Feeling the need for a Spring ‘Cleanse’?

Fellow Minnesotans, didn’t that sun this weekend feel amazing?  Getting hours of fresh air felt so good, and I don’t know about you, but I slept fantastic.  We were boiling gallons and gallons of sap (truthfully my husband boiled for 12-14 hours both days, I just visited for a few hours), and canning it up in the kitchen.  It still amazes me each year to partake in this process, how many hours go into making one gallon of syrup.  And how much sawing, lifting, and moving downed timber to keep that fire stoked hot. Yes, it sounds like a lot of work, but this time of year I can’t sit around waiting for my yard to dry up to get to the gardening.  That spring itch hits hard, and I’ve got to find something to do about it.  It’s a seasonal thing.  And it’s not just a change your diet thing.  Or take a certain supplement and cleansing magic happens thing. It’s a natural moving from a heavy, contemplative winter into a fresh, lighter spring.  The food changes, the mood changes, the body yearns for more movement.  It happens every year.  And every year the changes you need to implement may or may not stay the same. For me, this spring dried up our dirt roads faster than usual, so I’ve been putting the miles on my running shoes since early March and it feels amazing to be picking up speed this early in the season. Even though it’s been windy and some days wet, the roads have been clear enough to be outside.  And that’s where I find my magic this year.

So let’s talk about some aspects to consider to shake up your winter body and mind into a lighter spring mode.  I’m not going to promote any one thing for your chemistry, mind, or body movement, because each of you is so different.  And the name of the game is to find what works for you by asking questions, experiencing things, and seeing how they feel.  You could take one of the particular tips, and apply it for one week and see what changes for you.  Then keep adding each week another tip. I guess when you learn more and know more, you just get more questions than answers, so to say I have all the answers or the particular one suggestion for you, I don’t.

And I’m definitely not a fan of the ‘cleanse’ one to two times per year anymore.  For a couple of reasons.  For one, it promotes the idea that by ‘cleansing’ a couple of times per year, you will eliminate all the ‘bad’ toxins and things you have done every day of the year.  That is just plain not true.  Secondly, the deep ‘cleanse’ doesn’t seem to instill lifestyle changes for you to keep going each day with good habits.  It’s a short, intense, drastic change, that truly for most isn’t sustainable. So then you go into ‘detox-retox’ mode.  You put in a lot of effort to detoxify your body, and then you go back to the habits that allow for toxicity to build up again. All the way from mental and emotional turmoil leading to physical and chemical burden. So what about implementing daily changes to allow your body to do what it naturally was intended to do? And secondly, there becomes this strange mind game with waiting for the right time.  The right time to cleanse, the right time to start a program, the right time to eat right, the right time to get up earlier, the right time to, whatever. Sometimes so much energy is put into waiting for something or someone to make things happen, you just need to do it. On your own time. I’ve led so many group things, and often several don’t even partake in the group event for this particular reason.  Something in life came up and they couldn’t partake.  So then there is shame and guilt.  That burden isn’t helping anyone. I think changes in lifestyle are so individual, that is how it should be addressed.  What do you need to do to take better care of yourself?

We tend to focus on what is wrong with us.  This focus tends to lose sight of what is right with us.  Your body is responding perfectly to the environment, whether you are feeling good or you are in pain. Whatever it is doing, it is right. You may or may not like what is happening, but your body is responding perfectly.  No one system works alone.

Try a few things. Or implement one for a week and see how you feel.

