Written by Maggie Ward, MS, RD, LDN
Spring Cleansing

Spring Cleansing

It’s my favorite time of year again – spring!  Those first sweet smells in the warmer air and the light of longer days lift my spirits like nothing else, especially after a long, cold winter in the northeast.  As a Nutritionist, this time of year always renews my commitment to working on balance in my life.  I look forward to the lighter fresh foods that become more abundant locally.  I become more diligent (and excited) about getting outside to exercise and play in nature.  I take a Spring “Break” from my winter indulgences like wine and chocolate.

Since spring is about rebirth, I’ve always seen it as an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and give my body what it needs to feel optimal.  And I invite you to take advantage of this rejuvenating time of year to renew your commitment to self-care and do a little spring cleaning on yourself.  Below are the three keys to what I feel help everyone find balance and support optimal health.

  1. Start with food.  Instead of thinking always about what not to eat, focus on what to eat.  Always include lots of colorful plant foods including fresh herbs and spices.  Try to shop where they supply more local produce or keep an eye out for farm stands that begin to pop up in the northeast in May.  Some good choices for this time of year include spring mixed greens, peas, cucumbers, and asparagus.  Anticipating the crops of the next season is what truly makes people excited about REAL food while creating the least amount of environmental impact.  There are many foods that are especially powerful with supporting detoxification.  For more information on my Top 5 List, click here: https://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com/2016/07/22/top-5-food-picks-to-support-liver-detoxification.  Be sure to include some clean and lean protein and healthy fats with each meal, too!
  1. Get moving, especially outdoors!  There are many therapeutic benefits of being in nature, including cleaner air and sunshine.  Map out a plan of what you are going to do and when.  It’s helpful for many to connect with a trainer to get started or find a buddy to make it more fun and supportive.  I find keeping a journal (written or use an app on your phone) helps me ensure I don’t overdo it initially and also provides some accountability and sense of accomplishment.  It’s important to do activities that you like and can easily work into your schedule.  It doesn’t have to be much, if done correctly, a little bit of good quality exercise goes a long way but you do want to work up a good sweat, which is a great way to move waste and toxins out through the skin. Higher intensity exercise with short intervals is usually an effective way to do this.   Don’t forget to drink plenty of filtered water.  The general rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight (pounds) in ounces of water.  You also should replace what you lose exercising.  You can weigh yourself before and after and replace the weight you lost (so drink 16 ounces for every pound).  Or you can track how much you need to drink during a work out to maintain your weight.
  1. Last but surely not least, carve out time each day to quiet your mind and relax your body.  Over the years of working with thousands of people on their path to healing, I have found that those who incorporate daily stress reduction techniques are those who respond and rebalance best.  Commit to at least 15 minutes each day to cleansing and calming your mind.  There is no one way or right way to do this.  Explore what works for you. Whether you choose a formal meditation in the morning or evening, or perhaps take a few minutes at various times throughout the day to enjoy deep belly breaths and just be in the moment.   I find this helpful to do before meals, because I love to eat and taking some calming, deep breaths before I eat helps me to slow down and remember to have an attitude of gratitude.   I give thanks for the local food I have access to, for how it connects me to the world around me, and for the health it brings me.

Happy and Healthy Spring!
Maggie

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