After the hibernating period of winter, Spring always inspires a period of cleansing and rejuvenating as we automatically move towards lighter, more vibrant food. A cleanse or detox is a wonderful way to kick start the body and introduce some healthy eating patterns that can continue through the warmer months.
(Scroll down to go straight to the weekend eating guide)
Our bodies automatically perform the natural process of elimination and neutralising toxins though the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph system and skin. Over time, regardless of how healthy a life we maintain, toxins in the form of fat, old fecal matter, mineral deposits and toxic chemicals accumulate in various organs and tissues in the body, affecting their operation and efficiency.
Doing a gentle cleanse periodically can help to restore vitality to the body and flush out toxins that can otherwise lead to viruses, bacteria, parasites or disease.
The body also uses a significant amount of energy for digestion, therefore when fasting or cleansing, the digestive organs can rest and energy can be diverted towards rejuvenating tissue and cells. A cleanse can also help to restore immune system functionality, restore good digestion and return the body’s metabolic process to an optimum state.
A gentle weekend detox can be a great way to give your body a rest from the stress of the modern world-from both environmental pollutants and dietary substances such as sugar, gluten, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, chemical food additives and pesticides.
All of these factors place a tremendous burden on the body. While a longer detox on solely liquids can be very beneficial, sometimes a gentle weekend regime can be an easier way for people to fit a break into their lives and begin to make real changes and establish new healthier habits. In the lead up to your cleansing weekend, cut down or eliminate these acidic foods such as caffeine, dairy, alcohol, meat, wheat and sugar. Try and spend these days eating light, focusing on raw greens, steamed vegetables, legumes, beans and raw nuts. You will find that this will lessen the symptoms of headaches and withdrawal symptoms as you move into your cleanse.
Cleansing can trigger various reactions in the body, these vary greatly and often depend on your existing state of health and the amount of toxins present in your body before you begin your process of detoxing. You may experience headaches, joint pain and other mild discomforts. You may find that you shift between periods of having boundless energy and mental clarity, while other times you may feel weak and tired and just wish to rest. These are all normal detox reactions as the toxins move out of your body.
When you are ready to break your fast, take several days to transition back to a normal way of eating again. Continue with smoothies, juices and gentle soups or salads for the first day or two. The body will continue to detox and cleanse due to the natural sweeping motion of the fiber in the fruit and vegetables.
The longer you stay on primarily raw and plant based foods, the longer your body will detox for.
To assist your cleanse you may also like to consider these points:
- Upon rising each day drink a cup of warm water with the juice of a half a lemon. This stimulates the bowels and detoxes the liver.
- The skin is the body’s largest eliminative organ, therefore saunas and steam rooms are great for purification and the elimination of toxins and heavy metals through the skin. Dry skin brushing is also excellent to remove outer layers of dead skin and keeping the pores open.
- Massage therapy, especially lymphatic and deep tissue massage, is very useful and supportive during a detox as it helps to move toxins from stored areas in the body that are then eliminated through the colon.
- Mild exercise, light yoga and short walks also help to keep the lymphatic fluid moving and the vascular system working.
- Make time to do things you enjoy whether that may be listening to music, reading a book, writing in a journal, playing an instrument or doing some gentle gardening.
- Write and reflect, make notes in a journal about changes you notice in your body, how your thoughts are and emotions you are experiencing. Jot down any powerful insights that may have come to you. When the body has time to rest and slow down and digestion is given a chance to unwind, there is often a sensation of more clarity and emotion.
- Take a relaxing warm bath in Epsom salts. The Epson salts are high in magnesium which allows the muscles to relax and also helps to detoxify the lymphatic system.
- Make sure you get to sleep nice and early and aim for a full 8 hours so that your body has time to rest and rejuvenate thoroughly.
- For any cleansing period it is important to plan times to meditate, rest, exercise, gently and to get plenty of fresh air and sunshine.
Here is a gentle routine for a weekend of healthy cleansing food:
You can follow in the order suggested or mix it up to your own liking. If you feel like you need some in between snacks, try and stick to fresh fruit and vegetables, raw nuts or seeds, fresh coconut juice or herbal tea. Remember to keep food combinations very simple and to eat slowly and chew thoroughly.