  1.  Wake up with the Sun.
    1. Get sunlight in your face in the first hour of waking.
    2. Whether it is natural or artificial, get bright light in your eyes for balancing your cortisol and circadian rhythm.
    3. To get up early, you must go to bed early. Nothing good happens after midnight, (Says my Dad).
  2. Gulp a large glass of water.
    1. 6- 8 ounces. Or if you are exercising hard, 10-12 ounces or up to one liter.
    2. Solution to pollution is dilution!
    3. Flushes the kidneys and other organs.
    4. Gulping stimulates the all mighty Vagus nerve! So does singing.  Sing away!
    5. Stimulates the colon to move.
    6. Hydration before coffee is perfect.
  3. Sit for morning breath and meditation.  5-10 minutes.
    1. Most powerful.
    2. The mind cannot be controlled, but it can be directed.
    3. Sets up how your day can go.  Are you chasing it or being run down by it, or experiencing it in the NOW.
  4. Have a bowel movement within one hour of waking.
    1.  Number one way to eliminate toxins everyday.
    2. Food should move through your system within 12-24 hours.
    3. Should eliminate yesterday’s garbage before eating or beginning today.
    4. The colon removes water from waste, that is it’s job. And it must have water and relaxation.
  5. Get some movement.
      1. The liver filters 5 liters of blood per day (circulation)
      2. Breathing hard and deep moves the big diaphragm muscle
        1. massaging the organs naturally
        2. particularly the transverse colon, liver/gallbladder, stomach, spleen, adrenals and kidneys, upper small intestine
      3. Walk, bike, swim, dance, weight lift, Tabata or HIIT workout.
        1. ideally sweat everyday
        2. improve muscle tone and circulation
      4. At least a few times per week, longer on the weekends.
      5. If you want to stay young, lift some weight. Find a person to help you learn.
      6. Get up off the floor.
      7. Do things on one leg at a time for balance.
  6. Eat real food. Eat food that is alive. Don’t eat food that is dumb.
    1. Eat when you are hungry, but pay attention in what you are hungry for.
      1. Are you wanting something sweet, salty?
      2. Do you need something with more protein or fat, because you are bored hungry?
      3. Do you need a cup of tea or glass of water instead?
      4. You need to do something, but check in and be aware of what choice that something is.
    2. Fresh or frozen is best. Even too many leftovers aren’t alive.
    3. Raw if you have good digestion (no bloating, gassiness, and BM everyday etc.)
    4. Slightly steamed or cooked if you need digestive support
    5. Colorful plate is fun and adds lot of antioxidant support
    6. more meats and veggies than fruits
    7. cut out or down on your carbohydrate intake.  Best at lunch OR dinner.
    8. Start your day with proteins.
    9. Make sure you have a lot of flavors to balance your digestion. The more balance you achieve with flavors, the less cravings you potentially could have for the dumb foods. What are you really craving and how can you satisfy that need with a better choice?
      1. Sweet
          1. it soothes the body.
          2. It increases lubrication.
          3. Natural forms are best; honey, maple syrup.
          4. Spices: cinnamon, tarragon, nutmeg, anise, cardamom (can add to your coffee too!)
          5. Herbs: basil, lavender, peppermint, lemon balm
      2. Sour
        1. heating, moisturizing, acidic.
        2. Sour tends to make you salivate.
        3. Pickles, fermented foods, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, lemon/lime
        4. may need to avoid if you have digestive issues
      3. Salty
        1. absorbs and draws water into it.
        2. helps move things ‘down’ in the body
        3. increases heat in the body
        4. add Himalayan sea salt, Celtic, or other salts to foods. Could also use sole water in the morning.
        5. Spices: chili powder, coriander, mustard, nutmeg, garlic, onion, paprika, turmeric
        6. Herbs: Basil, chives, dill, lemongrass, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon
      4. Pungent
        1. heats the body and moves fire/heat around body
        2. decreases mucus and increases heartburn, dry things out
        3. ginger, chilis
      5. Bitter
        1. cooling, hardens, dries things out.
        2. may aggravate those with stomach aches/ full sensation
        3. coffee, dandelion greens, kale
        4. horseradish, parsley, dill, chamomile
        5. there are digestive bitters (that have gentian root) that can be added before or after meals
      6. Astringent
        1. dry sensation
        2. beans, apples, bananas (green), cranberries, pomegranate, lemon
    10. Dumb food (no nutritional value) includes anything in a package, artificial colors or flavorings, preservatives, canned.
  7. Enjoy the arts, music, books, conversation, and nature
  8. Try a Gratitude Journal
    1. Begin or end your day with three positive things that happened today.
    2. Actively invest in hope.

Additional tips are tricks to consider:

  1. Cooking your downfall? Need something easier? Banyan Botanicals provides a kit.  You just have to purchase some veggies and meats of your choice, and you can eat the same sort of thing everyday for about 7 days. Fantastic way to incorporate flavors that assist your digestion. https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/shop/category/best-sellers/kitchari-kit/
  2. Eating Liver everyday, or at least a few times per week.
    1. This could be in the form of freshly cooked- pate is still my favorite. (talk to your local farmer.  Chicken is the most mild, beef is pretty strong. Can soak overnight with some lemon juice to make it more mild)
    2. capsules https://www.standardprocess.com/products/livaplex
    3. Or crispy chips.  I think the jury is still out on the chips.  They need some kind of dip, just saying. https://shop.carnivoreaurelius.com/
  3. Taking different nutrients everyday to support the liver detoxification process. Each one has a different approach, each person needs a different pathway potentially supported.
    1. https://nutridyn.com/milk-thistle-complex-r416  or  https://nutridyn.com/detox-phase-i-ii or https://nutridyn.com/dynamic-detox
    2. or maybe you are looking for more explanation, meal planning and a guide: 10 day or 28 day support https://nutridyn.com/dynamic-detox-program-10-day-vanilla
  4. Work on your Colon
    1. Fiber: beans, cabbage, flax seed, what is your jam? or something measurable: https://nutridyn.com/dynamic-fiber
    2. Clean it out better for short period of time (3 weeks or less) using Senna: https://nutridyn.com/dynamic-intestinal-cleanse
    3. Or my FAVORITE: G.I. Detox.
      1. Take 1 hour away from food or supplements (clay, and other absorbing type aspects)
      2. easiest to take it when you are brushing your teeth/ heading to sleep
      3. https://nutridyn.com/g-i-detoxtm  sometimes this is out of stock, but we have two other varieties in the clinic that we use.

Not sure where to even start? Many of our patients have been doing more bloodwork.  This can clue you in to where you are having some weaknesses and give us a jumping off point. Some discussion points on where you are at right now and in a few months or next year, can repeat the test to see how you are doing with your changes. Others are utilizing genetic testing to figure out their ‘pot holes’ and to stop making them worse with certain behaviors.  There are objective ways to assess where you need the most help right now.  Let us know if you need help here in taking some steps forward.

There are many systems that weren’t covered that work together, but there are many good points to take away in the above writings to give you a great start. If you feel overwhelmed, remember to just try one new thing this week. Try chugging water right away in the morning and see what happens. The way for you to learn best, is for you to experience the teaching.  Me or anyone telling you what to do, will not shape your experience, therefore it won’t stick.  And you may forget it works well at some point and stop again, or it may be something that is profound and stays with you each day. Try to remember how complicated this whole body works from the mind, to the body, to the cellular function. You may never get it ‘right’.  But there is always something to learn from your experience. You are working perfectly in the environment you have. No one system works alone. No one system heals alone. Take the plunge and make some changes for yourself this spring.

I think the maple syrup is finally ready to can up into jars, round number three. It takes a while. 🙂 -Dr. Christine