Tofino wellness: Spring Cleansing
by Natalie Rousseau, Tofino
Spring is on its way, the days are noticeably longer, a little bit
warmer and we may notice that our thoughts are turning towards the
busy days ahead…
Spring-cleaning is an age-old tradition—open the doors, sweep
out the winter’s dust and clutter, let fresh air in. If we extend
this practice to include our bodies as well as our homes we will feel
prepared physically as well as mentally for the longer, busier days
of Summer. At the end of winter we may feel a little heavy. This is
normal. We eat richer food in the cold season, the days are shorter
and darker, and we are often less active. But now as spring arrives,
we want to lighten up as we prepare to move into action. As the days
begin to lengthen our liver and gall bladder become more active naturally
and the body begins its own cleansing process, the more we can help
this along the better we’ll feel. When the liver is over burdened
we feel sluggish and easily aggravated, our bodies will feel stiffer
and we’ll be more prone to allergies.
When the Liver is clear we will feel light and graceful, reflective
rather than reactive, as this organ is responsible for the smooth
flow of energy throughout the body.
Rich heavy foods congest the Liver, so as spring arrives we want
to limit our intake of fats, nuts, and heavy dairy products. Now is
time to emphasize freshness, think spring greens. Kale, parsley,
watercress, dandelion greens, unpeeled cucumber, sprouts, collards,
are excellent for encouraging the Liver in its action. Light but
nutrient dense, high protein grains, like amaranth and quinoa have
bitter taste and so are a good choice for spring, as are mung beans,
a traditional cleansing food. Fresh lemon juice and good quality
cold pressed oils like flax and olive promote smooth flow through the
Bladder. Adding these foods to your diet during this season will
bring a feeling of increased lightness. Additional supplements like
wheatgrass juice, or bitter herbs such as yellow dock, dandelion
root and burdock can help the liver to further clean the blood and
helpful if the Winter was an indulgent one.
Late night eating is hard on the liver, as is overeating. Taking
your last meal of the day not more than an hour after dark will find
sleeping better and waking up more refreshed. If this is not possible
because of your schedule try to make that later meal a light one and
see if you don’t feel better for it. A sluggish Gall Bladder
gives you that groggy, can’t get out of bed feeling in the morning.
Other practices such as starting your day with half an hour to forty
five minutes of gentle exercise such as stretching or walking, will
increase circulation and kick start your digestive system, giving you
more energy as you start your day.
You may notice that you drink more caffeine and eat more sugar in
the winter as the days are so dark and energy is lower. Coffee, alcohol
and refined sugar all stress the liver so becoming aware of our intake
of these and finding ways to cut down or replace them in our everyday
diet will give an increased sense of well being.
Remember moderation when approaching Spring Cleansing. The days are
still cool so too much raw food is not yet appropriate and intensive
cleansing practices like fasting can cause imbalance. By simply shifting
our diets to emphasize lighter, cleaner foods, and beginning to gently
increase our activity level as the season changes we will naturally
feel more energy.
Learn to listen to what your body needs and you will find yourself
naturally making the right choices. Trust your body and it will guide
you to balance. Here’s to spring! May it be a season of creativity
for us all!
Natalie is an instructor
of classical hatha and ashtanga yoga and a self taught avid nutritionist
Tofino Body & Soul - Spa and Wellness articles
Tofino wellness: Spring cleaning is a tradition for your house, but your body also needs a cleansing after the heavy foods of winter.