It’s that time of year in which a spring cleanse is in perfect order! As the dreary winter rains clear and the summer sun whispers that it’s on its way, we become more active, spend more time outdoors and change our eating habits to fresher, livelier foods. Spring is a time for renewal and wiping the slate clean to start fresh. It’s the perfect time to unburden the body’s detoxification organs to regain some balance going forth.
If you’ve never done a cleanse before, there are certain “shoulds” and “should nots” that you should pay attention to. For example, you want to go slow – don’t start with a 14 day water fast. It’s equally imperative that your bowel functions are up to par before you begin – there is nothing worse than ramping up the liver’s detox pathways only to have all the toxins dumped into the colon to be re-absorbed because the bowels aren’t properly eliminating. Also, pathogenic bacteria in our gut stand on the prowl to ferment the material in our colon (naturopathic plug for probiotics here!) – as a side effect, they produce ‘endotoxins’ which too are re-absorbed, unless your bowels are functioning well.
If you find yourself with sluggish bowels, ensure you’re having at least one well-formed bowel movement a day (better yet two!) for two weeks before taking any detox-related supplements. If constipation tends to be a challenge for you, seek out the help from a health care practitioner, or start with the following suggestions:
- Drink 8 glasses of water a day – glasses should be 6 ounces in size.
- Exercise for 30 minutes daily – exercise stimulates the smooth muscle of the intestinal walls
- Eat 2 servings daily of each: whole grains (brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, millet, barley) and legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
- Eat 6-9 servings of fresh vegetables and fruit – loaded with fiber!
- Try 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds per day (grind fresh, mix in with cereal, yogurt, salad, or protein smoothies)
- Try 1-2 tablespoons rice bran or oat bran
To be continued…