled with a sort of pent up anticipation for what the sights, scents and longer days of spring will deliver. You may notice that awkward phase of lingering winter stagnation mixed with boyant spring lightness. You may be feeling ready to shed some layers, be they physical, emotional or mental. As always, I invite you to set big goals, but remember to take small steps in working towards health, balance and feeling your best.
I am currently on the east coast visiting family and spending considerable time with my stepfather who has just had a stroke. He is certainly recovering with aggressive therapy, but the road will be long and full of hard work. He will get there by taking one step at a time. For me this has been teaching (or reminding) me of both the preciousness of self-care to maintain personal health, and the importance of taking one step at a time even when goals may seem too large to be real. It is so important to see that grand vision, but stay present with today’s action steps.
I am, of course, a huge believer in prevention. In feeding our bodies fresh, delicious foods appropriate for each individual; moving our bodies as they were intended to move; and just generally being proactive in creating a life that feeds and nourishes in every aspect. We are not here to be lived by life, but to live our lives to the fullest. This includes diving to the darkest depths and rising to the highest highs, and then beginning to find our middle ground where the pendulum begins to swing less extremely.
Spring has traditionally signaled a natural urge to cleanse or purge. Perhaps we clean house, clean our bodies, or feel compelled to make a fresh start in other ways. With the Devana Spring Cleanse Workshop coming up in just a few weeks, I thought it could be nice to offer some small steps to begin moving in the direction of the larger goal. Below are some ideas to begin to infuse a little detox into each day without being too overwhelming. I hope you can all join us for this year’s cleanse whether you come in person or participate online.
1. Choose organic. Choosing organic as much as possible is a sure fire way to minimize exposure to the many toxic chemicals that can be used in conventional farming. The higher nutrient content that is in organic produce also assists the body more effectively in its daily detoxification processes. Now sometimes organic just is not available, which means simply staying informed and getting a little savvy. Perhaps you can buy locally grown without pesticides. Or if you do buy conventional, be sure to stay away from these 12 most pesticide laden vegetables and fruits: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, lettuce, imported grapes, pears, spinach and potatoes.
2. Get your greens! Dark leafy greens are loaded with cleansing antioxidants and toxic cleaning chlorophyll. Cruciferous vegetables stimulate the production of the detox enzyme glutathione-s-tansferases (GST), which binds to heavy metals, solvents, and pesticides, and eliminates them through stool. If getting these in daily still proves a challenge, try incorporating a green food supplement like Greens First (http://GreensFirst.com/4550). Although not a replacement for the real deal, it is loaded with beneficial antioxidants, vitamins and minerals making it a wonderful “food-based supplement” that can benefit even those eating their greens.
3. “Pre-digest” your food. Our bodies work hard to break down the foods that we introduce into our systems day in and day out. When we blend or juice our food, these processes help break down the nutrients to make them more available. The result is more energy for other things! Remember though, that you should still chew even this liquefied food so that your digestive system understands this is food, not drink. (For a great offer on a Vita-Mix 5200 see my recommended products page.)
4. Nourish your liver. In Chinese medicine, the liver gets the focus in the springtime, meaning we need to give this hard-working organ extra attention and care at this time. There are certain food and herbs that can be used to gently and effectively cleanse and boost the liver. Foods and herbs to try include: Artichoke and artichoke leaf herb, dandelion root and leaf, green tea (as a beverage or supplement), milk thistle seed, and turmeric root.
5. Cleansing morning beverage. A simple ritual to try is 6-8 oz. lemon water in the morning. You can have it warm or room temperature. With stevia or straight. Lemon water in the morning gently stimulates digestion and elimination and helps alkalize the body. Be sure to rinse or brush your teeth after, because it can be a little acidic on tooth enamel.
These are just a sampling of easy and proactive ways to support you body in what it wants and needs to do. Remember to set your goals, get support, then step one foot in front of the other.
Blessings and Love!