How to do a Healthy Spring Body Cleanse
I love it when the weather starts to warm up, it always motivates me to tidy up my health routine. So with that inspiration, I thought I would share my tips on how to do a health Spring Clean, that is gentle and doesn’t involve restrictive diets. Just some easy tips you can add into your usual routine.
When anyone thinks of detoxing and cleansing, we always think of the liver. But our body has more than one eliminating or detoxing organ and so it is important to consider these as well. It’s all well and good to start doing something that ‘detoxes’ your liver, but if our other elimination organs aren’t working, those toxins will just get recycled back into our body. Once the liver processes toxins, it turns them into either fat soluble or water soluble substances. Fat soluble substances are excreted via our bowel and water soluble substances are excreted via our kidneys. So while the liver is obviously super important for allowing our bodies to collect toxins ready for removal, we also need to make sure our kidneys and bowel are working well to actually eliminate the toxins from our bodies.
Our lungs are another detox organ, they are in charge of processing everything we breathe into our bodies, which is often overlooked. They can also take over eliminating toxins if our other organs aren’t working effectively. Our lymphatic system is part of our immune system and helps us eliminate waste and toxins. Think of it as a fluid that runs underneath our skin. If it is not working properly, the fluid can become toxic and sluggish which can make us feel fatigued. And lastly our skin is our largest organ and also part of the detoxification process and eliminates toxins via sweat. Rashes can be a sign that your skin is trying to eliminate toxins – which is why looking after our liver and digestion is so important to help with healthy skin.
Luckily, there are some really simple ways we can support these processes, with a lot of them benefiting more than one elimination organ:
- Start your day with a glass of warm water with either organic apple cider vinegar or half a lemon squeezed. This helps improve bowel and liver function, as well as promoting healthy fluid intake, so beneficial for our kidneys and lymphatic system.
- Deep breathing: We live in a society of shallow breathers. So often people are forgetting to breathe and holding their breath throughout the day. Deep breathing, the type where you breathe in all the way to our bellies helps improve lung function and is the best way to ensure your lymph is moving. Take 5 minutes a couple of times a day to focus on breathing in all the way down to you belly so it sticks out. I do this when I’m driving, on the train or in the shower. This is especially useful if you are sitting at a computer all day – you can set a reminder to breathe and start deep breathing while you get some work done!
- Increase fibre: Fibre helps keep things moving in our bowel. It also helps feed the good bacteria in our bowel which are also involved in the detoxification process. Good sources of fibre are fruit and vegetables, oats, nuts & seeds, whole grains, psyllium, beans and legumes. If you plan on increasing fibre, make sure you start slow, as too much too fast can have the opposite effect and constipate you. In order to ensure the fibre moves through you effectively, it is also important to…
- Drink more pure water. Tap water is full of contaminants, including pesticides, medications, plastics and chemicals which can actually add to your toxin load. Spring or filtered water is the way to go and you want to aim for 2L a day, or more depending on your activity levels and seasons (we sweat more in summer). Water helps your kidney flush out toxins, encourages healthy lymphatic movement and promotes healthy bowel detoxification.
- Dry skin brushing: This promotes detoxification via our lymph and skin. Skin brushes are available from health food shops and some chemists. Before your shower on dry skin, move the brush in a circular motion starting with your feet and working up your legs, then do your arms, stomach, chest and back. You start at the extremities and work your way into your heart. This is also awesome for improving cellulite as it reduces congestion.
- Detox/cleansing teas: These are readily available from health food shops and have herbs that generally help improve liver and kidney function. Avoid teas with senna or cascara which are actually laxatives. Look for ingredients like dandelion, fennel, burdock, milk thistle, juniper, chicory and licorice.
- Increase your green foods! Green foods, aka green vegetables are so amazing for our health! They are anti-inflammatory and full of phytochemicals that support our detoxification pathways. Try to add an extra cup a day of the following: rocket, dandelion greens, any bitter leafy dark greens, parsley, kale, broccoli, coriander or spinach.
- Move your body: Exercise helps keep everything moving, it promotes healthy bowel function, aka transit time, moves your lymph, gives your lungs a workout, and promotes sweating. Aim for at least 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week.
Now, if you really want to feel amazing and help cleanse your body further you need to eliminate alcohol, fried fatty foods, sweets (dark chocolate, honey, maple syrup and fruit is ok), smoking, caffeine (limit this to 1 coffee per day if you really need it) and cow’s milk. These things are extra burdens to our body and require more detoxification effort, which you will notice as a sluggish feeling. Try to eliminate these things for 30 days and see how much better you feel!