I am so thankful that Spring has arrived. I do love Winter but am more than ready for things to start heating up and getting us back outside and in the ocean.
There is something about the smell, the warmth, the hope and promise of idyllic days of spring that gets you motivated to start freshening up. I don't just mean spring-cleaning the house, but spring-cleaning yourself! A lot of people find it the perfect time to do a cleanse or detox but this doesn't have to necessarily mean an intensive fast or very strict restrictive diet. Just by introducing a few new things into your routine can give your body a nice little kick-start and a healthy dose of energy to get revitalised for Spring.
1. ALKILIZE your body (lemon/apple cider vinegar)
Start the day with the perfect rev up for your digestive system - a glass of warm/cool water with 2 or 3 tsps of freshly squeezed lemon juice, or a non-pasteurised apple cider vinegar. I keep my lemons right near my filter tap so they are always there ready to go.
Why do we want to alkilize our bodies? Most diseases and health problems are caused by an over-acidic body. Also, our bodies store excess fat to try and help neutralize the acid in our bodies, which can result in extra body fat, and then extra weight. And who wants that? It seems strange that lemon/vinegar (such acidic tasting ingredients) help to alkilize - but they do! However, a word of warning, after drinking your lemon/acv water, rinse your mouth well so that your not leaving this liquid in your mouth to corrode your teeth.
Other alkilizing tips: eat more celery (only organic as it is one of the most heavily pesticide-laden veg around), eliminate processed foods, eat more greens, cut down on cow's milk & try to avoid alcohol.
2. Get more GREENS!
Besides the obvious ones (spinach, kale, broccoli, avos, rocket, etc, etc), it can be quite easy to forget how AMAZING green stuff is. Try to incorporate more of these into your diet:
* Lots of Herbs - add a handful of fresh herbs to your salads, make up pestos & eat them with vege sticks, add some parsley to your smoothees, and use them to top off stir fries, curries or casseroles for a zesty finish. A lot of these are good for chelating (getting rid of heavy metals in your body) so what better start for making you feel a lot "lighter"?
*Chlorella- this stuff is super! It helps detoxify, cleanse the blood, aids wound healing, strengthens your immune system, alkilizes, fights infection, I could go on and on. I have discovered a Supergreens supplement that contains 4 fantastic ingredients: Chlorella, Wheatgrass, Barleygrass and Spirulina - everyone needs some of this to add to their smoothees and help give their bodies a nice clean out.
* Salads - these don't need to be the boring old lettuce, tomato & cuke salad. Try some different greens to spice up your salad life:
- buckwheat or sunflower shoots topped with sliced avo, sliced apple, shaved parmesan, walnuts and a spritz of lemon juice and sea salt;
- or water cress mixed with cubed fresh p'apple, red capsicum, toasted almonds & a drizzle of olive oil & sea salt.
Embrace warm salads too:
- grilled zucchini (marinaded in olive oil, lemon zest & crushed garlic before & after grilling) with crumbled fetta & some thinly sliced basil leaves;
- and gently sauted garlic in olive oil with a pile of sliced kale or spinach slowly wilted in the heat, topped with a little lemon juice and sea salt - I can eat massive bowls of this!
3. Try OIL PULLING and/or DRY SKIN BRUSHING
Both of these help to cleanse your body and detoxify it, adding either to your daily routine and will help you feel heaps better.
*Oil Pulling - is an ancient process that gets to the root of your problems and is not an overnight miracle cure. In fact, chances are, as your body begins to release toxins in this process, things will get worse before better, as I discovered. I found out about OPing in my search for strengthening my teeth. I'd had some fillings done & was told I needed a mouth guard at night to stop me from teeth-grinding which had begun loosening my teeth from their roots. What I read initially turned my stomach, but as I tried it, it was actually very easy to incorporate and I am beginning to see improvements.
Oil Pulling involves swishing a tbsp of cold pressed sesame/sunflower oil through your mouth, and between your teeth for around 15 - 20 minutes. This effectively stimulates your body's eliminatory systems and can begin a healing process by getting rid of toxic waste.
*Dry Skin Brushing - this helps to release toxins from under your skin (your largest organ) by encouraging your lymph glands to cleanse itself of any toxicity. It improves your circulation and keeps your pores open to encourage your body's elimination of metabolic waste. This is best done before your morning shower with dry skin and a brush made of natural, not synthetic fibres. Start with vigorous brushing on your feet and work your way up, finishing with your arms and hands. Finish with a warm shower and then a cool rinse to get your body invigorated and to strenghten your immune system, help digestion, tighten skin, stimulate glands and remove dead skin cells. For more on dry skin brushing, see here.
4. NOURISH your body.
It's time to be really considerate in what you are feeding yourself. Eliminate the stuff that will cause you more harm than good and swap it for something that will help improve your inner workings. Don't look at it as "GIVING UP" something but as "CARING & NOURISHING" yourself.
Some things to swap:
* refined sugars for natural, unprocessed sugars found in fruit, raw honey, pure maple syrup, etc.
* cut down on your bread habit - try to switch to buckwheat crispbread, corn mountain bread, or sprouted spelt loaves to cut down on all the wheat and refined flours, additives & preservatives.
* ditch the white pasta & rice and try to serve up saucy meals on top of cauliflower rice, shredded or spiralled veg, quinoa, or mashed sweet potato.
* change your beverage choices: soft drink for natural sparkling mineral water; wine for Appletiser, peppermint tea instead of black tea/coffee.
* steer away from some of the cow milk products (very acidic & very little nutrition) and instead try coconut yoghurt (soooo creamy), goats milk and chevre, or nut milks.
* check your oils: olive oil should not be used for high heat frying, only for dressings & gentle sauteing. Instead, use coconut oil or organic ghee as these are the ONLY ones that can stand high heat and will not go rancid, or turn into a trans-fat. All polyunsaturated oils (eg sunflower) are usually rancid before they even leave the processing plant as they are heated to unnaturally high temps for extraction and then deoderised & bleached so you can't tell. ICK! And don't ask about Canola - it's genetically modified to begin with and then treated to the same routine as the other oils. You can use cold-pressed nut, seed, veg oils but don't ever heat them too much either. To read more, see here.
5. Get MOVING!
Best way to get the gunk in your body moving out, is exercise! Make a decision to walk to school a couple of days with your kids, or with bub in the stroller in the early morning or late arvo. Join one of the many personal training groups that have started up in a lot of the parks nearby. If you already do this, try to incorporate something a little more exciting into your weekends that'll push your physical limits: stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, indoor rock climbing, anything the kids'll love to do with you.
It's so important to look at this as a way of nourishing yourself, not a means of deprivation or punishment. Focus on putting in the best, and the output will most definitely match it. However, don't forget it can take a little time for your body to adjust to changes and there can be a time of withdrawal symptoms before you begin to see improvements.
Hope to see you all at the beach!