Interested in Spring Cleansing or Detox? Let’s keep it going all year round!

 

It’s springtime! Naturally, we start opening up the windows, clearing out the closets and eating lighter food. It’s a time for renewal, refreshing and rebirth. During this season many people like to do a spring “cleanse” or “fast” to aid in detoxification and get a fresh start. I hugely support regular cleansing in order to give the digestive system a rest and support the organs of elimination. This results in the removal of built -up toxins and, often, a positive change in health.

I also feel strongly that cleansing should be part of our daily routine to gently reduce the everyday burden we carry from our less-than-pristine environment and lifestyle. Regular cleansing rituals result in brighter skin, better energy, sounder sleep and, frequently, hormonal balancing. I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from cleansing support in their daily life.

To bring detoxification into the everyday, it is imperative that we assist the “organs of elimination.” This means we are supporting the intestines, kidneys, skin,  lymphatic system, liver and lungs to just do the job they love to do: move out the trash so the body can thrive!

First, let’s start with the intestines. Regular (daily) bowel movements are crucial; it’s just a fact.

Chia seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds and quinoa. All great fiber sources.

Many people tell me they go to the bathroom every other day or even less and it’s just “normal for them,” so “let’s not focus on it.” I’m sorry, but I can’t let that fly! Health (and disease) starts in the gut, and we need to get the waste out of our body every single day. Regular elimination is crucial for the large intestines (preventing colon cancer) as well as total mind and body health. When you are filled with crap, don’t you just feel like crap?!

A diet high in fruit, vegetables and water keeps the bowels moving for most people. If not, I recommend 2 tablespoon of ground flax seed, chia seeds or acacia fiber daily. You can add this to a smoothie, applesauce, food or water, and it is amazing what this one simple step will do to keep things rolling along.

Start your day with a full cup! Add some lemon or raw apple cider vinegar to really wake up your digestion and whole body!

Next, your kidneys must be encouraged to consistently move a lot of fluid. Toxins are held up in fat tissue, joints and extra cellular water stores. Just remaining well hydrated will encourage the kidneys to push out these toxins daily. Start each day with a full cup of water. For extra cleansing action add 1 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. That lip-puckering flavor stimulates the digestion, tonifies the liver and activates those kidneys. Continue with 7 more cups of water per day, and even more if you sweat or enjoy anything with caffeine. Consider drinking 3-5 cups of detox tea throughout the week. These teas are made by Yogi Tea or Traditional Medicinals and can be found in many markets.

 

 

Your skin and its close friend the lymphatic system are major areas of toxin clearance.

The lymphatic system doesn’t get much attention, but it deserves our appreciation for moving immune cells in and toxins out! The lymphatic vessels run quietly under the skin, next to the blood vessels, and act as our secondary circulatory system. The lymph does not have its own pump, like the heart, so it needs to be moved along with the force of gravity and muscle action. Exercise, inverted yoga poses, gentle trampoline bouncing and calf “pumps” all move that delicate lymph. You can also stimulate the lymphatic system by gently brushing the skin with a natural fiber skin brush. Brush in REALLY light strokes toward the heart before showering or bedtime. Lymphatic movement is hard to feel, but just keep your body moving (or inverted), and your lymph will keep flowin’.

Skin and lymph's favorite detox: Start with dry skin brushing, follow with good sweaty sauna and end with a cold water rinse.

The skin is our largest organ and an often-overlooked detox pathway. The skin likes to have mild exfoliation as well as contrasting hot and cold water to maximize circulation. Daily hydrotherapy can do wonders for your skin and whole body. Here is one simple trick: After a hot shower or bath, quickly rinse the skin (for up to 30 seconds) with cool/cold water. Briskly dry your body with a towel. You may feel shy about turning on that cold water, but if you follow up with a brisk toweling, your body will be warm and humming with fresh circulation. (The same goes for cold plunges in a river after a hot tub—try it!). Sweating is the main vehicle for removing toxins (like heavy metals) through the skin. Exercise, saunas and “hot yoga” are all great methods. In fact, exercise in general helps every single organ of elimination do its job more efficiently.

Avoiding chemical exposure in your food dramatically reduces the daily burden on your liver

The liver is our main detoxification organ, processing everything we put into our bodies. We can assist our hard-working livers by decreasing the daily body burden and feeding it the right nutrients. Choosing organic food and chemical-free makeup and cleaning supplies as well as avoiding preservatives, alcohol, fake sugars and smelly chemicals all will make for a much happier liver.

When the liver has the right nutrients for detoxification, it can do its job smoothly. Happy livers make for happy people. Sluggish, unhappy livers make for sallow skin, fatigue, nausea, headaches, PMS, menopause symptoms and moodiness (especially anger and irritability).

Green smoothie for breakfast (kale, cilantro, avocado,banana, date, almond milk) beet soup for lunch (recipe below!)

Regularly eating foods and herbs that the liver loves will push those detoxification pathways into high gear. Enjoy the following foods and herbs with wild abandon to keep the liver running on all cylinders: carrots, parsley, beets (and their greens), dandelion greens, cilantro, artichokes, sunchokes, garlic, milk thistle, burdock and fennel (yummy as a tea!). Drinking fresh vegetable juice a few times a week (with the above veggies) will nourish the liver and gallbladder potently. See below for my cleansing raw beet soup recipe which happens to  be incredibly delicious!

