Blossom on the trees, blue skies overhead. Goodbye winter, hello Spring. I’m embracing these longer, if still chilly, days – enjoying rather than enduring running in the park, drinking more green tea less coffee and eating lighter, rawer and fresher.
I’m reluctant to attach the word ‘detox’ to any of these revitalizing rituals. For me, it’s more of a lighten-up, freshen-up transition as we finally emerge from the dark days and stodgy food of winter it just seems the natural thing to do.
I’ve always been cynical about detoxing and the sweeping statements and exhausting regimes that tend to accompany it. I believe wellness is about achieving balance through nourishing and looking after ourselves holistically not by following restrictive, controlling diets and exercise plans. I truly believe if we minimize the stress and reduce the chemical if we look after our bodies with the right balance of self-love, sleep, exercise and good nutrition they on the whole (besides unavoidable medical conditions) thank us by ticking along just fine.
Below, I have put together a six step holistic spring guide with easy to follow plant-based eating suggestions, digestion-boosting yoga poses, energizing drinks, a meditation to encourage optimism and some natural beauty switches you can make to let go of winter and embrace spring.
1. Focus on simple, healthy eating
Anything too extreme rarely ends as we first planned and it’s accepted knowledge that if we deprive ourselves of entire food groups we often end up binging on them when the diet is over. Now it’s getting a little milder, instead of associating what you eat with getting in shape or losing weight, try shifting the focus on to eating foods that will provide you with extra nutrients, energy and goodness. Take a plant-heavy approach to your food-shopping –and make small changes rather than huge overhauls. Instead of avocados and broccoli every time - how about artichokes, beetroot, cauliflower, watercress? How about a new cookbook for inspiration or following a vegan food blogger?
2. Spend more time on your yoga mat
While all workouts are great stimulators of our three systems of elimination (that is our circulatory, digestive and lymph systems), yoga with its focus on systematically stretching every part of our bodies, is particularly well-suited to keeping the waste-removal departments of our body functioning well. In a well-rounded yoga practice, every part of our body is pushed, pulled, twisted, turned and inverted. This facilitates the removal of waste products such as carbon dioxide, lactic acid and lymphatic fluid from the deep tissues and extremities of the body that a treadmill session or barre class just doesn’t reach. If you want to add a little of yoga’s digestive-boosting powers to your regular gym regime, try including this twist into post-workout stretches….
Beginning in Dandasana, bend the right knee and place the sole of the foot flat to the floor, aligning the heel with the right sitting bone. Flex the left foot and draw the left femur into the hip socket to ensure the two frontal hip points face forward. Place the right hand on the floor a few inches behind the tailbone to maintain stability and length in the back body. Sweep the left arm toward the sky, lengthening through the left side. Spin the chest toward the right knee while ensuring the hip points face the front of the mat. Bend the left elbow and place it to the outside of the right knee. Roll the right shoulder back and gaze over it, keeping the chin parallel to the floor. Draw the belly toward the spine and soften the shoulders down the back. Hold for 8–10 breaths. Repeat on the left side.
3. Keep drinking hot drinks
Drinking hot liquids during the day, helps burning off of Kapha (Ayurveda’s term for slugglish and slow energy). I always start my day with hot water and lemon in the morning and sip on green tea throughout the day for its antioxidant properties. I also like the focus it gives compared to the frenzied buzz of coffee. If I want to up the cleansing focus I’ll switch to herbal teas which ingredients such as nettle, dandelion, fennel, and mint. If I’m feeling a bit slow and sluggish I quite like a ginger tea – so simple, to make, just steep fresh ginger in simmering water for 20 minutes, drain, and drink adding a little lemon and honey if you like.
4. Have a clear out, for a clearer head
Having too much stuff around, especially too much stuff in a muddled mess can slow you down physically and mentally. Have a clear out your active wear. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a big drawer full of tangled yoga pants and sports bras I never wear any more. Ditch anything that is past its best and rediscover you probably have some great pieces you’ve hardly worn hidden away. Give your yoga mat a wash, untangle your head-phones and download that yoga app you’ve been meaning to try.
Tackle your kitchen cupboards and blitz the fridge. Get rid of anything full of empty calories you are never going to eat (except perhaps in an emotional crisis), everything too sugary or processed and make a list of all the fresh, wholesome and natural ingredients that you’d like to fill it with instead – and then head to the shops and start your cupboard overhaul.
5. Give yourself a daily wellbeing boost with a little meditation
If meditation isn’t already a part of your day, it may seem overwhelming to add yet another ‘task’ to your already busy schedule. However, the beauty of meditation is that you only need about 10 minutes daily and it can be done anywhere. The way I managed to develop a regular meditation practice was to place its ‘time slot’ before another unmissable daily task – brushing my teeth. So every night before I brush my teeth, I sit for about 10-15 minutes and focus on my breath. Research shows that not only does regular meditation reduce stress hormones and blood pressure but it also increases our sense of contentment, our immunity and our blood sugar control – I don’t know about you but this sounds exactly what I need right now.
6. Lighten up with natural beauty switches
If you’re already eating healthy, a keen recycler and using eco-cleaning products around the home, it makes sense to take the plunge into natural beauty as well. I’m not suggested ditching your favourite mascara or throwing out all those beautiful creams, but these days all natural formulations are so impressive we don’t have to compromise on textures or results. There also so many easy, uplifiting and energizing natural beauty switches you can make with products you already have at home, here’s some I’m making – Epsom Salts in the bath instead of bath foam, massaging my body with a feel good blend of essential oils before I get in the shower, massaging a facial oil in at night instead of smearing on a heavy cream, applying a mineral-based tinted moisturizer instead of heavy foundation and using essential-oil roller balls instead of perfume.