Spring, or the days just leading up to it, is a good time to ensure that our body’s natural capacity for detoxification is working as efficiently as possible and is supported. Our bodies have a natural ability to “detoxify”, but due to our Western modern lifestyle, stress, pollution and unhealthy diet, these pathways may not be working as well as they should, which can lead to less than optimum health and even illness down the road. A mid-season Spring cleanse is a good way to reset and support these pathways and start the new season off on a healthy footing.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
- Do not undertake a cleanse if you have any health conditions without first checking with your doctor or medical practitioner
- Begin the first day at the line that corresponds to your current diet. You may stay in any of the lines for longer than indicated as you may need before going to the next line though ideally try ending within 30 days of starting.
- You can avoid the water-only days and shorten the 2-3 day periods if necessary.
- Ensure that on the days when you are eating the least (days 11-16) you can rest or avoid heavy/stressful activity.
- On the strictest days (8-18) it is better that to eat small amounts at frequent intervals rather than 3 large regular meals. You should not go hungry.
- You may experience headaches, fuzzy tongue, skin rashes, fatigue, changes in bowel movements and other reactions (especially in days 8-18) though if you do the cleanse slowly these reactions are usually minimised.
WHAT TO DO AND WHAT NOT TO DO
- Ensure you are drinking plenty of distilled water or bottled/spring water every day, throughout the day. Ideally you should have at least 1-1.5 liters of still water in addition to other liquids during the cleanse.
- Start your day with the juice of ½ freshly-squeezed lemon in a ½ cup of water first thing in the morning throughout the cleanse and also drink herbal teas (especially those recommended below). If you can find fresh birch sap you may drink a glass daily throughout the cleanse as well.
- Choose a good variety of fresh, seasonal and organic (if possible) fruit and vegetables each day.
- Use the cleanse as inspiration to slow down when eating, practice breathing exercises and meditation and learn to enjoy your food and meal times.
- If you can, include Epsom salt baths, massage, meditation and other body therapies such as reflexology during your cleanse since these will help with elimination (and feeling good).
- This is also a good time for inner reflection since cleanses can often bring up some strong emotional reactions, which at the basic level can be linked to your relationship with food. Keeping a journal on how and what you are feeling during the cleanse can be helpful for increasing self-awareness and breaking unhealthy patterns.
- Reintroduce foods one type of food at a time since this will help in determining whether you are reactive to any particular foods and help your body choose foods it needs from a nutritional standpoint.
- Reintroduce more complex and unhealthy foods very gradually (and avoid when/if possible for as long as possible). Take care to be slow and gentle with your digestive system.
- Have any packaged, canned or prepared foods, particularly fruit and vegetables.
- Drink any tea, coffee or alcohol or take any refined sugars during the cleanse.
- Binge eat when you come out of the cleanse
- Go back to eating unhealthy, processed, junk or ready-made foods (for as long a possible)
THE MONTH-LONG MID-SEASON CLEANSE
|1||Eliminate all chemicals from diet (food additives, colouring, preservatives), drugs (non-prescription), nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, etc|
|2||Eliminate all processed foods and refined sugar, including refined wheat and other flours and products made with these (biscuits & cakes, bread, pasta, candy)|
|3||Eliminate meat and fish/shellfish products|
|4||Eliminate dairy products – cow, sheep, goat, chicken (i.e. eggs)|
|5||Eliminate pulses (lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas)|
|6||Eliminate nuts and nut products (butters)|
|8-10||Eliminate grains, eating only vegetables (avoid night-shade vegetables if possible) and fruit in fresh/raw, steamed, broth or juiced form (avoid bottled (unless fresh) or canned versions when possible)|
|11-12||Eat only fresh fruit and vegetable (avoid night-shade vegetables if possible) juices and broths (avoid bottled (unless fresh) or canned versions when possible)|
|13/14||Drink only water (distilled or spring/bottled only). Rest days.|
|15/16||Fresh fruit and vegetable broths/juices again|
|17||Add fresh fruit – 1 kind of fruit at a time with 3-4 hour intervals between types.|
|19||Add whole grains (try to stick with gluten-free ancient grains such as brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet as long as possible)|
|23||Add dairy if desired (try to limit to eggs, fresh buffalo milk based products, and long-fermentation sheep and goat products, as long as possible), staying with one type of dairy source per meal|
|24||Add meat and fish if desired, staying with one kind per day|
|25+||Avoid refined and processed products, sugars, chemicals, alcohol and stimulants etc as long as possible. Listen to your body’s intuitive needs.|
THE WEEK-LONG MID-SEASON CLEANSE
Before you begin
The same advice and Do’s and Don’t’s apply to this Cleanse as the one above.
- Begin the first day at the line that corresponds to your current diet in the plan above and when you get to day 6, begin the Cleanse below.
- About 70% of the fruit and vegetables in the Cleanse below should be cooked lightly (steamed, made into compote (if fruit), baked, etc) and the rest should be raw. Sprouted or activated seeds and nuts are best during the Cleanse.
|1||Eat only fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds|
|2||Eat only fruit and vegetables|
|3||Eat only fresh fruit and freshly-squeezed fruit juices.|
|4||Eat only fruit and vegetables|
|5||Eat only fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds|
|6+||Reintroduce foods as suggested from line 22 onwards (plus grains) in above cleanse|
HERBS SUPPORTING ORGANS OF ELIMINATION
- Artichoke leaf (Cyanara scolymus): Supports liver and gallbladder function and enhances liver detoxification processes.
- Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale radix): Bitter herb which gently supports liver, gallbladder, general digestive and intestinal health and detoxification. It can help stimulate digestion and move bowels. Has anti-oxidant and liver protective actions. Is rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Dandelion leaf (Taraxacum officinale folia): particularly helpful in supporting kidney elimination due to its diuretic actions without leaching out potassium. It is also a good source of vitamins and zinc. The leaves also support liver and gallbladder though the root is more effective for that. Leaves can be eaten raw or cooked.
- Nettle leaf (Urtica dioica): Mildly energising and due to its richness in vitamins and minerals, including iron, it is recommended for re-mineralisation during and after a Cleanse. It is also a mild diuretic, has anti-allergic actions and supports the lymph system.
- Burdock root (Arctium lappa radix): Burdock root is particularly known for its ability to support cellular integrity and blood detoxification. It is a versatile drainer and depurative with antimicrobial, anti-allergic, anti-infectious (especially skin and urinary system), anti-bacterial and anti-fungal actions.
- Milk thistle seed (Silybum marianus): The liver protective herb par excellence. It also aids in supporting its drainage capacity and is especially useful to detox from alcohol. It has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory actions.
- Sapwood of Linden/Lime tree (Tilia spp): known as Aubier de tilleul (from Roussillon) in France, the sapwood is decocted and used to help the liver, kidneys and intestines in excreting waste and supporting metabolic function. It has diuretic properties and is a good companion during a a Spring cleanse. The best way to make it is to decoct 2-4 sticks in about 500 mls of water for 15 minutes, then let it infuse 10 minutes and drink throughout the day.
- Black radish (Raphanus sativus): Rich in sulfur which aids liver metabolic processes and stimulates enzymatic function. Best eaten raw or freshly juiced for no more than 2-3 weeks in a row (the juice doesn’t taste very good and is very strong so best to add a small quantity in with other vegetables).
- Garlic (Allium sativum). Contains sulfur which aids in liver metabolic processes. Supports intestinal health through its anti-microbial actions and supporting healthy gut flora. It also aids detoxification by increasing production of glutathione that helps filter toxins from the digestive system. It is rich in nutrients and supports chelation of heavy metals.