A simple home remedy to turn up the liver’s activity is to rub castor oil onto the liver and abdomen followed by a hot pack. It amazingly facilitates liver and digestive action, which is especially helpful with constipation and PMS (watch cramps go away quickly and bowels move within hours). While rubbing on your castor oil, send that liver lots of love because it has been shouldering the burden of detoxification for your whole body your entire life!

Lastly, the lungs have a very important function in moving toxins out.

Through exhaling, we let off gases being converted in the body. In addition, deep breathing immediately turns on the parasympathetic nervous system, which tells the body to use our energy to rest, digest and heal. So, every day, it is wonderful for the body and brain to do 20 deep, slow breaths.

Let’s take a deep breath together and welcome spring cleansing all year round!

Erika Siegel N.D.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Raw beet soup with yogurt, cucumber and cilantro

Raw Beet (cleansing) Soup

Enjoy this raw beet soup recipe for all year cleansing (and because it is so delicious). This soup is gorgeously red and as fresh tasting as can be! Beets detoxify the liver and cleanse the intestines. The parsley (and optional cilantro) nourish and cleanse the blood. After drinking this soup I feel all sparkly and think I even see more clearly!

(This is one of the recipes we are perfecting for the Nourish Me book coming soon. Please let us know how it is before it goes to print this fall!)

  • 2 C. water
  • 2 medium or 3 small Beets- peel and cut into small chunks
  • 3 oranges- peel and remove seeds
  • 1” ginger root
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • Equipment- a blender with some teeth! (if your blender is shy, chop ingredients and make it in several batches)

Blend well until smooth. May need to do in 2 batches in blender to fit all of the ingredients. Pour into large mixing bowl.

  • 2 C. water
  • 1/2 medium cucumber -washed, chopped. (Peel if not organic)
  • 2 carrots (chopped)
  • 1 stalk celery (chopped)
  • 1/2 C. walnuts
  • 1/2 C. parsley
  • 1/4 C. olive oil
  • 2 Tb. raw apple cider Vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tb sea salt.
  • 1 Tb. raw honey
  • 1 tsp. black pepper and/or 1/8 tsp cayenne if you like a kick
  • Optional (and highly encouraged) garnishes: avocado, dallop of plain yogurt, chopped cucumber. (we do all 3)

    Marley (3.5 years) loves his beet soup. (His shirt, on the other hand, did not.)

Blend coarsely in blender (perhaps in 2 batches) or food processor. It should remain a bit chunky- not like a smoothie.  Pour into large mixing bowl with the rest of the soup. Mix and it’s ready to go. Ladle into bowls and top with optional garnishes right before serving. You can transfer the soup into large jars or a glass container for storage. It will stain your plastic storage containers. Stays delicious for a few days in the fridge.

~~~~~~

Let us know if you make this superb soup. I am so curious what others think about it.  🙂 Enjoy!

 

 


This entry was posted in cleansing, General Nutrition, Recipes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Interested in Spring Cleansing or Detox? Let’s keep it going all year round!

  1. Lori Ruth Kalvert says:

    Thanks for this blog- so easy to read and simplifies that which is often obscured by too much information or language that is not accessible! You recommended lymph brushing years ago to me… When I remember it is so deliciously awakening!!!

  2. Molla Edelstein says:

    I love these ideas. I have to go and buy Castor oil tomorrow. I can’t stand the smell but if it stimulates the liver and helps with constipation, I’m all for it! Do you know, BTW, that my father used to take a glass of warm water with lemon juice every morning?

  3. Greg Eckel says:

    I can’t wait to try your soup recipe, it sounds delicious! Thanks Erika for the recommendations,great reminders that every day there are things we can incorporate in. Looking forward to the next one. I’ll keep you posted on the beet soup experience in our household!

  4. Will Safer says:

    As for kidneys, I admit I start my day with coffee but if I drink that much water I’m afraid I’ll float away.

    Will try the beet soup recipe. That looks awesome.

  5. traci says:

    give me that beet soup right now!!!!!!!!!!!! i love all the ideas for cleansing – they are as usual so do-able. it gave me new inspiration to help my toddler incorporate more foods to make him more regular and it worked already! a question for you — are all the cleansing ideas you wrote about safe for breastfeeding? i heard once that you shouldn’t do too much cleansing because you dump toxins into the breastmilk and also i know that some supplements are not recommended. thanks for giving so much of yourself to the world!!

    • Thanks Traci!
      yes, deep detoxification can be too provocative and can release dangerous stored toxins, like heavy metals, that would not be safe for breast feeding. The above suggestions will help facilitate gentle movement of chemicals and allergens out of the body, and are considered safe during breast feeding. The only precaution I can think of is if a woman has had chemotherapy, the castor oil packs can get some of the stored medication to be released into her blood stream and could perhaps pass through the milk. If a woman does not have a history of severe toxin exposure and gets no strong side effects from the above suggestions, then she can safely enjoy gentle cleansing for the health of her and her child.
      Thanks for that great question. 🙂

  6. Diane Budman says:

    Erika – your Uncle and I are making the soup today. Very excited to try it. Both of us love beets and want to stay healthy. Keep on blogging!

  7. Jessica Padilla says:

    Nothing ‘beets’ this soup!! So delicious! Thanks for the recipe! Olivia said, “What a pretty color pink!” Thanks again Erika!

    I will post a picture on your FB page! 🙂
    xo!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *