food for thought

Spring Clean Your Body

By | February 27, 2017
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Springtime is near and we all prepare for that big spring cleaning of our homes. Dusting, organizing, carpet cleaning, windows, etc. Getting the house ready for that beautiful warm-weather season.

But what about our bodies? Come springtime, I for one start thinking about swimsuit weather, shorts and tanks. That’s when I begin to think about doing a “cleaning” for my body! AKA: cleanse. Lose that winter “fluff.” Wintertime seems to bring hearty soups, baked goodies, heavy stews and bread to go with it all. Not to mention those festive holiday treats and drinks! Mmmm.

And yes, it’s completely natural to consume those heavy, body-warming stews made with meats and grounding root vegetables during the cold months. But that’s a whole other topic in itself! We tend to be indoors more during winter, which means less outdoor activity including exercise, for most of us.

Then come spring, we begin to venture out for more fresh air. Exercising becomes more popular when the weather gets nicer. Lighter plant foods are consumed.

I like to call it “spring cleaning” your body. Now what that means is we are cleaning up shop. Removing toxins that may have stored up during the cold months of eating those hearty and possibly unhealthy foods.

So how do we accomplish “cleansing our bodies”? I like to remove certain foods from my diet over a certain amount of time, especially those that cause inflammation. As well as add in essential foods to aid in the cleansing process. Foods I believe you absolutely should remove are:

• Dairy
• Gluten
• Sugar

Th ose are probably the top three foods that cause inflammation in most people. A couple other foods I to cut back on are meats and grains. By grains I mean even gluten-free grains. Rice, oats, etc. While those can be beneficial to you, I like to do the first week without any to really jump start the body. So the first week should be free of grains, dairy and sugar.

Soooo you’re probably thinking, “Well, what the heck CAN I eat”?

Proteins, veggies, more veggies and some fruits!

PROTEINS

• Meats: Chicken and fish are best during a cleanse but any meat would be fine as long as it’s not too much, so in moderation, and grass fed/organic is always best. The body uses a lot of energy to digest meat and we want our bodies to focus on cleansing, not digesting meats during this time!

• Beans
• Eggs: pasture raised/organic
• Nuts
• Seeds

VEGGIES

Try to consume many of your veggies raw, like in salads, smoothies or dipped in hummus! Raw veggies contain all of the needed nutrients and fiber.

• Leafy greens—LOTS and LOTS of leafy greens: red and green leaf & romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, Swiss chard, bok choy

MORE VEGGIES

• Besides leafy greens, which are most important during a cleanse, you can add in any of your favorite veggies!

FRUITS

• Any fruits, in moderation

• Low-sugar fruits, such as avocado, apples, grapefruit and berries. (The healthy fat in avocado is highly beneficial.)

NOTES

• Fats and oils are OK during a cleanse. They help “move” things in your body and provide essential nutrients. Healthy oils include olive, coconut, flax and avocado.

• Organic/locally grown is always best when possible!

So what can I drink during a cleanse? Water, of course, and lots of it too as it will help flush out the toxins in your system. Herbal teas are great. Green tea is fabulous during a cleanse as it is loaded with antioxidants and aids in detoxing the body from impurities and toxic substances. Squeeze some fresh lemon into your water or tea for added benefits. This will help alkalize your body and adds some flavor! Unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk is also OK during a cleanse.

How long do I cleanse? The first week is essential. After that, it’s up to you. I don’t typically put a time frame on cleansing unless I have a client who has a specific reason for cleansing. One example of that would be figuring out food intolerances with a process of food elimination. If you’re feeling great the first week and want to continue another week, by all means, go ahead.

I tell a lot of my cleansing clients that after the first week to try to add in some non-gluten grains such as quinoa and see how they feel. Healthy grains can be very beneficial to those of us who can handle them. An example of how grains benefit my body is the restful sleep I get when I consume grains in moderation. My body seems to thrive when I consume grains at least once a day. I feel more satisfied and relaxed when I consume them. They are packed with nutrients such as magnesium, which aids in relief of anxiety, relief of muscle spasms, better sleep, and so much more.

Grains are harder for your body to digest, which is why I believe the first week of cleansing should be grain free. All in all, if someone asked how long they should cleanse for, I believe the super strict part of the cleanse (the detox part) should be a week. I would suggest you stay off of dairy, gluten and refined sugars for up to 30 days and then re-evaluate how you are feeling by slowly re-introducing certain foods.

How long until I see results? For most, you will begin to feel more energy after just a few days. Lighter and more energized. For some, it could take a little longer due to possible and yet completely normal detox symptoms. Some people call it “detox flu.” It only lasts a couple days if you are going to get it. Some who experience that will get a little nauseous, maybe a headache, and/or just kind of under- the-weather feeling like you’re coming down with something. If you do, drink plenty of lemon water and get in a lot of protein. It will pass!

What are the benefits of cleansing? There are many, such as:

• Helps reduce bacteria
• Boosts energy
• Improves complexion
• Purifies the body

• Removes toxins from the liver, which can lead to weight loss. Our liver produces bile, in which the digestive system uses to break down fat. And since liver cleansing promotes bile production, detoxing your liver might just be the place to start for weight loss.

There are so many benefits to “spring cleaning our bodies.” Being that our liver takes the brunt of all toxins that enter our bodies, it has to work overtime when we consume foods that are not healthy. Processed, high-sugar, gluten and dairy-filled junk, which are in staple foods that Americans consume every day, contribute to our livers being overloaded with toxins. And when our liver gets so overloaded that it can’t function right, that’s when we start to get sick and our bodies start to give out on us. It makes sense that a healthy liver is so crucial to a strong immune system.

So while I say to “spring clean our bodies,” it does not necessarily mean once a year clean up shop. Think of cleansing your liver as giving it a little vacation. We take vacations to give ourselves a break from the hustle and bustle of the real world. Our livers need that same kind of “break” every now and then. Cleansing can be often. Better yet, eating an organic wholefood diet every day is the best you can do for your body.

Article from Edible San Luis Obispo at http://ediblesanluisobispo.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/spring-clean-your-body
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