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An Inner Spring Cleanse: How to energise and refresh from the inside out.
At long last, Spring has sprung! The sun is shining brighter, the days are warmer, and we can finally shed those dark winter coats.
By Sophie Leaver
Health and Wellbeing writer
An inner spring cleanse is the perfect way to align our bodies with the natural energy and light that comes with the changing of season. This is the perfect time to detox, flush out the stagnant energy from winter, and restore balance to our minds and bodies. But cleansing isn’t about depravation or starvation, and we don’t have to live on kale juice for a week to get that healthy glow. By following these basic tips for an inner body detox, you’ll be able to fully embrace the natural abundance of spring.
What does detox really mean?
A lot of different elements can throw our bodies off kilter: stress, lack of sleep, diet choices, pollution, alcohol and even holding onto negative emotions. By finding a gentle detox that suits our bodies, we can boost the immune system, eliminate physical and emotional toxins, and promote cellular regeneration. Ancient Ayurvedic wisdom refers to the concept of ama, a toxic by-product that builds up in the body when our digestive system is struggling to function. It is believed that ama can clog up the vital organs, as well as the subtle energy channels in our bodies. The good news is that our bodies are naturally wired to detoxify, with the liver using enzymes to break down harmful substances, and your kidneys filtering your blood and flushing out waste. With a cleansing diet, the right exercise, and some important immune-system boosters, we can give our organs the kick-start they’re looking for.
It’s important not to think of a detox as a short-term solution or a quick-fix weight loss trick. Rather, it’s the perfect way to boost your system and nourish yourself from the inside out. So why not commit to a 7-day detox plan, and remind yourself how good your body is really meant to feel?
Detox Diet Plan- 5 Easy guidelines
- Incorporate liver cleansing foods into your diet to assist your natural detoxifier. These suggestions are potent, and easy to mix into your daily routine:
- Garlic- with high amounts of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing, garlic is an easy way to add more flavour to your meals.
- Grapefruit- High in both vitamin C and antioxidants, grapefruit increases the natural cleansing processes of the liver.
- Leafy green vegetables- try incorporating spinach, bitter gourd, chicory, and rocket into your diet. If a salad isn’t your idea of an exciting lunch, try blending them in a smoothie or sautéing them with garlic and spices.
- Get to know Coconut oil- the health benefits of the humble coconut seem endless. Coconut oil has a powerful combination of fatty acids which help provide a great source of energy, improve brain function, and even assist in fat loss. Its antibacterial properties have even been shown to help prevent infection. The best type is raw, organic coconut oil which can be used in cooking to replace your usual olive or vegetable oils. It can also be mixed with apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper for a delicious and earthy salad dressing. You could use coconut oil to amp up the nutritional qualities of your smoothie, or use it to replace butter in your baking recipes. It’s delicious eaten by the spoonful, and if you have any left it even makes a deeply nourishing hair or facemask.
- Rekindle your digestive fire: Ayurvedic teachings refer to the Agni as the body’s digestive fire. If the digestive system is imbalanced, we can feel sluggish and weak. We can relight our digestive fire by using certain spices, such as ginger, cayenne, fennel and cinnamon. You can incorporate these into your cooking, or you can sip a cleansing herbal tea which will help with your digestion.
- Hydrate: Keep the liquids up while you detox in order to help your body stimulate the release of toxins. Make sure you always have some water handy, a warming mug of detox tea, or warm water mixed with lemon or apple cider vinegar.
- Superfoods: Sure, the word has been thrown around a lot lately, and it’s hard to keep track of all the popular new foods and what makes them so super. But superfoods are worth the hype: they are nutrient dense foods that are known to help keep you strong and healthy. Incorporating the following into your diet will enhance your body’s ability to heal and rejuvenate:
- Organic maca powder- this ancient Peruvian root is known to increase energy and balance hormones. It tastes sprinkled over porridge, blended into smoothies, or mixed through some natural yoghurt for a sweet, nutty taste.
- Spirulina capsules- these are the perfect superfood supplement, with a whole host of nutritional properties. Spirulina is a blue-green algae known to improve digestion, lower cholesterol, increase energy, and even help ease pre-menstrual syndrome and other women’s health issues.
- Lucuma powder- this immunity-boosting powder is a great source of fibre, beta-carotene, vitamins and minerals. It taste amazing when used in raw chocolate recipes to add a sweet and creamy flavour.
Stretch it out
Yoga is a fantastic compliment to your detoxification process. It can help you become more in tune with your own body, and more aware of the subtle tensions or imbalances that need addressing. The right combination of asanas can help blood circulation, improve digestion, stimulate the thyroid gland, build muscle, and help maintain mental clarity. Try these simple asanas, whilst always remembering to focus on your breath:
- Bow: Lie facedown, bend the knees, and take hold of the ankles. Keeping the knees hip-width apart, press against your hands as you lift your chest off the mat, forming a bow shape with your body. This creates space in your chest and opens up the area around your heart, as well as lightly stimulating the digestion by working the abdomen. Remember to be gentle with your lower back here.
- Seated Twist- Begin sitting on your mat with your legs out straight, then bring the sole of the right foot just before the sitting bone. Lift your left arm up, extending your torso, and then bring the left elbow to the outside of the right knee. You can push your elbow against your knee to gently twist further towards the back of your mat. This gently twist stimulates the organs and aids with elimination.
- Legs up the wall- Sometimes when our bodies are healing it’s important to choose poses which have a calming and nurturing effect on our body. Lie in front of the wall, and shuffle forward until you can create an L shape with your body, extending your legs up against the wall. This asana encourages blood flow from your legs, and soothes the nervous system.
While you’re at it…
For a really thorough spring cleanse, you can pamper your body with a few finishing touches to the detox process. The most important way you can help your body is to slow down, find what it is that stresses you, and eliminate that from your routine. Switch off your phone, computer, or TV and create an environment where you can relax and restore. Soaking in a bath is a great way to help the cleansing process. Adding Epsom salts to your bath helps restore your body’s magnesium levels and flush toxins, while adding lavender oil can relax you and prepare you for a good night’s sleep. Finally, try to focus on de-cluttering your mind and eliminating negative thoughts and judgments. Our emotions can have an impact on our whole body, so take the opportunity to find a fresh perspective on things and you might find yourself feeling much more light and free.
Make sure to take note of how your mind and body respond to these new changes in your routine. You may even want to integrate some of these techniques into your long-term lifestyle, and keep that Spring in your step all year round.
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