Updated: Feb 18
It's been quite a winter here in California! We've had lots of rain, snow, winds, flash flooding, downed trees, power outages and chilly weather. And naturally, the fall and winter holidays had all of us celebrating with our families and friends around gigantic feasts, loaded with all of our most decadent culinary masterpieces. It's always a joyous season full of happiness, excitement and overindulgence.
Fast forward past the rainy day popcorn and movie marathon-stay-in-your-pajamas days of January (and half of February), and you have landed here! It's February 15th! You're rocking a Valentine's Day candy hangover, feeling sluggish and gross, carrying some extra weight, and wondering how you are going to pull yourself out of your winter hibernation. While all of those rich, warming, heavy holiday foods were such a pleasure on your taste buds, they have your liver bogged down and crying out for help! And do you know what that means? Of course you do! It's time for a spring cleanse! Spring is the perfect time to cleanse and detoxify your body.
As I look out my window right now I am seeing subtle evidence of spring sneaking its way onto the limbs of the trees. The camellias, oxalis, daffodils, lavender and rosemary are just starting to bloom. Nature is slowly waking up as the minutes of sunlight are increasing, almost imperceptibly, each day. It is the cycle of nature to renew at this time of the year. And we are all a part of this shift. When you think of the color of spring, you think of vibrant green. And you see all types of young plants and herbs sprouting up from their quiet winter slumber, getting ready to move into their active phase. This is also what is happening in our bodies. It is so great for us to give them the gift of a gentle spring cleanse.
There are many ways to cleanse your body. It can range from a water only fast, a gentle 2 or 3 day cleanse- using fresh fruit and vegetable juices, to an extreme "Dry fast" where nothing is consumed for several days. Sometimes not even water! And then there is also a whole food plant based cleanse, where fresh fruits and vegetables are consumed. Extreme fasts are employed during times of acute illness and definitely need to be closely supervised by a doctor.
My cleansing happy place falls somewhere in the middle. I prefer a gentle week consisting of a day or 2 of water fasting, with perhaps a little squeeze of lemon to give my liver a tickle. I follow this with a couple of days of fresh fruit and vegetable juices, with the addition of our little herbal allies, like wheat grass, basil, spirulina, dandelion and parsley. See? I've already got 4 days down and I'm feeling great! Then its time to finish off my cleanse (and my week) with the addition of raw salads and fresh vegetable soups, with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. If you haven't already, you really need to check out microgreens. And don't forget the beets. Your liver will be so happy!
And here is the best part! You can even skip the water and juice fasting and just spend your whole week eating raw fruit and vegetable salads and fresh vegetable soup (check out my Hearty Soup in the recipe section). You will still be cleansing! Just leave out the commercial salad dressings and oils, and anything that isn't plant based. A splash of vinegar or a squeeze of lemon, orange or grapefruit juice on your salads will hit the spot. When you've finished your week-long cleanse, you're going to be feeling so great! And who says you have to go back to your old way of eating? You can roll right over into the whole food plant based lifestyle by adding in whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.
Taking a break from processed foods, meat, dairy, oils, and sugar is a really beneficial cleanse in itself. But making it your lifestyle is just downright sexy!
Our bodies absolutely LOVE plants. So let's take a week this spring to thank our bodies with the gift of a gentle cleanse. And you might as well clean your house while you're at it. I can see those cobwebs from here!