I was in the middle of my yearly Spring cleaning when a wonderful newsletter dropped in my mailbox by my friend Mary Hunter Ellegood. I loved what she had to say about this time of year and I decided to share it with you. Enjoy!
Mary specialized in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture and maintains a practice in Venice, CA.
Guest Post by Mary Hunter Ellegood, L.Ac.
Spring has arrived!
With it come some unique health opportunities and challenges. Spring is a time of change, of new life, growth and opportunity. It is also a great time to cleanse your body, mind and environment. Chinese medicine recognizes that the body’s energies have cycles and the energies come to the surface in the springtime making it easier to detox. Cleansing the body and mind allows for change to occur. If you are feeling stuck, or have projects to implement or move forward, doing a physical cleanse can help you manifest those changes.
Spring is a time of rising yang…. But it is not the full yang of summer. It can be warm one minute and cold the next. We feel the warmth of the sun, but the cold air and changing winds can catch us unaware and we can become easily chilled and this can lead to illness. Dress appropriately, keep out of the wind, and don’t rush into big changes. For some people spring can be freeing, but for others it can make you feel ungrounded, scattered and even anxious. Pay attention to your body’s unique cues and treat yourself accordingly.
While cleansing the body it is a good time to cleanse our environment. Opening windows to let the warmer breezes in, dusting, going through the accumulations from more time spent indoors during the winter. If you plan to do a dietary detox you might consider detoxing from electronic media as well. Unplug from your computers, DVR’s, video games, and Iphones except when truly necessary. Get back in to yoga or meditation, go for a hike or a bike ride and enjoy the warmth of the sun on your face.
Foods to Lose:
Take at least one week to reduce and eventually eliminate regular tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, alcohol, junk food, fatty and fried foods, foods containing hydrogenated and trans fats, sugar, processed foods and foods with dyes and other additives.
Reduce or avoid dairy and wheat products.
Reduce your exposure to other toxins by using only natural products on your skin and for household cleaning.
Filter your drinking water and ideally your shower water too. Avoid exposure to chemicals in your home and garden as much as possible.
Foods to Use:
Fresh fruit and vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and rutabaga; fresh spring greens like arugula, collard or dandelion greens, lettuce, parsley, spinach, swiss chard and watercress; rhubarb, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Flavor your cooking with fresh herbs, turmeric and ginger. Drink filtered water and herbal, green or white tea.
While some detox programs recommend relying on raw fruits and vegetables, salads and juices, I must still advocate for some cooked foods in the diet. Small amounts protein such as poultry and fish, simple soups, and lightly steamed or sautéed vegetables will provide the enzymes and nutrients while not overwhelming the digestion with cold.
Avoid strenuous exercise during detox but some form of gentle exercise is essential. Yoga, tai chi, and hiking or brisk walking are all good options.
Skin brushing & massage:
Brush your skin every day towards your heart with a dry skin brush to help circulate the lymph. This is a good time to treat yourself to a massage to support circulation and detoxification. A Korean spa with its cleansing baths, steam and saunas is another good option for spring.
As always, let me know if I can help you to achieve your health goals, and have a happy spring.
Mary Hunter Ellegood, L.Ac.
722 California Avenue, #2
Venice, CA 90291
Photo Source: Robert S. Donovan via Flickr under a Creative Commons License