Shake Off Winter Doldrums With A Spring Cleanse

Every season can pose its own health issues. For many people winter is often the most challenging, with colds and flus, holiday weight gain, lack of exercise and cold weather aches and pains.

Many of the world’s traditional medical systems have recognized that weather and seasonal changes produce direct impacts on well-being. As such, traditional Chinese medicine and other time-honored health systems offer recommendations to help people thrive in their environments. By incorporating appropriate foods, nutrients and health practices into a daily program, we can align ourselves with these seasonal transitions to boost rejuvenation and healing.

How The Winter Season Affects Health

According to the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), cold weather and heavier foods can lead to a “heat imbalance” with symptoms of dry throat, halitosis, joint pains, constipation and lethargy. From a Western medicine perspective, cold weather stresses the adrenal and thyroid glands, makes the blood more acidic and causes a buildup of lactic acid, which can lead to sluggishness, muscle/joint pain and arthritis.

Both Eastern and Western naturopathic medical systems agree that the transition from winter to spring, which is just around the corner, offers an ideal opportunity to shed extra weight and accumulated toxins from the body. This excess buildup can be the result of numerous factors besides just cold weather. The main culprits include unhealthy diet, poor digestion, lack of exercise, winter dehydration, our own metabolic processes and environmental toxins. A gentle spring cleanse allows us to hit the reset button for optimal health and vitality as we move into longer days, warmer weather and increased activity.

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Benefits Of A Spring Cleanse

In TCM, spring corresponds to the liver and the gall bladder. A gentle spring cleanse effectively supports the liver’s vital detoxification processes, eliminates toxins stored in organs and tissues, helps shed excess weight, alkalizes the body, helps balance hormones and gets your circulation and energy moving.  Additional benefits include improved digestion, reduced inflammation, balanced blood sugar and better immune function. A cleanse can be as short as three days, up to a month or longer; but I find most people do best with a gentle 10-14 day program.

Nutritional Recommendations For A Spring Cleanse

  • Eat fresh, organic foods with an emphasis on green vegetables. Vegetables may be juiced, eaten raw, steamed or sautéed in liquid.
  • Eat alkalizing foods since they counteract the tendency to become more acidic during cold weather and promote oxygenation and the release of stored wastes and toxins.
  • Consume plenty of pure water and herbal teas along with vegetable soups or broths.
  • Add fiber (such as flax or chia seeds, psyllium, rice bran, etc.) to your diet to support regular elimination that flushes toxins out of the system.
  • Avoid foods that place oxidative stress on the body and cause inflammation, such as alcohol, sugars, processed foods, cooked oils, caffeinated beverages and non-organic foods.

Spring Cleanse Supplements

In my practice, I recommend a number of herbal and nutritional supplements during a cleanse and throughout the year for improved health and vitality:

  • Medicinal mushroom formulas: Help to remove toxins and metabolic waste buildup throughout the body; support immunity, digestion, vital energy and overall health.
  • Modified citrus pectin (MCP)/alginate formula: Clinically researched formula helps to gently remove heavy metals and environmental toxins from the digestive tract and circulation, combats inflammation, improves cellular health and immunity.
  • Phase II detox formula: Contains sulfured amino acids and detoxifying herbs and nutrients such as cilantro, dandelion, milk thistle and others for in-depth removal of stored toxins; combats free radicals and fights inflammation with potent antioxidants; supports organs of elimination and boosts vital energy.
  • Comprehensive herbal digestive formula: Complete, non-habit-forming digestive support with herbs, nutrients and enzymes that improves digestive function, enhances detoxification and soothes digestive discomfort.
  • Probiotic formula: Improves digestive and overall health by reintroducing healthy probiotic flora to the digestive tract that boost immunity, improve mood, enhance nutrient assimilation and support overall health.
  • Powdered greens: A mix of powdered greens including spirulina and microalgae, sea vegetables, wheat grass, kale, broccoli sprouts and other powerhouse green foods can support optimal nutrition and detoxification during a cleanse and year-round. Look for a formula with organic ingredients.

An Uplifting Experience

The benefits of a gentle spring cleanse can extend far beyond the physical elimination of toxins, providing improved mental clarity and emotional stability, balanced blood sugar and increased vital energy, as well as greater strength, flexibility and stamina.

Maximize the benefits of your cleanse by taking some time each day to meditate and reflect, stretch or do yoga poses, take a walk in nature, and rest. By caring for yourself in this way, you may experience positive transformation on multiple levels, the way the coldness and inactivity of winter gradually give way to new growth, warmth and energy in the spring. A seasonal spring cleanse should be a gentle, life-supporting experience, so relax, enjoy and renew!

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Dr. Isaac Eliaz

By Dr. Isaac Eliaz

Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a renowned integrative medical doctor, licensed acupuncturist, researcher, product formulator and frequent guest lecturer. He has been a pioneer in holistic medicine since the early 1980s, and has published numerous peer-reviewed research papers on several of his key integrative health formulas. He is the founder and medical director of Amitabha Clinic in California, an integrative health center specializing in cancer and chronic conditions. Dr. Eliaz is an expert in using highly strategic, synergistic protocols to address numerous areas of health including metastatic cancer, immunity, digestion, detoxification, diabetes, cardiovascular health and more. His approach integrates modern science with traditional healing wisdom for optimal health and wellness. To download any of Dr. Eliaz's comprehensive wellness guides, click here.