Last week the earth stood in the balance of the Equinox and Spring is finally here. In the bay area, the trees and plants are blossoming, and the birds are singing. The blogosphere of health and wellness is abound with tips and suggestions for “springtime detoxing” and “diets to get you in shape for bikini season”. I have to say these posts tend to drive me nuts. Too often they tend towards sleezy marketing ploys and at worst contain advice that is downright unhealthy. Sadly they are too often rooted in fat shaming and perpetuating superficial and unhealthy ideals of wellness and beauty.
All that being said, Spring is a wonderful time to set intentions and shift your body. We are right near the Spring Equinox which is magically a potent time for spell casting and intention setting. The earth changes with the seasons and we are living on and a part of the earth. So a focus on adjusting to the change in seasons is important and a key dimension of staying healthy. My teacher Karyn Sanders talks about the shifting of the blood that happens as the seasons change and the importance of supporting your body in shifting from “winter blood” to “spring blood”. So in the spirit of the shifting of the seasons and in the spirit of loving our bodies and celebrating beauty in its many forms, here are 6 suggestions for healthy springtime cleansing.
1) Cut out Stimulants, Booze, and Sugars
These substances all have an impact on our bodies and are more than we need. I’m all about a “harm reduction” approach to eating in general but if you’re going to do a cleanse, cutting out coffee, beer, and candy bars will go a long way in simplifying your body’s process of finding balance in the season. These substances are all hard on our liver, kidneys, digestive tract and adrenals. A cleanse is a time when we are trying to give these systems a vacation. So save the cocktails for when you’re on vacation and grab a glass of water instead.
Speaking of grabbing a glass of water, better to grab your water bottle. Water is a wonderful substance to help your body move stuck energy and support you in shifting towards the springtime. Aryuvedic, Chinese, and other Indigenous traditions all emphasize drinking water when clearing out our body systems. Add some lemon for flavor and to support your healing. If you have any digestive trouble and/or tend to run cold, try drinking room temp water or even warm water. It’s easier for most systems to process.
3) Don’t stop Eating
There are some new fad “cleanses” going around that encouraging fasting–anywhere from 12 hours every day to days at a time. Please don’t do this. Most of us aren’t cut out for fasting and if you have any sort of history with eating disorders, fasting can be extremely triggering and dangerous. Fasting can be very hard on your body systems and can decrease your immunity make you more susceptible to catching the spring bugs flying around and getting sick. And if you have blood sugar issues fasting at its worst can be life threatening. If you are determined to try out a cleanse that includes fasting, please only do it with the support of a healthcare provider.
4) Eat with the Weather and Eat Kitcheri
Fresh fruits and veggies are starting to more commonly populate the farmers markets and grocers stands. In the Spring, I like to eat lots of berries and salad greens. The foods that are growing in your bioregion right now are likely good foods to be eating as you’re shifting towards springtime. Another way to support your body in cleansing is to spend a few days only eating Kitcheri. Kitcheri is an Aryuvedic dish that’s made up of mung beans, rice, and spices. It’s very easy for your body to digest and eating only this for a few days is a great way to give your digestive track a break. Here’s a recipe that I like. You can substitute coconut oil for Ghee if you’re a vegan.
5) Try these Herbs
Herbs can be powerful allies in supporting your body’s shifting of the season. Here’s a few of my favorites:
You may know this plant because it stung you when you were hiking in the woods. This plant is more than just an excellent defender of it’s turf! It’s full of nutrients and gentle yet powerful medicine to cleanse the blood. It’s great for almost everyone. One of my herbalist friends jokes that all herbalists want everyone drinking Nettles tea. I think she’s right. In the springtime, this plant is great at gently offering cleansing, adding nutrients, and general toning of the body systems. I also really like Nettles for rebuilding energy especially when someone is kicking caffeine. So if you’re giving up coffee for the first time in a long time for this cleanse, then Nettles is a must. A few cups of tea a day will go a long way.
This plant is one one of the early ones to emerge with spring and its a wonderful ally this time of year! Cleavers is gentle support for our lymphatic system—the waterways of our bodies. As the seasons change, our bodies adjust and change with them. A simple daily cup of tea made with cleavers is a great way to support your body as he season changes. If it’s growing around you, it’s a great time to be taking it. Here in the bay, we’ve had cleavers growing for a few weeks and will have more in the weeks to come. 1 cup of a gentle tea a day works wonders in supporting your body changing seasons. It’s also good kidney support.
6) Clean your home
Cleansing and shifting the seasons is about cleansing the home that is our bodies and also the home in which we are living. Cleansing the space around you as you are shifting your body is a great way to align energies within and without you. You might also consider cleansing your garden by fertilizing your plants and beginning the weeding of the season. When the environment around us is disorganized and messy, it’s harder to bring our bodies into alignment. Clean out that old closet, make a donation to the local “Out of the Closet” or thrift store, and get back into your garden!
So what are you waiting for? Call in that cleansing that is healing and sustainable this springtime!