Friday, April 20, 2012

six spring cleanse tips

I'm wrapping up my spring cleanse this week. I journaled, I walked more, I did yoga, I ate good food, and I took extra time for self-care. As well as working and doing laundry and all those other things that have to do with living.

My cleanse is a special time for me to focus attention on myself and my habits. Now I've never done a juice fast or a super cleanse. Once I tried an apple fast and only ate apples for 2 days and that was a terrible idea! These days I cleanse seasonally according to Ayurveda, which for me is always an enriching and grounding experience, full of delicious, seasonal meals. I'm able to reset and reconnect to the way good nutrition serves my body and my mind. I won't go into all the details of how a cleanse like this works, I have an Ayurvedic teacher who guides me through the whole process!

I have had a few readers write to me and ask if I have any tips for taking a little spring detox for themselves. I do, actually! I'd like to share 6 spring detox tips which have helped me, things which are good for anyone to try out for a few days or a week. Or longer if you really want to make a change to your lifestyle.

These things have made a noticeable difference in my life; from the way my body functions, to the workings of my mind, and in how I manage my energy levels throughout the day. It even follows through to my relationships and interactions with others. I'm not a doctor or a health expert. This is all based on my own experiential knowledge. Every body's different!

Six Spring Cleanse Tips

1. Start your day with lemon and warm water.

Make this the first thing you drink in the morning, instead of coffee! It serves as a natural detox for the liver, and will help you digest your food better throughout the day.

You can also add a little honey to your mug of warm water and lemon, especially if you are feeling congested from the spring weather.

2. Cut out the wheat from your diet.

This means no flour, bread, pasta, all those things we eat a lot of to fill up, and often make us feel bloated and gross.

Eat whole grains instead! Barley, millet and quinoa make great grain choices for spring. Quinoa makes a great breakfast food. Mix up a barley and vegetable salad with fresh herbs and olive oil.

Other common allergens you can experiment with omitting from your diet are soy and dairy.

3. Give up refined sugar.

Its taxing on the system in so many ways. Use honey as your only sweetener for a few days. Or try maple syrup.

If you have a sweet tooth like mine and the thought of giving up sugar seems impossible, just try it for one day. Then maybe two or three. Its good to give the body a break from processing refined sugar. And it will still be there waiting for you. If you still want it!

I love sweet things, but I try to make refined sugar a special occasion, not a daily affair.

4. Swap your coffeepot for a teapot. 

Cut out the caffeine! Okay okay, this may be a serious undertaking for some folks. You could try black tea. Or step it down to green tea. Only two cups. Or one. Eventually the goal is a nice cup of caffeine free herbal tea.

I do love the whole experience of drinking a cup of coffee, the aroma, the foamy milk, the whole culture around coffee drinking. But switching it up helps me to re-examine how caffeine effects my mind and my body.

When I do have a cup of Joe again, I can enjoy the effects without them running the show for me.

5. Stock up on apples! 

As well as lots of seasonal vegetables like asparagus, beets, kale, mustard greens, radishes and peas. Apples and beets are excellent foods to support cleansing, and moving over to a more vegetable based diet is beneficial in so many ways.

Eat lots of fruit. Fill your plate with steamed veggies, throw in some whole grains, natural organic oils and herbs and spices and you'll add some spring to your step in no time!

This is also an opportunity to go meatless for awhile. You don't have to become vegetarian, just try it for a few days.

6.  Stick to a schedule. 

Eat three meals a day at regular intervals, allowing about four hours between each meal for digesting.

Make lunch the biggest meal of the day. Try not to snack. Have a pick-me-up cup of herbal ginger tea instead. If you do snack take a moment to ask yourself why. Are you hungry? Or are you bored or stressed out?

Sitting down to eat a full meal 3 times a day will help to make snacking unnecessary. And the break between meals will give your digestion time to keep up with the work it has to do everyday!


Try one, or two, or all of these things and have your own mini-cleanse for springtime and let me know how it goes!

Remember to be reasonable with yourself, incorporating these changes into your daily life as it currently is is the best way to make a lasting shift in your habits and health.  I still love a good snack, sometimes a sugary one, with a cup of coffee. Though now I know it is just an option, not a way of life.

To give credit where credit is due, everything I've ever learned about cleansing came from my Ayurvedic teacher, Kate O'Donnell. She does one-on-one consulting for seasonal cleansing and other Ayurvedic treatments. If you'd like to read more about Ayurvedic cleansing here's a great article about Fall detox from Yoga Journal.


  1. I've picked up a lot of these habits over time, just from noticing their positive effect on my body. Always happy to see it working for someone else too! Miss you!

    - Beth

    1. Good points to keep in mind anytime of year!

  2. It’s not easy to give up the food that we regularly eat and settle for natural, almost unfamiliar, food instead. It’s hard at first, but slowly, you’ll definitely get used to it. Flushing toxins take time, patience and effort, and it’s not a onetime activity but rather an ongoing effort. We need to make detoxifying a habit in order to keep our insides clean.

    -Nita Guerette