Spring is the best time of year to do a quick, full-body cleanse! Get rid of all the heavy foods and garbage that have been bogging you down all winter, and get your body prepared for fresh produce and increased physical activity. It also gives us a mental switch, from wintertime blues to increased hours of daylight. A cleanse helps us get out of hibernation mode, and back into living life!

A detox or cleanse doesn’t have to be expensive, lengthy or miserable. Most of the items needed are readily available and inexpensive. Some simple planning will make the detox easy and enjoyable, and may help you shed a few unwanted pounds, restore your normal digestion, release nasty toxins, clear up your skin, and give you more energy.

A good cleanse should take about 7-10 days, and focus on internal health (digestion, lymphatic system, and flushing organs), external health (skin and mucous membranes), mental health, and physical health. During this time, it is important to avoid sugar, refined and processed foods, dairy, red meat, salt, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and other drugs. Try to keep meals light. Throw out any treats, cookies and candy. Make sure to get plenty of rest too, as this is a healing time for your body. Cooking food at home puts you in control of what you are eating, and gives you a chance to add healthy spices, such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper, which promote detoxification and healing. As plants start to grow in the spring, incorporate them into your cleanse. Don’t kill your dandelions! They are super cleansing food, and can used a variety of ways.

The most important part of any detox regimen is to include plenty of fluids, as this will help flush toxins out and keep our cells hydrated enough to properly get rid of waste products. At least 8 glasses of good quality water is an important start. Juicing organic fruits and vegetables, such as, citrus, apples, grapes, seaweed, cucumbers, beets, cilantro, garlic, parsley, carrots, and ginger, will help stimulate digestive enzymes, detox the liver and kidneys, and balance blood sugar. Try the fruit juices in the am, and the veggies in the pm.

Fruits and veggies help keep our bodies alkaline instead of acidic, which promotes cleansing. To make an alkaline broth, chop up 2 cups each of spinach, broccoli, and red potato peels, 3 cups chopped celery, 1 small zucchini, and add 2 quarts distilled water. Bring everything to a boil and then simmer 20-30 minutes. Strain and drink the broth.

Eating a ton of veggies may become dull for some people, so making dishes with lots of flavor can really keep things fun. In a previous post on detoxing, I included a recipe for Detox Cabbage Soup. This soup is full of flavor, loaded with detoxifying veggies, high in fiber, contains immune boosting nutrients, and is low in fat and calories so you can eat a ton! This earlier post also has some other great tips on cleansing if you would like to incorporate those into your program as well.

Teas and other drinks are also an important part of the flush. Decaffeinated green tea, ginger tea, detox teas, Ninxgia Red anti-oxidant drink, digestive teas, coconut water and hot water with lemon all help flush the liver and kidneys, improve circulation and promote healthy digestion.

Next, focus on cleansing the digestive track. Many Americans carry 5-20 pounds of fecal matter that never gets eliminated. If we eat three times a day, we should eliminate three times a day, but for most of us, that is not the case. Fecal matter remaining in our body releases toxins and impairs absorption of nutrients by preventing them from crossing the intestines. To make any positive changes with the detox, the intestines must be clear so the nutrients can reach the rest of the body.

Fiber is most important for cleaning out the digestive system. Green veggies such as broccoli, romaine, celery and kale are excellent sources of fiber. Quinoa, brown rice and other whole grains are good sources as well. Colonics are another option for removing fecal matter, but it doesn’t reach the whole length of the intestines, so be sure to include fiber too.

Supplements such as probiotics, vitamin D, vitamin C, magnesium, fish oil, and other antioxidants will promote healthy digestion and reduce inflammation. Super-green foods like chlorella, spirullina, cilantro and green drinks also help the body release heavy metals and toxins, which is important when detoxifying. Many companies have high quality detox meal replacement shakes which contain essential vitamins and minerals needed to support the body during a cleanse. Many essential oils can also be used during a cleanse. Some are taken internally to help from the inside out, and others can be used in recipes to make products for the skin to help pull out toxins (bath salts, body scrubs, herbal wraps, etc). They can also be inhaled or diffused to help with mental detox, and help our minds switch over from winter to spring. Many people also do a spring cleaning at their home as well, and use essential oils to make green cleaning products, as they are eliminating toxins from all aspects of their life.

The next area to focus on is the skin and external body. Part of detoxing is removing germs and strengthening the immune system. Make sure to clean all the mucous membranes where germs can invade. Neti pots and naturopathic nasal sprays clean out the nose, hydrogen peroxide drops keep the ears clean, and eye drops can flush out the eyes. After brushing your teeth, gently massage the gums and tongue with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. A tongue scraper can be used to remove toxins and debris. Oil pulling is an ancient practice to help cleanse the mouth and teeth. First thing each morning, before brushing teeth or eating, take a tablespoon of coconut, olive or sunflower oil and swish it around in the mouth for 15 minutes, being sure to pull it back and forth between the teeth. Spit it out when done and do not swallow. After brushing, swish a few drops of cloves essential oil, or Thieves blend by Young Living, around in the mouth as a natural mouthwash.

Exfoliate by rubbing a dry brush all over the body in circular motions, starting at the periphery and moving towards the trunk. Use an exfoliating scrub to remove toxins in the shower. To help open the pores and release toxins, add infrared sauna therapy 3-5 times a week to increase circulation, and get a deep sweat. Thirty minutes in the sauna can also burn up to 600 calories! At home, prepare a bath with Epsom salts and lavender oil. Herbal body wraps and homemade detox and cellulite body scrubs are also very effective for eliminating a large amount of toxins and can help shed a few unwanted pounds. There are many wraps that can be purchased, or you can make your own. This is also a good time to switch to all natural skin care products and cosmetics that aren’t full of toxic ingredients.

It is also important to work the physical body. Aerobic exercise pumps the blood, moves lymphatic fluid, increases the amount of oxygen in the lungs, and promotes sweating, all of which remove toxins from our bodies. Yoga has many great poses designed to detoxify, massage organs and promote deeper breathing, such as cobra, cat tilt, twists and others. Tai chi and Qi Gong in Chinese medicine also stimulate organs and promote detoxification. Don’t forget about the infrared  sauna therapy here too!

Bodywork such as chiropractic, acupuncture, lymphatic massage and reiki also promote the release of toxins, detoxification, healing, and normal body function. Bodywork can restore digestive health and improve immune system function.

Last but not least, we need to mentally detox. It’s a shame to have a clean body polluted with negative emotions and thoughts. Journal writing is a good way to release regrets, worries and fears. Mindful meditation trains you to focus your mind on the present and appreciate where you are and what you have. It can improve mood, decrease stress and boost immune function.

After the stress of the long, cold winter, take this time to relax and focus on yourself by doing this simple detox program. Get your mind, body and soul ready for spring!

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About the Author

Dr. Brenda Trudell is a chiropractor and owner of New Beginnings Chiropractic in Mount Horeb, WI. The clinic focuses on natural health, especially for women, pregnancy and children through chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, fitness, nutrition, essential oils, and more. As a female chiropractor, she understands the special circumstances surrounding women's health. Men and women are not created equal, and it is important to acknowledge that in the healthcare world. She strives to find the most current healthcare information to help all of her patients.

Dr. Trudell is available to present to groups on many different topics. Please contact the office for details or with any questions. Dr. Trudell is certified in the Webster Technique. For more information, visit newbeginningschiropractic.net or email at brendatrudell@drtrudell.com.