Alkaline Green Smoothie
- 1 cup of coconut water or filtered water
- 1 stalk of celery
- ½ a cucumber
- ¼ inch piece of grated ginger
- 1 small green apple chopped
- 1 tsp spirulina
- 4-5 kale leaves
- 1 sprig of parsley
- ½ a lemon juiced
Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy, adding more liquid to reach your desired consistency.
Happy Belly Cup (recipe below)
- 2 cups coconut meat
- ½ cup coconut water
- 1 teaspoon probiotic powder or one capsule
- ½ a small ripe papaya diced
- 1 passion fruit
- a good squeeze of lime juice
Blend coconut meat and water until smooth and creamy. Add the probiotic powder and blend briefly until combined. You can enjoy the yogurt fresh or you can leave it out at room temperature for 12 hours to allow it to ferment and then keep the jar in the fridge again for 1 day. This will give the yogurt a sour, tangy taste like regular yogurt. Top the yogurt with the papaya, passionfruit and lime juice.
Super Power Salad
- 1 cup of baby spinach gently chopped
- ½ a large cucumber finely sliced
- ½ an apple finely diced
- ½ a ripe avocado chopped into cubes
- 2 tablespoons of Inca berries
- 2 tablespoons of chopped activated almonds
- ¼ red capsicum finely diced
- 1/4 fennel bulb finely sliced
- 1 cup of fresh orange juice
- I small avocado
- 1 small inch of fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon of flax oil
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of fresh coriander (optional)
Mix all salad ingredients well and place in a large bowl. Blend all dressing ingredients in a blender until well combined. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve with fresh herbs and a scatter of sesame seeds. (This will make extra dressing that will keep in the fridge for a day or two)
Gorgeous Green Goodness Soup (recipe below)
- 2 cups baby spinach
- ¼ cup parsley
- 1 tablespoon of tamari
- 1 teaspoon of ginger
- 2 tablespoons of walnuts
- 1 avocado
- Squeeze of a lemon
- 2 cups water
Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Taste to season and serve topped with fresh herbs and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Amazon Berry Green Smoothie (recipe below)
- 1- 2 silver beet leaves
- 3-4 lettuce leaves
- 1/2 cucumber
- 4-5 fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 tbs chia seeds
- 1 tsp acai powder
Blend until smooth and creamy, adding more liquid to desired consistency.
Dawn Fruit Bowl
- ½ a medium size papaya
- 1 large banana
- I mango
- I avocado
- 1 tablespoon of goji berries
- 1 tablespoon of dried mulberries
- 1 tablespoon of chopped activated almonds
- 1 lime
- 1 passionfruit
Chop the papaya, banana, mango and avocado into bite sized chunks. Mix in a bowl with the goji berries, mulberries and almonds. Top with a squeeze of lime and the pulp from a passionfruit.
Avocado, Orange and Kale Salad
- 1 bunch of kale with stems removed
- 1 small ripe avocado
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- ½ cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons of tahini
- ½ an orange sliced finely
- ¼ cup sliced basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds.
Roughly chop the kale and then add the avocado and salt into the kale, massaging it until it wilts and softens. Mix together the tahini and orange juice. Add all remaining ingredients to the kale mixture and mix well to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.
Clean Green Nori Rolls (recipe below)
- 2 raw nori sheets
- 4 large cos lettuce leaves
- 2 tablespoons of macadamia butter
- 1 cup of fresh sunflower sprouts
- pinch of salt
- Optional- ½ a ripe avocado sliced
Lay the nori sheets flat and fill each one with one tablespoon of macadamia butter, 2 lettuce leaves, ¼ cup of fresh sprouts and a pinch of salt. Roll the nori up and eat fresh with your hands! You can choose to add any fillings you like, but I find this particular combination simple and tasty.
Do you feel like you’re in need of a gentle weekend cleanse? I’d love to chat and hear how you go via the comment section below.
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This article is part of the 2015 ‘Spring Into Wellbeing’ Hub: Check it out for expert health and wellbeing tips, guides and advice from Australia’s leading wellbeing experts – inspiring and empowering you to unlock the path to true wellness this Spring.