Spring is upon us and for me this is when I “Spring clean” my home. Many of us open the windows to let the stagnant air out, rummage through closets and toy bins to minimize the clutter, and scrub from ceiling to floors detoxify the house.
I also like to think of Spring as a reminder to do the same for my body.
I do this because I want to:
- Kick start my body’s digestive processes
- Increase my energy levels
- Help my body eliminate accumulated toxins
- Improve my overall brain function
- Feel lighter and freer
Simple Tips To Help Spring Clean Your Body
Drink More Water:
Start your day of by drinking 8-12oz of water in the morning. This is particularly important during a diet change as it improves cognitive function, gastrointestinal function, kidney function, decrease headaches¹
Keep a bottle of water on your night table and as you wake up you can gulp it down.
If you need a little flavour in your water, add a slice of lemon or try this recipe
Make it Sweet: Add maple syrup.
Make it Spicy: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Detox Lemon Water
- •2 cups Water
- •1 tbsp Chia Seeds
- •1/4 Lemon (juiced)
- Step 1 Stir together all ingredients in a tall glass or mason jar. Let sit for 5 minutes or until chia seeds swell. Enjoy!
Have A Smoothie:
Breakfasts can be challenging, especially when you have a house full of children wanting your attention. One of my go to smoothie recipe is a blueberry detox smoothie. It’s an easy way to jump start your vegetable and fruit intake as well as hide some of your supplements (I usually add in L-glutamine, probiotics and protein powder).
Want more protein: Add protein powder, hemp seeds or nut butter.
No banana: Sweeten with raw honey, maple syrup, or soaked dates.
Blueberry Detox Smoothie
- •2 cups Frozen Blueberries
- •2 cups Baby Spinach
- •2 Banana (peeled, chopped and frozen)
- •2 tbsps Chia Seeds
- •2 cupsUnsweetened Almond Milk
- Step 1 Throw all ingredients into a blender. Blend well until smooth. Divide into glasses and enjoy!
You Can Make Friends with Salads:
So long Irish stews and hello salads! Salads are a nutrient-rich way of getting insoluble fibre which is important to prevent constipation, helps to alkaline our blood pH levels and helps to lower cardiovascular risk factors such as lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triacylglycerol.² While prepping my main course, I munch on a salad (doesn’t have to be fancy) at least 30 mins before actually eating my main course to prepare my gastric juices and to prevent overeating.
It can be overwhelming when trying to think of new salad recipes but just remember to keep it simple. You can prep your salads ahead in a mason jar and keep your dressing on the side for easy transporting and freshness.
For the recipe below, you can improvise by the following:
No Red Wine Vinegar: Use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar instead.
No Lettuce: Use spinach, kale or mixed greens instead.
More Toppings: Add sliced red onion,nuts, seeds, quinoa, olives, crumbled feta, bell peppers and/or avocado.
Want Protein: Add cooked chicken, turkey, tuna, or beef; or legumes
On-the-Go: Keep dressing in a separate container on the side. Add just before serving
Simple House Salad in a Jar
Simple house salad in a jar.
- •2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- •1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- •1/4 head Green Lettuce (roughly chopped)
- •1 Tomato (medium, sliced)
- •1/2 Cucumber (sliced)
- Step 1 In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar.
- Step 2 Add remaining ingredients to a large bowl and drizzle the dressing over top. Toss until well coated. Divide into mason jars and enjoy!
Don’t Forget To Snack:
It’s important to have nourishing snacks on hand to stabilize your blood sugars and give you the oomph you need to get to your next major meal; this way you aren’t going grab the next chocolate bar or bag of chips you see when your ghrelin starts to grumble.
Try eating a handful of trail mix, or my girls favourite almond butter apple sandwiches.
Syra & Sophia's Almond Butter Apple Sandwiches
- • 2 Apple
- • 1/4 cup Almond Butter
- Step 1 Slice the top and bottom off of each apple and discard. Then slice the entire apple in half so you are left with two rounds. Now cut each half in half to make 8 rounds. Cut the center core out of each round.
