Spring is inherently a time of rebirth, renewal and increased vitality. After a long winter of diminished sunlight and fresh air combined with a diet rich in heavy foods and hard-to-digest proteins, our bodies have built up unwanted toxins (and perhaps a little extra belly fat, too) that bogs down the digestive system.
It feels natural to change our diets and levels of activity during spring to release inflammation, awaken our energy from within and revitalize our health. According to Ayurveda, we all need this yearly detox to ensure optimal health. So exactly how do you go about starting a cleanse?
Of course, you can go all in with a juice cleanse or even by fasting. But if you aren’t quite ready for that level of commitment -- it’s certainly not for everyone -- there are a variety of daily cleansing practices you can start doing today to support your body’s own natural detoxification systems. Below are five of my favorite ways to align our diets with spring’s harvest to lighten the load. I guarantee even the smallest changes can help you feel more energized and vibrant.
1. Start your day right.
Upon waking up, drink a glass of room temperature or warm water with juice squeezed from half a lemon to boost your immune system and support the liver, the primary detoxifying organ. And continue to drink water throughout the day.
2. Go easy on your digestive system.
Drink light, hydrating juices or smoothies in place of a heavy breakfast or your usual snack.
3. Eat your greens.
Dark and leafy bitter greens, such as dandelion, arugula and kale, help scrub the gut and detox the liver. These vitamin-rich powerhouses stimulate enzyme production and promote digestion. Work them into salads, soups and smoothies.
4. Take advantage of spring’s harvest.
It’s no coincidence that much of what’s in season is specially designed to detox the body. Work antioxidant-rich berries and cherries into your green smoothies or afternoon snack to flush out congestion around the gut.
5. Simplify your diet.
Aryurvedic expert, author and professor, Dr. John Douillard, recommends eating foods that are “pungent (spicy), bitter, astringent / light, dry, warm, such as steamed veggies, brothy soups and brown rice” and eating less foods that are “sweet, sour, salty / heavy, cold, oily, such as fried foods, ice cream and heavy dairy.”