As we undergo spring’s transformation, the weather warms, our bodies become more active and our sense of the world expands. But if we’re not careful, spring can be the cruelest time of the year as our joints ache with arthritis. Over the winter, our bodies have accumulated a variety of toxins. There are just too many chemicals in the environment — pesticides, cleaning products, medications, processed foods — and some of those come to rest in our bodies.
Research shows that these toxins can be linked to arthritis and other painful conditions. That’s one reason a thorough, gentle, cleanse can restore vitality, balance energy metabolism, reduce pain and improve overall health.
A detoxing cleanse can be a tremendous opportunity for renewal.
Cleansing Benefit: Yale Study
Over time, toxins can concentrate in the blood, cells, organs and joints. These accumulations express themselves through a variety of chronic conditions. We may suffer from allergies, aches and pains, digestive problems, even irritability. We simply don’t feel like ourselves.
Accumulated toxins produce profoundly disturbing afflictions. Environmental chemicals have been linked to cancer, diabetes, autism, neurodegenerative disorders and a number of other conditions. A recent study conducted by researchers at Yale linked two perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) to arthritis. These chemicals are used in many consumer products: clothing, food containers, personal care products. They are ubiquitous.
While the body engages in many processes to remove toxins, it simply has a hard time keeping up, especially as we age or deal with chronic health conditions. The idea behind cleansing is to support natural detoxification processes, giving them a much needed boost. When done correctly, the results can be amazing. You may experience better energy, improved digestion, more efficient metabolism, better sleep quality, reduced junk-food cravings and enhanced circulation.
Remember, a detox program is never a one-size-fits-all situation. It’s an individual expression of your desire for better health and vitality. There are any number of ways to effectively detoxify your body and adopt a program that’s sustainable for you. Here are a few basic approaches to help guide your choices:
- During a cleanse, replace animal protein, particularly red meat, with plant protein. This can help ease digestive function and reduce inflammation. Soaking and sprouting grains and legumes greatly increases their health, detoxification and nutrient profiles. There are many good resources online that provide seed-specific sprouting directions.
- Incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables in your meals and snacks. I particularly recommend alkaline vegetables; they neutralize toxic acidity. Avocado, cucumber and spinach are all good choices. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and kale, also greatly aid detoxification. Eat them raw, juiced, steamed or sautéed in liquid. Since the goal is to detoxify, try to stick to organic vegetables. They have fewer pesticide residues and other contaminants.
- Fiber is crucial to clear out toxins. Emphasize bran, flax, pectin, sprouts, cabbage, nuts and seeds.
- Support your microbiome. This consists of the trillions of symbiotic microbes in the gut that help with digestion and other critical functions. New research shows that healthy internal flora can even aid mental health. Probiotic foods, including yogurt, sauerkraut, miso and kimchi, support detoxification and boost immunity.
- Eliminate or strictly limit sugar, alcohol, processed foods, caffeine and cooked oils. They can all cause inflammation and add to your toxic load.
- Drink lots of pure, filtered water, herbal teas and vegetable broths to flush toxins and keep your digestion moving.
Botanical supplements are important for a thorough detox program, and they greatly aid in removing heavy metals and environmental toxins and supporting the body’s natural detoxification processes.
- Modified citrus pectin (MCP): Removes heavy metals and other toxins from the digestive tract, combats inflammation and boosts immunity. In addition, MCP also binds to galectin-3, a protein associated with cancer, heart disease and chronic inflammation. MCP has been clinically proven to eliminate lead, mercury, arsenic and other heavy metals without affecting essential minerals. A specially formulated MCP and sodium alginate blend provides even greater detox benefits.
- A Phase II detox formula contains sulfured amino acids, detoxifying herbs, cilantro, dandelion, milk thistle, garlic, astragalus and other botanicals. Incorporate it into your cleanse for more complete detoxification. Phase II helps removes toxins from deep within organs and tissues, fights free radicals, and boosts vital energy.
- Medicinal mushrooms remove toxins and support immunity, digestion and overall health. I recommend a formula of botanically enhanced medicinal mushrooms, with added beta-glucans to bolster the immune system.
- A comprehensive herbal digestive formula provides herbs, nutrients, enzymes, cardamom, pomegranate, cinnamon, galangal and medicinal mushrooms for complete digestive support. Such a formula can bolster detoxification, support digestion and increase nutrient assimilation, while preventing stagnation in the digestive tract.
- Probiotics improve digestive health by reintroducing beneficial digestive bacteria, which boost immunity, improve nutrient assimilation and support optimal health.
The beauty of a detox program is that it’s easy to customize to your needs and lifestyle. Instead of viewing it as a chore (something you have to do but don’t really want to), consider a gentle spring cleanse to be an opportunity to try new approaches to your diet and overall lifestyle. And don’t be discouraged if you start a program, yet slip back to old habits because of cravings, convenience, stress or any other trigger.
Be gentle with yourself, and remember you can always begin again if you run into difficulties. I recommend starting with small changes and incorporating more advanced refinements as your momentum continues. Above all else, a gentle spring cleanse is an opportunity to press reset, refreshing your body and mind with healthy, vibrant foods, targeted supplements and greater vitality in the long run.