- Step 2 Spread 1 tbsp of almond butter on one apple round. Set another round on top. Repeat, plate and enjoy!
Love your Lymphatic System:
Our lymphatic system is network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body. ³ While we adjust our body to spring and clean up our eating, it’s important to support this system so that it is able to function optimally and eliminate toxins from our body. You can go for a walk, run, or swim (amongst other types of exercise) which help stimulate the lymphatic system.
Here are some 3 tips to help get this system flowing:
- Dry brushing: Helps stimulate circulation and helps to release toxins and improve lymphatic drainage. It is also very relaxing and eliminates dry skin cells leaving your skin glowing and healthy. Click here to read how to dry brush and get tips on choosing the right brush.
- Jump on a trampoline: Not just for kids anymore, grown ups can jump up on them too! Click here to read specific mini-trampoline exercises.
- Get a massage: Massage isn’t just for relaxing after a tough day, it improves our lymphatic drainage as well. Who are we kidding, do we really need another reason why to schedule a massage? If you are looking for a great RMT, head over to Denise Semple & Associates and ask for Jarek Gora.
Did you know that the brain uses 20 to 30 percent of the calories we consume?4 It’s true! While we adjust our diet for Spring we may notice a change in our energy levels, concentration, motivation, and clarity of thinking. That’s why it’s extra important to include foods from the are rich in vitamin E, antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, phytonutrients, fibre, and lean protein, which are very supportive to the health of the brain. Click here for a great list of foods!
Try to include a brain food option everyday. One of my favourite trail mix recipes is the Methylation Trail Mix. Give it a try!
Juice Me Up:
Fresh pressed juices are not only delicious, they are also highly concentrated in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients which act as powerful antioxidants. It’s good to keep in mind that because the fruits are stripped of their insoluble fibre, they become highly concentrated in sugar which can spike blood sugar levels. Constipation due to the lack of fibre is another effect to keep in mind. My daughters and I love to make beet juices. Beets are high in antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory; supports the liver and helps to remove toxins from your body due to the compound glutathione, and increases blood flow to the brain.5
Increase fibre in your meals to prevent constipation.
Juice more vegetables than fruit to decrease sugar content in the juices.
Walk to the Beet Juice
- 1 beet, rinsed, lightly peeled and quartered
- 1 green apple, peeled, cored and quartered
- 1 Tbsp size piece of fresh ginger (skin removed)
- 3 whole carrots, rinsed and peeled
- 1 lemon, peeled, and quartered
- Step 1 Throw everything through the juicer.
- Step 2 Enjoy!
Declutter The Mind:
Did you know that being still for 15 minutes a day can help you deal with stress anxiety, and negative emotions, cool yourself down when your temper flares, and sharpen your ability to concentrate.6 When I am feeling particularly stressed, I use a Muse headband to help me focus on my breathing. When I’m done a session I feel refreshed, energized, focused and my mind feels lighter and freer. There are lots of apps you can use on phones, smart watches and tablets these days to help you centre yourself. When I can’t use my muse I often use the headspace app.
If 15 minutes seems intimidating for you, reduce the time to 5 minutes and just breath deeply.
Get Plenty of Sleep:
Sleep is vital for good overall health. When we are not able to sleep at least 7 hours, we suffer from lapses of attention, slowed working memory, reduced cognitive throughput, depressed mood, and perseveration of thought.7
Click here to see Dr. Axe’s Top 20 sleep tips. I’ve used these tips in the past to help improve my sleep (amongst other changes) and now I get on average 8 hours and 35 mins of sleep.
As I clean my home, I clean my body so that I am able to function more efficiently and feel rejuvenated.
I hope the above tips can help you this spring as you venture onto your wellness plan.
Sumbul Zafar, R.H.N.