Spring cleaning - it’s not just for your house. Your body needs it too! Whether you indulged in rich foods and extra sleep all winter long or not, your body naturally hordes all the fat it can in the cold months to keep you insulated. Biologically, fat is warmth.
Just as the snow starts to melt when the weather warms up, the fat you’ve accumulated all winter begins “melting.” Your blood gets thicker and more sluggish, you might even find that your fingers feel swollen. Mucus avalanches your sinuses as it “melts” resulting in head colds. Read on to find out how to put the spring back in your step...
Your liver is in charge of fat metabolism. As it’s deluged with winter’s fat stores, it works overtime at decongesting fats from the blood. This taxation of the liver weakens it, making you more susceptible to allergens such as dust, mold and the pollen rich spring air. The liver releases toxins through the bile, eyes and skin. So if your liver is taxed and toxic, you’re eyes may be red and/or itchy. Your skin may break out in acne or rashes and allergies will likely hit hard.
How do you make sure you’re as bright eyed and bushy tailed as the baby bunnies prancing around your yard? A spring cleanse!
There are many ways to do it, depending on your body type. Lighter folks who tend to be underweight will notice a natural drop in appetite. Don’t starve yourself, but go with it. Eat a little lighter. Heavier folks will want to steer clear of dairy, wheat and sugar in particular and minimize their intake of fats - especially fried food. This is a great time of year to follow a more vegetarian / vegan diet with generous amounts of spices like ginger, black pepper and turmeric. As your body relinquishes the heaviness of winter, you may notice your digestion is a bit sluggish. Spicing your food up gives metabolism a kickstart.
Notice all those dandelions popping up? Bitters are here to save the day! They’re just what the doctor ordered in spring. Bitter greens like dandelion, kale, arugula, spinach and wild greens like chickweed and lamb’s quarters burst from the soil to ease your liver’s load. The bitter taste cleanses the liver by stimulating it to release bile. Bitters also cleanse and cool the blood, alleviating hot, itchy, irritated skin and acne. Eat em, juice em, blend em...whatever you gotta do - get those greens in! This is the best time of year to dine on hearty green salads. Check out my favorite spring salad recipe here.
Another assistant in terms of spring cleansing is aloe vera. It doesn’t get more bitter than this herb. You can find the gel and/or juice at most health food stores and Juice Basin includes it in several of their green juices. Drink up...but beware - a little goes a long way! Bright beets also support liver cleansing by encouraging the liver to release bile and are best consumed raw or juiced to maximize their cleansing benefits.
Mild sour taste continues the trend of cleansing and stimulating the liver. Grapefruits are both sour and bitter. A perfect fruit for a light breakfast, afternoon snack or addition to your juice. Juice Basin’s Maid of Honor blend is my goto drink come Spring.
Sipping hot water throughout the day boosts your metabolism (see last month’s blog for more info). This time of year, add a lemon, lime or splash of apple cider vinegar to it. Garlic is another godsend. Raw, roasted or sauteed, add it into your meals whenever possible to thin the blood, detoxify the body and improve circulation.
Besides lightening up your diet, get moving. Part of what triggers spring colds is the body’s bombardment with excess fats. Gentle exercise that brings mild perspiration gradually lightens your load. The longer days invite you outside, say YES!