spring cleansing

Spring Cleansing For Beginners

By Lisa Cook

Spring is a strange season.  The birds start to sing, and then must find shelter in the cruel joke of a ‘winter’ storm.  Flowers are ready to burst forth their beauty only to be met by gale force winds.  Mostly spring means putting away those heavy, black and dreary clothes of winter in hope of flip flops, shorts, and t-shirts.  There is nothing worse than having this overwhelming need to shed the winter clothes and dreariness only to look in the mirror and see the winter blahs of pasty skin and a few extra pounds staring back.   Decision made.  I must do some Spring Cleansing.

As part of this year’s journey, I decided to undertake a changing of the guard, so to speak, and move from winter foods to spring foods with a ‘cleanse.’  I’ve read and heard about cleanses and I’ve tried a few but I have approached them half- heartedly, mostly because I don’t enjoy being hungry, experiencing colon cramps or evil headaches. 

Maybe this year will be different.  Ready to embark on this journey, I reached out to Health Coach Becca McHaas.  Becca works with individuals to combat depression and other debilitating ailments.  One of the first things she looks at is diet and how to get the body working more efficiently. She shared with me a few tidbits on how to make this cleansing experience more effective.

1. You must be regular first.
Immediately I blurted out “Isn’t a cleanse so that you CAN be regular?”
Her reply quite simply was ‘No.’  “Here’s where most people go wrong with a cleanse.” She went on to explain: “You decide you want to be healthier, shed some pounds or just be more regular.  An innocent cleanser will buy a 7-day program from a health food store and start ‘cleansing.’ As the process begins you get the toxins to release from your organs and fat storage, but since you aren’t eliminating regularly the toxins just go into your intestines, have nowhere to go and reabsorb back into your blood stream.”
 Not exactly the vision I had for my cleanse.  That makes points 2 and 3 so much more important.

2. Drink more (clean) water!
The cold temperatures of winter send me straight to the hot chocolate bar, the latte lounge or the Chai chair.  I am a sucker for a hot drink and a comfy seat.  Water is about as interesting in winter as watching the gray, lifeless skies.  Boring and depressing.  Most experts agree to drink AT LEAST half your weight in ounces of water each day.  And if you are a heavy exerciser or drink caffeine, then you need even more. 

3. Add more dark greens.
Green foods like kale, spinach, collards and more are all coming into the peak of their season.  They are chock full of nutrients that give your body the burst of happiness and sunshine it has not been getting.  There are so many ways to add these to your life, but Becca shared three of her favorite ways.

Add chopped anything to anything.  I know, it is not specific and that’s the point. There is nothing specific about how to put them into your life.  It’s as easy as having warm soup and pouring it over a hand full of spinach.  Or take some butter or coconut oil, melt it in a pan and throw in some spinach. Once it’s wilted add some eggs and scramble.  Throw some salsa on top on you have the breakfast, or lunch, of champions.  I even put a few pieces of spinach in my kids’ morning smoothies. Sometimes they notice; sometimes they don’t. Either way it’s worth a shot.

Make kale chips. Take a head of kale, peel off the leaves from the stems and rinse.  Break the leaves into smaller bite size pieces and place in a bowl.  Take a tablespoon of olive oil, pour it on the kale and mix up the leaves so they are all covered.  Place the leaves flat on a cookie sheet and put in either a 350° oven or on low broil.  I like to add salt or garlic powder to give them some ‘chip’ like qualities.   Keep an eye on them in the oven. When they start to brown take them out let them cool and enjoy.

Juice away.  Becca reminded me of the great benefits of juicing. Since I am too lazy to buy a juicer, this is how I have made juicing work for me. 

Take anything green, (spinach, kale, romaine lettuce etc.) put it in the blender with a chopped apple, a 1/3 of a cucumber, 2 or 3 stalks of celery, a huge handful of parsley and a piece of ginger-if you like ginger. Pour in a glass of clean water and blend.  I add lemon juice at the end with just a small piece of lemon rind and a handful of ice. Swirl it all together until it is as chopped as you think it will go.  Pour it into a colander over another bowl so the juice drains and the pulp stays in the colander.  Shazam – you have a green juice.  Now do NOT let the color fool you.  Pour over some chopped ice add more lemon juice, and if you close your eyes you would swear you’re drinking some fresh made lemonade.  This is a quick way to get your greens without having to chew on a pound of fiber.

The best advice I took away from my conversation with Becca is that cleansing is not something to be taken lightly.  Engage with a professional who can help you cleanse in the right order (your liver is last) and with the products and systems that are truly best for you. One size does not fit all and cleansing is not a diet.  The need to cleanse is very natural but only when you are ready.  I’m going to start with a big glass of water and some green juice.

Becca McHaas is a Master Coach for Zhi3Fusion.  She can be reached at 435-655-5891 for questions about her coaching program which focuses primarily on individuals with depression.

© 2013 Lisa Cook - LisaCook.com