Spring has sprung and what better time to clean out your cupboards and clean up your diet. Spring is a natural cleansing time for our bodies, with many cultures around the world traditionally cleansing around this time. Now is the time to wake our bodies up out of their winter slumber and ditch those heavy winter comfort foods, that make us feel sluggish, and start whipping up some light and lovely spring dishes using fresh organic seasonal produce.
Here are 7 simple spring cleaning tips to help reboot your health and have you feeling healthy and fabulous for the warmer months ahead.
1. Clear out your kitchen of any heavily refined and junk foods. Say goodbye to any sugary breakfast cereals, biscuits, and chips lerking in your cupboards. ‘White’ flour foods including white breads, pasta and rice should also take a back seat to healthier fibre-rich options like wholegrain breads, quinoa, brown and wild rice, wholegrain spelt and buckwheat pasta and noodles. Your body has to work much harder to digest these foods that lack nutritional goodness and living enzymes.
2. Get yourself down to your local farmers market and stock up on fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. Buy organic when you can. The less pesticides and other chemicals your liver has to deal with the better. Spring is a perfect time to start eating more salad so don’t forget to grab a variety of green leafies and fresh herbs.
3. Think light and healthy over heavy and hard to digest. Eating lighter meals like raw salads and steamed vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds will help aid the body’s natural cleansing processes. Try sprouting or activating your nuts, seeds and grains. It increases their nutritional value and improves their digestibility. Cut down on meat and eat more vegetarian meals. Include plenty of fresh herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginger, chilli, cumin, and fennel that help assist digestion.
3. Try replacing your morning coffee with a herbal tea or super green smoothie or vegie juice. This is a great way to supercharge your day, delivering high levels of important nutrients and potent antioxidants to your cells, to boost energy levels and promote optimal health. Green smoothies also have the added benefit of being high in fibre to support healthy bowel function and cholesterol levels, and to keep you feeling more satisfied for longer. These are alkalizing for the body too.
4. Get your digestive juices flowing and stimulate those sluggish livers. Generally we become a little sluggish during winter, including our digestive system, so an important part of your spring clean should be making sure your digestion is working properly and your liver is detoxing effectively. Some simple ways you can do this is by having 1 tsp-1 Tbsp of good quality apple cider vinegar with some water before each main meal. Lemon juice in water first thing in the morning is another great way to kick start your digestion for the day. Add rocket to your salads, its bitter taste will stimulate digestive acids and enhance the digestion of your meal. Kale contains sulfur compounds that assist liver detoxification, and artichokes help stimulate bile flow from the liver, which aids the digestion of fats. All in-season now!
5. Enjoy seasonal super foods including mango, papaya, blueberries and cherries. These highly nutritious fruits boast very high levels of antioxidants, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, which bolster our immune defences and help prevent free radical damage and chronic diseases like cancer. Papaya contains enzymes that improve protein digestion. Good news for all of you mango lovers too, recent studies have shown that eating mangoes can help alleviate inflammation in the body, can improve blood sugar levels, and may help you lose weight. Including cherries in your diet can help improve your body’s natural sleep pattern, as they contain melatonin. Cherries are also posses powerful cancer fighting agents and antioxidants that help prevent premature aging.
6. Consume herbal teas daily that help support liver detoxification.
Drinking green tea regularly is a good way to support healthy liver function. This antioxidant rich tea contains high levels of catechins, a polyphenol which has been shown in studies to help prevent liver inflammation and fat accumulation. Green tea helps improve liver function by protecting it from the harmful effects of toxic substances including alcohol.Dandelion root is another super liver herb which makes a great caffeine-free alternative to coffee. Dandelion root stimulates liver detoxification, helping clear toxins from the body. It also boosts digestion and improves gallbladder function. Turmeric and Schisandra berries are also important herbs for improving liver detoxification and health.