Crash diets and gym sign ups are so popular and heavily advertised right after Christmas. But there’s a more important phase you need to go through or results of any actions will be short-lived. It’s a sugar detox.
If you haven’t already seen blurbs about cleansing on social media, you’re sure to before long.
As a health coach I’ve been leading cleanses at key points of the year, each with its own objective. By far, I think a Spring cleanse is the most transformative, just as the season itself seems to be. Nature surely undergoes a transformation in Spring, sometimes visible by the hour to those of us longing for the end of Winter. .
Why Would You Cleanse in Spring?
As noted, Spring is a time of transformation. It is also a time of transition, shifting from cold and dry to warm and damp. We’ve been accustomed to eating warm heavy meals through Winter, foods that may simmer over the stove for many hours. This heats the home and the body and is an entirely appropriate and wise way to keep warm in Winter.
But you need to gradually shift to a different way of eating when Spring arrives. In the process of changing your food choices, it is advisable to do a little digestive Spring cleaning as well. The cleaner your system, the more efficient it will be at burning energy even dropping a few pounds.
Your overall health is critically dependent upon a healthy digestive system. I’ve written before about gas and other tummy troubles. We also know today that the bacteria in the gut helps regulate all sorts of body functions, so giving your digestive system some TLC in springtime us a wonderful gift to your health. Ancient traditions understood this - think Lent and Passover - and practiced austerity in the transition to warmer weather.
If you are prone to Spring allergies, now is the time to cut back on any congestion causing foods like cheese and dairy. Greens, plentiful in Spring, have an astringent quality to them and can dry up the results of mucus causing foods you may have been eating in the Winter.
Simple Cleansing Steps
In a nutshell, here’s what to do:
1. Spring clean your cabinets and refrigerator, tossing outdated or unhealthy foods
2. Make a menu plan that includes copious amounts of vegetables coming into season:
asparagus, dandelion greens, chard, kale, spring peas (notice they are all green)
3. Plan your meals by the weather: cool and rainy - soup; warm and sunny - salad
4. Get outside every day for natural Vitamin D
5. Get moving - gentle stretching, walking, playing a sport
6. Divide your weight in half; drink that much water in ounces
and You need foods that put a spring in your step!
Someone asked me the other day if a cleanse requires colonics. The answer is a definite no. You can see other questions I’ve been asked about cleansing if you’re curious about the experience.
When Should i Start a Spring Cleanse?
Although Spring officially begins on March 20th here in New England Spring weather isn't consistently Spring-like until late in April. You can tell it's time to cleanse when you see a good amount of green sprouting up in the woods and in your garden, when the grass is slowly greening up, and when you see the hint of buds on your trees. The ground should be muddy, not hard, and the air should feel damp. These are classic signs of Spring.
What Benefits Can I Expect?
A good Spring cleanse should show these positives:
1. Less bloating and slimmer waist
2. Reduction in phlegm in the lungs and sinuses
3. Allergy relief
4. Increased energy
My annual Spring Cleanse will begin on Saturday, April 21st. More information and registration here. I invite you to join in this transformational experience, one that you can easily work into your day to day life.
Eating healthy is the best way to manage your weight and your hunger.
See what NY Times writer Jane Brody says about her experience with dieting, and how everything changed when she began to eat healthy.
Dr. Monique Tello of Harvard School of Public Health is a working mom who takes the train to work. She needs something quick, easy and transportable as many of us do. She combines fruit/yogurt/grain/nut bowl for her breakfast, which happens to be my daughter's daily breakfast. I personally cannot eat the same thing for breakfast every day. If I have time to eat at home it's likely to be sautéed vegetables with a pasture raised egg. That is not transportable so it's only on eating in mornings I have that. In the office the fruit/yogurt.grains/nut bowl works perfectly.
Here's Dr. Tello's description of her breakfast ingredients:
- "Frozen fruit: berries, mixed fruit, fruit with kale bits, whatever. Fruit is frozen at the peak of freshness, so the quality and vitamin content can be better than what’s in the produce aisle. We buy large bags of frozen mixed berries at the wholesale club or discount grocery, as they are much more economical than fresh and don’t go bad.
- Nuts and/or seeds and/or grains of your preference: for example, unsalted nuts, toasted seeds or grains, or a combination such as a low-sugar granola.
- Your favorite yogurt, ideally plain or low-sugar.
Either the night before or the day of work, grab a plastic container that can hold at least a few cups, and fill with the frozen fruit, heaped up at the top (mine holds 3.5 cups). Defrost it in the microwave (mine takes about 3 minutes). Put a top on it. Throw that in your lunch box alongside a snack-sized baggie of nuts and/or seeds and/or grains (I like cashews), and the yogurt. Don’t forget your spoon.
Why is this a healthy breakfast?
The fruit is not a token sprinkle, nor a decorative touch. The fruit makes up the bulk of this meal. There’s fiber in the fruit, and plant sugars in their natural form, not to mention healthy fat in the nuts, and protein in the yogurt. A low-sugar yogurt will leave us feeling more satisfied, for longer. We won’t get the insulin spike that triggers hunger pangs (unlike when we eat processed carbs).
If you want to step it up a notch, ditch the dairy. We can get plenty of calcium and other vitamins from leafy greens and other veggies. Personally, I’m not there yet, as I love yogurt, and have weighed the added benefits of my beloved creamy protein and probiotics against the recognized risks of regular consumption of animal products. So, I limit my intake of animal products as much as I can, and enjoy my daily morning yogurt."
How would that work for you? Additional at work options might be whole oats that you reheat in the morning and add nuts, cinnamon and fruit.
Planning Is Key
We can have the best of intentions, but unless you have the ingredients you need at the ready, a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner just won't happen.
If you're not sure of what a healthy shopping list looks like, contact me and I will send you one.