COLUMN: Spring Cleaning your Body
The weather has been certainly cooler and rainy this year, but, the bulbs are trying to make a start and the robins are starting to build their nests, so it is a great time to consider spring cleaning your body. Dedicate some time to internally focus and help the body clear built-up toxins, metabolites, hormones and breakdown products. It’s like clearing out the garage of garbage or the basement of things you are not using anymore. Since it’s heating up, the body can put some energy to a rejuvenating cleanse, instead of trying to keep itself warm. This will clear the slate of accumulated toxins from the winter and when the weather really warms up, your system will be detoxified and primed for superior performance when you get out there cycling, running or hiking!
We acquire external toxins by breathing, eating or contacting chemicals. We are exposed daily to chemicals in the air, water and on our food, electromagnetic radiation, pharmaceutical drugs and other medications, eating refined/packaged/ processed foods, as well as using stimulants and sedatives.
We also produce internal toxins called free radicals through normal everyday functions of our cells in biochemical and bodily functions. Microbes such as intestinal bacteria produce wastes that must be eliminated and our thoughts and emotions also generate biochemical toxins. If our body is working well, with efficient immune and eliminative functions we can handle everyday exposure to toxins. Cleansing helps to “clean out the wheelbarrow” to minimize build-up and degeneration.
We detoxify through the respiratory, gastro-intestinal, urinary, skin, lymph, thought and spiritual systems. Detoxification and cleansing can occur on many levels. Drinking an extra litre of water, eating more fruit and vegetables and less meat or cow dairy products is a form of cleansing, since it helps to clear toxins from our body.
Be careful about over-elimination or over-detoxification. Some people go to extremes with fasting and herbal laxatives and diuretics and an imbalance can be created. You may become deficient in vitamins or minerals or the liver can become overloaded. This may make a person feel nauseated and fatigued. Cleansing programs can be also set up individually, with knowledge of a person’s history, diet, vitamin and mineral levels, health and lifestyle. The general guidelines are:
· Following a hypo-allergenic diet (whole non-gluten grains, veggies, fruit,
fish or legumes such as beans if vegetarian)
· Increasing fibre (oat or rice bran, ground chia seeds, veggies, fruit)
· Increasing purified water intake
· Using herbs such as garlic, red clover, cayenne, ginger,
dandelion root, yellow dock, burdock, licorice and parsley
· Including saunas, sweats or alkaline baths
· Reducing saturated fats (fried foods, red meats, cow dairy and peanuts)
· Increasing regular activity to induce sweating
· Facilitating efficient elimination with psyllium, herbal products, aloe,
bentonite clay and acidophilus)
· Increasing bathing, skin brushing and lymph massage
· Incorporating resting, relaxation exercises, breathing exercises or yoga
· Choosing individualized specific supplements
The next level of cleansing is one made up of fresh fruits, vegetables and non-gluten whole grains, especially brown rice, seeds, almonds and fish along with homeopathic detoxification drops. A raw foods detoxification diet is also an option for some. Other specialized detox regimes treat specific problems, like Candida. Then, there are liquid cleanses or fasts using juices, vegetable broths and teas. Miso or spirulina is often added.
I also have people detoxify by using “Dr. B’s cleanse”, which is like a meal replacement with detoxification nutrients added. This method requires coaching to give you support, suggestions for meals and maximize effectiveness, so you feel energized, can work and exercise as usual and don’t feel deprived or hungry.
Whatever method works for you, try a detoxification cleanse to feel rejuvenated and have true well-being!