Spring cleaning is good for body, mind & spirit.

On March 20th it will officially be spring but the last few days have felt like it has already arrived. Seventy degrees in New England in March is a wonderful treat.

Spring tends to bring on thoughts of spring cleaning and when most people, who have fallen off the New Year’s resolutions to get that beach body, go through a sort of guilt to really do it now as time is passing. I read a lot about cleansing and detoxing the body as a mean to loose weight fast. But does that work?

I am not against cleanses, but I am going to say you wont ever find my pushing any paticular one. If your interested in doing a cleanse to detox your body I can point you in the right direction of where to find a healhthy cleanse. I do suggest you talk with your doctor before ever stating one. On the other hand I am for making sure your personal temple is cleaned and detoxed. Just not in a once of year sort of fashion.That can be harsh or shocking to the system for some of us. I confess the reports of people feeling ill and getting sick during a cleanse sort of turn me off. I did do one back in the late 80’s when I was 17 yrs old, but I was suffering from EBV and Candida and it was under a doctors care. At the time it was not possible to feel any worse then I was, so the cleanse actually helped me feel better. What I learned from that is to make sure I eat in a way that supports the natural cleansing the body knows how to do and that nature even supports us in. Yes we naturally can detox our body without out going to to much extreme.

Here are a few of my favorite ways:

First breakfast. The word actually means to “break a fast”. To really make this work it’s good advice not to eat late into the night or snack after dinner. When you wake up, gently get your body ready for it’s first meal. Using this simple idea and making sure your first meal of the day is gentle on the digestive system but will sustain you till lunch is a great way to naturally cleanse your body. My favorite thing to do is acatully a pre-breakfast routine. Get up and enjoy a hot or warm cup of water with lemon before you eat. Sip this while you wake up, pick our your clothes our whatever your routine is and then have your breakfast. If your trying to cut coffee this is a great way to do that too. You might find you will want less coffee by doing this. The lemon helps to stimulate the liver and get things moving before you break the evening fast.

Start eating seaonally. In the winter we tend to eat heavier meals to help us stay warm, especially if you live in a cold climate. Holidays might even find us eating alot more white sugar, white flour and enjoying more alcohol than normal. It happens. If you eat seasonally you will see that Mother Nature provides us with the right foods for each season. Spring is the time my personal diet lightens up. My meat consumption goes way down, veggies start to go up and the veggies that are available are ones that again natutally support the liver and it’s amazing detoxing abilities. Eating lighter makes is easier on digestion as well and so giving the part of the body a break. Some of my favorite spring foods are leeks, onions, garlic, spouts and seeds , green smoothies and spring greens. Animal protein wise, our family tends to eat much more fish at this time. A simple lunch could be homemade hummus ( I love to make roasted red pepper and sun dried tomato hummus) with veggie sticks for dipping. Add in some whole grain crackers or pita chips or spread on sprouted bread or tortillas. Making your own is easy. I’ll be posting my favorite recipe next week.

Dump fake sugars and other chemicals. I know ,this goes against some people’s thought of weight lose, with saying give up your fake sugar but it’s true. Much of what these so call artificial sweeteners are is chemicals. This stresses your liver out and stresses your body out and can actually cause weight gain instead of weight loss. Personally I think soda in general is not good for you, and if your tryng to get off it there are lots of great ways. Kombucha is one for those who love the taste and fizz of soda. You can read about my adventures in brewing Kombucha recently here. While it is made with real sugar, that is part of the fermention process to feed the SCOBY. The drink itself is actually very low in sugar, especially when compared to soda. Also it helps to detox the body and gives the gut healthy bacteria, can’t say that about soda. If kombucha is not your thing, how about trying to make your own soda. My boys love to use a mix of sparkling water and 100% juice as a soda. Take it a step further and add fruit and berries to your glass.

Youv’ve heard it before but here it is again, drink lots of water. I know there are amounts of how much to drink out there but here’s what I learned and honestly not from the school I went to, but from the Marine Corps when we went to Parris Island for my son’s graduation from bootcamp. If your pee is clear to light colored your hydrated. The darker it is the more water you need. It’s that simple. We all have different bodies and how much water I need might be differnt than how much water you need.

Another way to detox your temple is to take care of your body with physcial activity and take care of your mind with relaxing and peaceful routines like journaling and meditation. When starting new routines add in things you know you will enjoy. It would be silly for me to say I was going to go to the gym several days a week, when I hate the gym. It’s easier for me to say I will find a yoga class I enjoy , ride my bike and take walks along the beach. I enjoy those activies and know I will make time for them and not find myself making excuses to not do them.

Adding in things like medition can help break negative patterns. Don’t think you can meditate? No, you don’t have to spend hours doing it to get the benefits, or find yourself in some odd pretzel position balancing on a pillow. Try this quick and easy breathing technique from Dr. Weil. It works and it takes just moments. No guru or pillow required.

Lastly, go out and buy yourself a new spring outfit that makes you feel fabulous. Now don’t make the excuse you are going to loose weight and don’t want to go buy something till you lose “X” amount of pounds. If you want to eat healthy, loose weight or love your body now, find clothes that make you feel good, throw out the things that make you feel less than gorgeous. When you feel good in your own skin you will find yourself taking care of yourself more and eating better. It’s true. So spring clean your closet, spend a day putting together feel good outfits and celebrate the beautiful person you are inside and out. Yes this works for men too.

I’ll be posting some of my favorite spring recipes weekly to share with you. I am actually writing this right before I sepnd a weekend doing a retreat at home to kick start my spring seaons off. I am planning lots of delicious seasonal foods and some personal care time for myself. I hope you’ve been inspried to find ways to lighten up for spring, as well as look for ways to keep your body doing what it knows to do naturally . I’d love to hear what you will be doing or some of your favorite spring rituals.

Blessing & Love,
Shelly

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