Spring is a time for renewal. The trees and flowers are blooming, and plant-based foods are becoming seasonal and more plentiful. Many of us feel motivated to clean out and declutter our closets, cupboards, drawers & garages. Spring is also a wonderful time to start fresh and cleanse to renew our body, mind and spirit – and kick our metabolism into gear!
Our digestive system, kidneys, liver, lungs, and skin are all channels for eliminating toxins. But in our toxic, stressed out, hurried lifestyles, sometimes those channels can get a little bogged down. When the body is not able to remove toxins and chemicals efficiently – it stores them in the safest place away from our brain and organs – our adipose tissue, or fat. That is one way how chemicals and toxins in our diet and environment can cause the body to accumulate and hold on to weight.
Cleansing can lighten the load on our organs of elimination and help to improve our digestion and the balance of gut flora and bacteria, which can help to balance our mood and hormones, boost metabolism/energy, sleep, improve quality of our skin and hair; it can help us look and feel younger – and as a by-product of all this – our weight can often come into balance.
10 Cleansing Tips:
- Clean up. One of the key things to do to support the body to detox is to stop bringing in new toxins! An Australian studyfound that just one week of eating organic reduced the amount of pesticides in blood by 90%. I also recommend avoiding GMOs (which are typically high in pesticides), plastics (which have endocrine disrupting chemicals); and also using clean laundry detergent, home and personal care products. Toxins and chemicals can mess with our metabolism, hormones, and even raise our risk of diseases like cancer.
- Get Juicey. Fresh pressed juices are a wonderful way to naturally boost energy – one medium juice can have over 3 pounds of plant-based foods in it – that is a lot of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals! I love juicing this time of year – try my Green Lemonade recipeat home, or pop into Beaming for their wonderful selection of fresh-pressed organic juices. I always recommend having a little healthy fat with your juice – learn more.
- Tempting as it is to reach first for a cup of coffee in the morning – your metabolism will thank you when you start each day with a full glass of filtered or alkaline water. Add a squeeze of lemon, which helps to support a healthy pH and supports detoxification and elimination. I also like to add a small pinch of Himalayan or Celtic salt to mine too – which supports the adrenals and helps to ‘turn on’ the thirst mechanism. Bored of plain old water? Try my ginger lemonade and spa water!
- Break Up. Taking a break from foods with added sugars can reduce inflammation and boost our immune system and our sensitivity to the hormone insulin – which is important for energy and a healthy metabolism. A diet high in added- sugars makes you hungrier, slows your metabolism, reduces immunity, and creates AGEs (advanced glycation end products – which damages the collagen and elastin in our skin). Cutting out the sugar can help our skin to look more youthful and your tastebuds often become more sensitive to sweets – so you need and crave less.
- Boost! Most cleanses will have you eliminating gluten, dairy, sugar, soy and other food groups. But instead of focusing on what you have to eliminate, focus on what foods you can add into boost your energy, mood and support your bodies’ detox channels. Superfoods are foods that contain a high amount of nutrients and are a great way to really maximize your nutrition and energy! Some of my favorites are chia seeds, hemp hearts, moringa, maca, mushrooms, ginger and turmeric. In addition to offering natural energy boosts, superfoods can also boost our immunity, help our body adapt to stress, reduce inflammation, balance brain function, and more! Get your superfoods on with Beaming smoothie or bowl, or settle down at night with my Golden Milk Ginger & Mushroom Tea recipe!
- Stress is like kryptonite for our metabolism & health. Out of control stress causes an increase in the hormone cortisol, which increases our glucose and insulin levels, and causes fat to deposit in your midsection. High levels of stress also causes our digestive system to get super sluggish. If allowed to go on for long, it can stress our adrenals, and cause imbalances in our other hormones. Finding ways to reduce stress is very important for our metabolism and health – such as yoga, meditation, biofeedback, walking, etc. One way to lower our stress levels is to unplug – turn off the electronics at least an hour before bedtime, and try to have a no phone zone at mealtimes. It is amazing how much more we connect to people when we disconnect to our devices.
- Exercise Smarter. Long cardio workouts can raise our stress hormones – which tell our body to store fat in our midsection, and overtime can even damage the heart. So working out harder & longer could be working against your metabolism – leading to fat storage, not loss! If you are a cardio junkie – and are frustrated that your workouts are not working anymore, consider mixing it up. Go for lower stress exercise like yoga and walking. Add in some weight-bearing exercises – because building up muscle boosts the metabolism. Instead of long runs – go for short bursts of intensity – which are shown to boost the metabolism (and saves lots of time too). But because sweating is way for the body to release toxins – consider saunas, hot yoga classes, and adding in those short bursts of intensity.
- Our soils are becoming more minerally depleted, and so is our food, and as a result – we are too. Minerals are crucial for all cellular functions, including bone building and detoxification. Soaking in salt baths help to draw out toxins, while the skin soaks up the beneficial magnesium and other minerals. Avoid the salt baths loaded down with fragrance and artificial colors – that just defeats the whole point. Go for fragrance free epsom salt, or I like Dead Sea Warehouseproducts – high quality & reasonably priced salt products from the Dead Sea. Soak for 20 minutes or less, and drink plenty of water after salt baths.
- Digestion problems are rampant today – so giving the digestion a break with easy to digest foods like smoothies and soups is a great thing to do periodically. And another way to support the digestion is to take digestive enzymes, which help to break down our foods, probiotics – which boost our beneficial bacteria, and supplements like Triphala which balance the overall digestion. Our gut affects our weight, mood, brain function, heart health, and so much more.
- Oil-pulling is an ancient detox practice which helps to draw and usher out toxins, and remove bacteria and yeasts from the mouth. Swish a spoonful of oil around your mouth for 10-20 minutes, then spit it into the garbage (don’t swallow it – because it will have toxins in it). Sesame oil is often used, but coconut oil is my favorite – because it has natural antibacterial and antiviral properties. I like to use Skinny Coconut oil – which is a cold pressed alkaline coconut oil with peppermint oil in it!
Think about it this way – our metabolism is kind of like a computer – if we are eating a lot of processed foods, get dehydrated, relying on quick sugar fixes and caffeine, and under a lot of stress – it can cause our metabolic ‘processors’ (hormones) to misfire. We can literally “reprogram” our metabolism and get it humming again with a well-designed cleanse. When we clean up our diet and lifestyle – we feel cared for, our skin gets it’s glow back, and we can recharge our batteries.
The great thing about doing a Beaming cleanse – is they do the planning and prep for you – so you can focus on getting revitalized!
A Nutritionist, Author & Speaker, Sara Vance was overweight as a child, and suffered from a long list of chronic health issues for decades. Sara found the answers right at the end of her fork, and is passionate about teaching others to heal with foods. Her book The Perfect Metabolism Plan busts the diet myths, and details the 10 keys to an optimal metabolism. It also has over 50 delicious recipes and a plan to put it all into action to regain your energy and achieve your ideal weight. A regular guest on local San Diego television stations for over 5 years, Sara also hosted The Metabolism Summit – an online event featuring 31 of the top experts on metabolism and health. Sara loves to take her dog for hikes, create healthy recipes, spend time with her family, and practice yoga.