With spring around the corner, our bodies naturally start to cleanse themselves by releasing toxins and cleaning the body from excess oils, fats, salt, carbohydrates, and animal proteins. Many of us experience this in the form of a cold or flu.
We can aid this natural cleansing process by eating lighter meals and indulging ourselves less. This includes reducing or eliminating animal proteins and fats, including dairy, alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar and processed foods for a specific period of time. And for “serious” detox cleansing, you may even consider doing a fast for a number of days. Detoxing happens via your major organs, including your skin, so all your organs should see an improvement as you eat more healthily — plus you’ll be giving your metabolism and energy levels a boost!
The key to a “gentle” detox is to eat light meals, full of raw, whole foods, with the aim to consume at least half of your daily intake in the form of raw fruit and vegetables in combination with other plant-based, rich in fibre, foods such as whole grains, beans, legumes, and nuts. 10 days of clean eating is a good way to give your body a power boost and to jump start into new healthy living habits. It’s also a good timeframe to start feeling and seeing changes in your body.
Here are my top ways to detox the body and reinforce healthy eating habits:
Avoid processed food. The first step in doing this is to eliminate foods that have barcodes and come in a can or packaged in a box. These are all processed foods and contain preservatives that our bodies don’t need or want. If there’s absolutely no nutritional value, toss it and don’t continue to buy it. We all know, chips stored in the cupboard have way of intimately calling our name.
Eat the seasons. Seasonal cooking is one of the best way to incorporate a mix of fruits and vegetables into your diet. Plus they at their peak freshness, making them more delicious and nutritious than ever. Rule of thumb: the more colorful the mix, the better. Eating an array of colors ensures your body benefits from a broader range of nutrients and valuable antioxidants.
Eat more raw food. Raw, organic produce, especially delicious and alkalizing greens, offer vital and essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes all of which are needed to stay healthy and otherwise risk being destroyed by over cooking. Keep in mind though, there are a few foods that pack an extra punch when steamed, roasted or grilled. These include: asparagus, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, and even spinach. Cooked they supply even more cancer-fighting antioxidants than when eaten raw.
Drink more water. Water is king when it comes to detoxing the body. Many of us unknowingly suffer from chronic dehydration. Your skin and your other organs will thank you. Plus it’s cheap and it’s easy to incorporate into your daily routine. There are even a number of apps to help track your daily hydration levels and send reminders when you need to drink more.
Drink lemon water. Start out the day with a glass of warm lemon water. It stimulates the liver and is highly alkalizing, plus it’s a natural diuretic with great cleansing and detox properties. It’s high in vitamin C, citric acid, magnesium and calcium, all of which give your immune system a boost and help you maintain a clear and glowing complexion.
Cook your own food. Cooking your own meals helps you take control of what you eat —you are also more likely to make healthy decisions and you’ll consume less calories than if you eat out or pick up fast food. With a little practice, you’ll find that cooking at home is much easier than you think.
Be active. The best way to rid you body of lingering toxins is movement. Find a routine you LOVE. Whether it’s in the form yoga, Pilates or stretching (or even going for a brisk walk!) these activities effectively stimulate your organs and in turn help purge toxins clear out of the body.
As part of spring cleaning your body, a simple way to kick-off your clean eating plan is by adding a plant-based smoothie to help start your day. Whether you do this for 3 or 7 days it’s a great boost to help flush out toxins, effectively giving your system a reboot, especially important if you haven’t been eating healthy.
Drinking one of these antioxidant-rich smoothies in the morning or as a mid-day snack is a great way to refresh and recharge your body. Don’t forget to add a splash of linseed oil or grape seed oil at the end. Fat is essential in order for your body to fully benefit from certain nutrients, including vitamins A, K, E and D, and various minerals. All of which are fat-soluble, meaning that fat must be present for your body to properly absorb them — flax, chia or hemp seeds also do the trick.
I like to use flaxseed oil since it contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Green Spring Detox Smoothies
Each recipe yields one large green smoothie.
Method: Just combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth and enjoy!
Celery Pear Smoothie
1 bunch fresh cilantro
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 1/2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into large pieces
1-2 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon flaxseed oil
Taste profile: Tasty, sweet and refreshing with a slight spiciness.
Healthy Mojito Smoothie
handful fresh basil
handful fresh mint leaves
1 english cucumber, cut in half lengthwise
juice from 1/2 lime
1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
1 teaspoon chia seeds
enough filtered water to reach the desired consistency
Taste profile: Refreshing and light, apple flavors with mild undertones of mint, basil and celery.
Herbal Root Smoothie
1 Granny smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
handful spinach leaves
a few sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
a few sprigs fresh coriander
1-2 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled
1-2 cm piece fresh turmeric, peeled (optional)
1 cup coconut water
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Taste profile: Green in a glass. Spicy and herbal, antioxidant-rich, this one is for serious green smoothie lovers.