If you are feeling not quite energized or inspired with the arrival of spring, it may be time to pay a little more attention to your health. Perhaps you’ve strayed off your new year health resolutions, stayed up late too many nights, skipped exercising, and indulged a little too much mojito/ decadent desserts / John Legends’ crispy fried chicken wings
(so good!). It’s okay, life is about balance. However you are feeling not quite "springy" this season and have 2-3 of the following signs and symptoms, you may want to consider a little “spring cleaning” to your lifestyle:
Abdominal bloating and/or distressed digestion
Bad breath and/or thick tongue coating
Allergies and/or mucous in the morning
Irritability or moodiness
Acne, rosacea, skin rash and/or itching
Disturbed sleep, often waking up in the middle of the night
Cleansing helps reawaken the digestive functions and remove toxins from the liver. Spring is an ideal time to detox because according to TCM theory, spring season is related to the liver. A cleanse in spring is all about smoothing the energy of the liver, follow these simple steps for a little more bright-eye-bushy-tail this season.
1. LOVE YOUR LIVER
Stimulate the liver with sour flavors. Start the day with the juice of half a lemon and a glass of warm water. Or add a splash of apple cider vinegar to your salads. Herbal teas are your allies to reset the liver. You can customize different blends for different issues. See our recipes below or try this detox tea from our friends at Traditional Medicinals.
2. GET FRESH AIR
Get fresh air into the house and move out stagnant energy. Even though it might still be cold, it’s incredibly helpful to air out your home even for just 30 minutes a day. Or even better, spend more time outdoors.
Increase physical activity by doing yoga, dance, HIIT, spin or whatever it takes to get your Qi moving. Perspiration also helps flush out toxins. Extra fats in our bodies store toxins - another motivation to start burning those extra bulges! Exercise also leads to better sleep according to the National Sleep Foundation, which leads to the next step.
4. BIO-HACK YOUR SLEEP
For better sleep, try going to bed before 11PM. The hours from 11pm - 1am correspond to the gallbladder/liver time in Chinese medicine. If you stay up beyond 11PM, your body gets a second wind by producing a cortisol spike, a stress hormone that affects your REM. However, when a tight deadline or taking care of the little ones robs you of a good night’s rest, a power nap the next day can undo the damage from the night before.
5. DRINK YOUR VEGETABLES
If you are prone to allergies, lethargy, and weak digestion, it’s helpful to eliminate or cut down refined sugars, alcohol, and dairy products. Add more vegetables to your repertoire. Some vegetables, such as carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, are more nutritious when steamed or lightly sauteed. Vegetable soups are filling, delicious, and easy on the digestion. Spring carrots are in season right now and perfect for making carrot ginger soup (see below for recipe). Think beyond the land when you shop for vegetables. Sea vegetables are full of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and great for supporting detoxification. One of our favorite detox soups is seaweed soup, it's full of satiating flavors and easy to make, see recipe below.
Cleansing doesn’t need to be complex and complicated. It’s the accumulation of little things we do every day that make an impact on our sense of balance. However if you’ve done everything right and still feel unwell, it might be good to check in with your healthcare provider to rule out other possible issues such as autoimmune or thyroid disease.
EASY DETOX RECIPES
||1 strip, about 2x3"
|Toasted Sesame Oil
White Sesame Seeds (toasted)
1-2 tbsp each
1. Add kombu, onion, and water to a stockpot. Bring to boil on high.
2. Add dried anchovies to the pot once it starts boiling. Lower heat to low and leave pot uncovered. Boil for another 15 minutes. Strain and discard onion and anchovies. Set aside the stock. (Skip the anchovies if you are vegan.)
3. Add toasted sesame seed oil to a clean, dry pot. Heat the pot on medium. Add drained seaweed. Stir and let it sizzle for a minute while stirring.
4. Add the prepared broth from step 2. Turn heat to high and let it come to a boil. Turn the heat down to low. Let it simmer until broth appears milky; – about 15 minutes. Add salt/ soy sauce to taste. Let it boil for another minute. Remove from heat. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and spring onions.
SPRING CARROTS SOUP
|Carrots, coarsely diced
|Onions, coarsely diced
Pumpkin Seeds (toasted)
Black Sesame Seeds
1 tbsp each
1. Heat a small amount of avocado oil (you may use ghee or other healthy cooking oil ) in large stock pot and saute onions for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Then add turmeric and ginger and saute for another couple minutes.
2. Add diced carrots and saute for another 3 -4 minutes. Then add vegetable stock and simmer for 30 minutes until carrots are soft. Add salt to taste.
3. Blend soup until smooth. Add lemon juice and coconut milk, then topped with black sesame seeds or toasted pumpkin seeds.
Add a small handful of herbs as needed in hot water, steep for 5 minutes, take a deep breath, enjoy and repeat!
- For bright eyes: chrysanthemum flowers + goji berries
- For allergies and sluggishness: turmeric + nettle + lemon
- For irritability: mint + chrysanthemum flowers + goji berries + green tea
- For poor digestion: ginger + hawthorn berries
*Sweeten with a bit of raw honey if needed.