According to Chinese Medicine, spring is related to the wood element, which corresponds to the liver and gallbladder. Considering the liver and gallbladder are major detox organs; springtime is ideal for cleansing. Since you probably don’t want to embark on a 3-4 week regimen, here are several tips to help spring clean your body (and mind).
- 1) Drink cleaner water
Whenever you are cleaning something, the main ingredient is typically water. That’s because water is known as the universal solvent and is capable of dissolving more substances than any other liquid. That said, it also does a fine job of cleaning our bodies, assuming the water itself is clean. Aside from consuming more water, do your best to avoid all water from plastic containers (even BPA-free). Although it may not be feasible to have a glass container wherever you go, it’s worth making the attempt. Additionally, a water filter is imperative if you’re not using bottled water. My favorite at the moment is made by Berkey. For real spring cleaning, make water the only liquid you consume for the entire season.
- 2) Drink organic vegetable juices daily
Vegetables provide a ton of nutrients and antioxidants that are critical for detoxification and cleansing. And there’s no better way to absorb those beneficial substances than in the form of (fresh, not bottled) juice. Some people might disagree with me in regards to juicing, and say it’s not a normal way to consume food and that the fiber is important. Remember though, juicing is meant to supplement a meal, not replace one. I definitely recommend eating vegetables in their whole form. However, when it comes to cleansing, the juice is the better way to go.
- 3) Pick one food to avoid eating for at least 21 days
Twenty-one days should be enough time for your immune system to adapt and allow you to notice the change (especially after you re-introduce that food). Choose any of the major foods that cause sensitivities: gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, nuts, all nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers), chocolate, coffee, onions, and/or citrus fruits. Ideally you should choose a food that you eat frequently. Re-introduce that food into your diet after 21 days and see how you feel.
- 4) Start moving
If you’re trying to clean your body (and mind) you absolutely must exercise. Ideally, you’ll want to do aerobic exercise (e.g.: walking, running, biking, swimming) to get those toxins out of fat cells and ultimately out of your body. Generally, the minimum should be three times a week for 30-40 minutes. Be sure to get a heart rate monitor and don’t exceed a rate of 180-(your age). And also, try not to go under 10 beats of that number. So if you’re 40 years old, you’d generally want to exercise with a heart rate between 130-140 (180-40 years old = 140 – 10 = 130 — 130-140 beats per minute). This is a general formula and can vary slightly depending on your fitness level. And yes, I understand that high-intensity interval training is all the rage these days. I’ll speak about that another time. I don’t feel it’s fit for everyone…
- 5) Mindfullness Meditation
Above all, this might just help you the most. It has certainly changed my life for the better. Twenty minutes first thing in the morning is what I prefer to do. Put your cell phone on airplane mode the night before, wake up, don’t check your email and sit right down. The practice (for me at least) is to bring yourself to the simplicity of your breath and prevent your mind from wandering into the future, past, planning, judging, and/or daydreaming. Remember, the quality of our life is determined by what we focus our attention on. Through meditation, we are training ourselves to focus our attention in the present moment, the only thing that truly exists. I’ve found that it helps prevent unwanted stressful thoughts from entering my mind for the entire day. And if a stressful thought does arise, I’m much more able to frame it in a healthful way that allows for peace and action, instead of stress and reaction. Try it out! I bet you’ll find it helpful.
My best wishes for your health and well-being!
Dr. Rob D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Diplomate and Board-certified Teacher of the International College of Applied Kinesiology