A South Austin holistic acupuncture and wellness practice


Spring Detox! 5 ways to cleanse away the winter buildup

It’s Spring Time!!! One of my favorite times of the year. Everything is coming Alive. There is a general movement upwards and outwards, a blossoming of qi. We can take advantage this energy by being outside, walking, running, moving, dancing. And by CLEANSING. Yep, during the winter months our body holds onto a lot. The qi goes deep inside and hibernates, and our bodies need a lot of fat and protein to keep us warm. But Spring is a time of shedding and rebirth. A time of letting go of the things that no longer serve us. And that includes a fatty diet and toxic buildup. Let’s release it!

There are a few ways to do a cleanse. There are gentle 3 day restart cleanses, one of which I’m going to begin today! And there are full out yogic ninja cleanses which seek to completely detox the body or release attachment from food. The big dudes pretty much come with a lifestyle overhaul because if you are just gonna have a steak and beer when you are done, well what the point? I’m not ready for the deep work that comes with a complete lifestyle change, but I definitely want to take advantage of the Spring Qi to cleanse my body of winter buildup.  Join me! Here’s how:

1. Juice cleanse

This is probably one of the most popular cleanses and the one that I’m going to do. It’s simple, easy, and delicious. Though can get expensive. Because, if you’re cleansing, buy organic! No use getting rid of toxins while putting more toxins in your body. Ok, so make fresh veggie juice, drink fresh veggie juice. (Or buy juice from Whole Foods).

If you’ve never done a cleanse, start small – 3 days – to see how your body handles it. It’s good to ease in and out of it as well. The day before and after, eat very simple foods such as a grain and a veggie without a lot of spices. If you want something more intense, 7 days is recommended with 2 days on either end to ease in and out of it. If you want to go longer (yogic ninja), it’s extremely beneficial to be supervised by someone with experience as the toxic release can be more than the eliminating organs can handle.

Since there is no fiber in a juice cleanse, an enema can be your best friend. The toxins need to be released out of your body and not just from your organs.
Drink only herbal teas and water, no caffeine!
Juice should be drunk at room temperature and should be “chewed” before swallowing so the saliva can begin to metabolize it.
I like to add ginger to most of my juices because it benefits digestive fire.
Other good things to add: parsley, lemon, wheatgrass

2. Steamed veggie cleanse

I’ve done this one before and I’m warning you, it’s sooooo boring. A great one for learning detachment from food, but wow, it’s difficult. We are so used to exciting and rich foods. So for this one, basically you lightly steam one or two veggies and eat them 2-3 times a day. No spices, nothing. Like I said, difficult! But it’s a good one to do if you have trouble digesting raw foods.

Similar to the juice cleanse, go 3-7 days, ease in and out, and no caffeine!

3. Mung bean and rice cleanse

According to yogis, this is the “food of the gods.” Mung bean is also a Chinese herb used to cleanse toxins from the body. This one is great for those who have weak digestive fire (gets easily fatigued or bloated after eating) or are just generally cold or weak. While the mung beans detox, the rice nourishes. Warming spices can be added in the last 20 mins of cooking such as fennel, cumin, or mustard seed. Add seaweed to enhance detoxifying. This one is really yummy. I prefer it in the fall though because it is warm and nourishing.

4. Micro Algae

You can add micro algae (spirulina, chlorella, or wild blue-green) to any of the cleanses above to help regulate blood sugar. This will help calm food cravings and any emotional swings that might occur.

Spirulina also nourishes yin, for dry body types.
Chlorella is the most nourishing for weak and cold body types.
Wild blue-green is the most draining for overweight body types or those with too much mucus.

5. Absolute fast

For the yogic ninjas. No food, no water, 36 hours. Intense!

More cleansing tips:

Never eat/drink to the point of being full.
Try not to eat/drink more than twice a day.
Get plenty of physical and mental rest.

And enjoy your awesomely cleansed body!

PS. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Have you done a cleanse? What is your favorite way? Are you inspired to do one now? If so, let us know how it goes.

References:
Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. Berkley: North Atlantic Books, 2002.

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