green smoothie

Giving the body a break: Spring Cleanse

We recently completed our first Spring Cleanse at Symmetry Wellness Centre and it was a success! The cleanse was two weeks focusing on healthy whole foods, eliminating the more inflammatory and processed foods, including gluten, processed sugar, alcohol and coffee. Although not everyone has repercussions from some of these foods, ie coffee, it is good to give the body and liver a break at least once a year. We stuck to a whole foods cleanse, instead of the more aggressive cleanses, as our bodies still need nutrients and fibre to function optimally and several people participating had never done a cleanse before. 

Who should cleanse? Everyone! Even if our diet is super clean, we are bombarded with toxins everyday from multiple sources. Some examples are processed food, pesticides, pollution and radiation. It is a good idea to do a cleanse at least once a year to support your body's natural detoxification processes and empty our "bucket". 

Body as a bucket: Think of our bodies as a bucket. When we are born, is it a empty - a clean state - then we start to fill up the bucket. If we are not careful, overtime it will overflow, creating symptoms. These could be eczema, asthma, high blood pressure or cancer, to name a few. What we want to do is promote an ebb and flow to the bucket, preventing it from overflowing. To do this we need to decrease the amount of stress we put on our bodies, food stressors and/or emotional stressors, but also ensure the healthy functioning of our "organs of elimination" - liver, bowels, kidneys and skin. This means, eating a whole foods diet, exercising and focusing on emptying our bowels at least once a day. What comes in...must come out (except for the nutrients that we DO absorb)! If this is an issue for you, consider liver support, more fibre or water. Consult an ND if more support is needed. 

Why Spring? In chinese medicine, spring is the time of the liver, therefore the perfect time to support its detoxification function. The change of the seasons is a new beginning for the nature around us. We can implement this new beginning to our bodies as well, giving it a fresh start. Nature is helping us do this with new buds, sprouts and herbs flourishing. Nutrients is more concentrated in light, fresh foods. No need for larger, heavier meals to hibernate for the winter, but fresh salads and cooler foods to put a "spring" in your step :)

Healthy habits: During a detox, one goal of mine is to help implement healthy habits to carry forward into the summer. Here are some easy ones you'll hear me mention a lot:

  • Drinking more water! Especially during the hotter months to replenish that which we have lost during the day. Hungry? Reach for water first.
  • Warm water with lemon and castor oil packs - The pack at night over the liver and lemon water in the morning helps to get those bowels moving and stimulate digestion. 
  • Apple cider vinegar and honey - 1 tsp ACV + 1 tsp local honey in 1 cup hot water. The bitter and sweat together is the perfect combination to use food as medicine to stimulate the liver, and even combat seasonal allergies.
  • Tumeric - The spice of many names. "Curcuma longa" in latin, is a powerful spice with many actions including anti-inflammatory, immune regulating and liver supporting. I higher dose taken in capsule form has the best results. 
  • Light fresh meals - Click on the photos above for some fresh ideas.

What have you done to support your liver this spring?

Join us next year for our 2nd annual spring cleanse!

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen