This is the fifth part of our holistic health reset after lockdown. We focus on simple thinking and lifestyle changes that can produce significant results.
This week we’re talking to naturopath and nutritionist Kate Holm of Holism Health Co. about simple spring rituals that can help with cleansing.
Spring has arrived and it is the perfect time to get rid of some habits that you may have weighed down over the winter and gently replace them with nutritious foods and behaviors.
Spring is the season for new life and renewal. We switch from the darkness and cold of winter, the longing for hibernation, the dense and heavy food, to lightness, sunshine, movement and an invitation to move with this rhythm of nature and to do a spring cleaning!
Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be drastic – in fact, some of the most powerful and lasting results can be achieved with simple changes that are easy to incorporate into your daily routine and diet. Here are a few tips to help cleanse both the mind and body with ease:
Don’t forget to breathe
Before getting out of bed in the morning, intentionally inhale. The breath offers us an opportunity to change into a parasympathetic or relaxed state and to go into our day more mindfully. The diaphragm, activated with every breath, acts as a pump, helping to improve blood flow and removing waste products from the system. We have to breathe anyway, so why not purposefully?
A great breathing exercise that is easy to remember is the square breath.
Inhale slowly through your nose, counting to four.
Hold your breath and count to four.
Exhale through your mouth, counting to four.
Hold your breath and count to four.
Repeat for ten cycles.
When rising, drink a large glass of warm or room temperature water with the juice of half a lemon. You can even make a rehydrating tea by mixing 1 tablespoon of honey, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a tiny squeeze of lemon in 250 ml of warm water to get your digestive juices flowing and your daily hydration kick to begin.
Swap your morning coffee for an herbal tea, cocoa or chai. If you can’t do this every day (I’ll be with you!), Even aim for 1-2 times a week. Many herbal teas can be useful to make spring cleaning easier, such as:
• Dandelion root (ideal for supporting the liver)
• dandelion leaf (a gentle diuretic)
• nettle (lymphatic and antiallergic support)
• Calendula (lymphatic and antioxidant)
Make sure you drink at least 2 liters of filtered water every day to support your excretory ducts (liver, intestines, lymph, skin) to flush out toxins.
Incorporate herbal medicine
Herbal medicine is a gentle and effective way to support the body all year round and many of our herbalists can help us detox for spring!
Herbalism believes that many of the remedies you need are around you in your surroundings at the right time – so it’s no surprise that the humble dandelions appear in abundance in spring.
This mineral-rich herb is the perfect cleansing companion – the root supports the liver and gallbladder, while the leaves are great as a gentle diuretic, loosening fluid retention and nourishing the kidneys. This gentle but powerful herb can also act as a blood purifier and aid digestion – the perfect remedy for clearing the sluggish winter jam.
Stinging nettle, the abundant grass, is a fantastic hematopoietic tonic that helps relieve fatigue and aid in the replenishment of many nutrients. The leaf is primarily that part of the plant that is used (be careful when harvesting it yourself!) And is highly recommended to support kidney and lymphatic function. It’s also a natural antihistamine and gentle diuretic – amazing for removing stagnation and improving vitality.
Calendula, with its bright yellow flowers, is a fantastic way to lift the winter blues. Like dandelion and nettle, it’s ideal for moving stagnation around, especially in a sluggish lymphatic system, while also helping the liver and intestines gently detoxify.
How to involve herbal medicine
We can incorporate herbal medicine into our spring regime in a variety of ways – be it with herbal tinctures, teas, essential oils, poultices, flower essences and even in our dishes.
However, it is important not to self-prescribe herbs (or other dietary supplements) except in the form of teas or culinary herbs. Always seek advice from a qualified herbalist.
If you are looking for herbal teas to get you through springtime, you can often find a wide selection in health food stores, some larger supermarkets, or online. Make sure to steep your tea for 10-20 minutes to maximize the extraction of the active ingredients and get the therapeutic benefits.
Brush up on your diet
Avoid heavy, cold, and hard-to-digest foods like wheat, dairy products, fried or fatty foods, and large portions of meat. While these foods are okay in moderation and can be more grounding in winter, it’s important to eat with the seasons and eat in an easier, more vibrant way in spring. Add plenty of leafy greens and herbs, opt for a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables with each meal, and start weaving in more raw vegetables if possible.
An example of cooked food looks something like this:
breakfast – Spring vegetable omelette with asparagus, spinach and fresh herbs or Bircher muesli with fresh fruits
Having lunch – Salmon salad with pickled vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes and leafy vegetables or rice paper rolls with tofu and peanuts
Dinner – Chicken stir fry with a rainbow of vegetables, rice noodles and basil or burrito bowls with fresh lettuce, Mexican beans and quinoa
You may also want to add smoothies or fresh juices to increase both hydration and nutrients throughout the day.
Increase your consumption of fiber from foods like chia seeds, flax seeds, psyllium husks, and vegetables to help bind toxins in the intestines and eliminate them through the intestines. These can easily be added to smoothies or consumed through foods like chia pudding, homemade granola, and vegetable salads!
Move your body gently and joyfully
Exercise is a very important element of any cleansing regimen – it’s also the perfect way to awaken your body from hibernation. Exercise increases the supply of oxygen to your tissues and increases your metabolism to help break down and eliminate toxins more efficiently.
Take it easy at first if you are not already exercising. It will be much more sustained to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity as your body can handle it rather than trying to push yourself as hard as possible. Listen to your body and choose exercises that are mindful and fun! Some ideas include:
• To dance
• Go for a walk with friends
• Use the hula hoop ring
• Everything that you enjoy and that is good for you!
If possible, try to increase the ability to sweat – the skin is the largest organ of detoxification. Every time you sweat, you are helping to make your spring cleaning easier.
Proceed consciously and consciously. Allow yourself to gently wake up from hibernation and use some (or all!) Of the strategies above to help your body cleanse and recharge itself through spring.
You can follow Kate and Holism Health Co. on Facebook and Instagram, or book naturopathic support www.holismhealth.co. She also runs a postpartum food delivery service to help women and their babies thrive in their precious time after birth and beyond.
Georgia is a clinically trained nutritionist, whole food chef, columnist, and mom. She was featured on Body & Soul and made TV appearances on ABC Breakfast and Studio 10 for her unique approach to nutrition and health. Known for reinventing traditional foods for the modern kitchen, she was instrumental in a radically new approach to sports nutrition with a program for the NRL Parramatta Eels, which began her climb up the ladder in recent years. Learn more at rührenchange.com.