We all feel it. Spring is finally here. You can smell it in the air. You can see it in the small tulips beginning to bloom. You can hear it as the birds chirp away in the early morning. Lastly, your mind, body, and soul can sense it more than anything. Our bodies are incredibly smart and they can sense when there is a change in season. This is why it’s so important to align with mother nature and not resist it. Ever wonder why you’re craving warm soups or hearty desserts in the winter? Or why you may crave juicy, citrus fruits like oranges in the spring and summer? Though it may seem too obvious, this has to do with how our bodies adapt to the changes in temperature and seasons. In order to successfully keep our bodies running at 100%, they need the proper fuel. Our digestive system is especially impacted by these changes. If we feed our bodies the wrong type of fuel when it needs soup, not ice cream for example, it initiates a more challenging process in breaking down and digesting the food. I’ll share with you throughout the blog post how you can successfully detox your way into Spring through all aspects – fuel for the body, exercise, self-care, mental stability, etc.
Before I go into detail on tips to help detox your way into Spring, I want to briefly introduce a quick background on Ayurveda and what it is/how it works. At a high level, the “traditional science of Ayurvedic medicine is designed to bring the body back into balance so it can heal itself” naturally. Like Chinese medicine, this holistic approach has been practiced for at least 5,000 years. A “holistic” approach means discovering the root cause of what may be causing stomach or digestive issues for you as an example & looking at the whole person, not just a specific organ or system involved. This essentially ties back with why our mind, bodies, and souls are SO connected.
One more interesting thing to note is that if you understand your own body type (or “dosha” as it’s used in the traditional form) you can better adjust appropriately. This is important because as you know, everyone’s body is different. What my body may need, could very well be completely opposite from what your body needs. This Ayurvedic Spring approach is a general guidance, however, if you’d like to learn more about your own body type, take this quiz and then feel free to read more on that specific body type via this link. There are complete lists of foods and drinks to eat, as well as appropriate exercise, etc. to help balance out your specific dosha (i.e. body type). If you’re interested in learning more on Ayurveda and how you can implement parts of it to help bring your body back into balance, I’ve added a few source links at the bottom of the blog.
Alright, now back to spring cleaning! In Ayurveda, Spring is a crucial part of the season routine since in the winter, our digestive system is high and people tend to eat more sweet & heavy food. Interestingly enough, our digestive systems are quite adept at adapting to these hard-to-digest foods, so “ama (the sticky, toxic product of incomplete digestion) starts accumulating.” As Spring rolls in, “the ama melts and the volume of ama becomes so great that the shrotas, the microcirculatory channels of the body, become clogged.”
Below are some tips on how to detox & cleanse your way into Spring:
1) Avoid eating heavy, cold, hard-to-digest foods. A general tip is to just eat WHAT IS IN SEASON! As long as you’re shopping at your local farmer’s market, you should avoid any “hard-to-digest” foods. Ex. Root vegetables (potatoes, squash, taro root, zucchini) as these are no longer in season. It also helps to steam any vegetables prior to digesting. Carrots, broccoli, and kale are all great options.
2) Eat bitter foods such as, endives, radicchio, bitter melon, daikon radish, and dandelion greens.
3) Avoid or reduce the sweet, sour, and salty tastes — your digestive system will be more efficient in burning away the accumulated ama. Use pink salt to season your food for it’s high mineral content.
4) Sweet, juicy fruits can help detox your body (ex. Papaya, pineapple, watermelon) – just try to eat these earlier in the day or before sunset.
5) Adding high anti-inflammatory spices & other beneficial herbs to your food or tea such as – coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, mint and fennel — to help stimulate the digestion and detoxify the skin.
6) Begin your morning with a glass of warm water and the juice of half a lemon or lime. This will cleanse your digestive tract and initiate your metabolism first thing in the morning. You can also add fresh ginger juice as well (this is a great anti-inflammatory). Honey is another option to add in if you’d like. Also, drinking a few sips of Kombucha (fermented tea) first thing in the morning, can also help to balance out your PH. *Lastly, drinking room-temperature water throughout the day is much easier on your digestive system than ice cold water!
7) Dry brushing your skin. This should be done close to first thing in the morning, right before you shower. You should brush in an upwards motion. “Dry skin brushing helps keep the pores clear and the skin active to assist the body in this cleansing process. It also helps to increase blood circulation. Dry brushing exfoliates the skin’s outer layer and stimulates the sweat and oil glands, providing more moisture for the skin.” You can find dry brushes in the health section of Whole Foods.
8) Keep to a consistent routine – simply try to wake up with the sun and go to sleep with the moon. Also try and keep a regular routine with when you eat your meals.
9) Spring cleaning is also a great time to start fresh & give things like meditation a try. Meditation can be so valuable, even if you can only find 5 minutes in your day. A great guided meditation app to help people that are new to meditating is called: Headspace.
10) If you’re a seasoned yogi or completely new to yoga, it’s beneficial to incorporate plenty of twisting poses throughout your practice or to kick-start your morning. Twists are really great for detoxing the body & creating space in the abdominal region. Here are a few simple poses to follow.
11) Get outside and walk throughout the day as much as possible. The endorphins from walking outside & exercising will be at an all-time high.
12) Try incorporating mood-enhancing and stress & anxiety reducing superfoods like Maca Powder, Cacao Powder, and Ashwagandha powder to your coffee, lattes, or smoothies.
13) Literally spring clean – a clean, organized home creates a clear mine. Get rid of and donate the winter clothes you didn’t touch all year. Clear out your pantry. If you work at home or in an office, try and keep that space clear but also add a few personal touches that will help keep you creative and inspired.
14) Amplify your space with fresh plants and flowers. I tend to be drawn towards plenty of succulents since they need little attention, but they look pretty! 🙂
15) Lastly, don’t forget how important SELF-CARE is. Everyone needs to look out for themselves. So among trying to incorporate some things from above, go get a massage or a facial, take a bath, read a book, take a “day-cation”, DIY your own face mask, etc.
I hope you found this information useful! Please note, the purpose of this is to simply share what I’ve learned about the tradition of Ayurveda. I’m no expert or professional in this field, I’m simply just interested in learning and expanding my knowledge. Take it or leave it! These are some things I’ve found useful in the past and am exploring with this season. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively.
Happy spring cleaning!