Spring is a natural time to clear away toxins so the body can reboot after a long, sluggish winter.
“A detox diet is a way to clean house inside and out,” says Kripalu presenter Mark Hyman, MD, author of The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, a plan that eliminates sugar, processed foods, grains, dairy, and caffeine for 10 days. His detox diet is one option if you’re looking for an alternative to a traditional juice cleanse.
“Cleansing is a tune-up for the body,” says nutrition and lifestyle educator Alison Shore Gaines. “Just as the filters in your automobile clog with carbon sludge, so do the filters in your body (liver, kidneys, colon, lymph system) become congested with metabolic waste.” Alison’s Revitalizing Cleanse—based on fresh organic juices, savory broths, and gluten-free grains—includes both raw and cooked foods.
Traditionally, Chinese medicine and Ayurveda view spring as a time for renewal. “The body is coming out of hibernation mode and ready to shed some layers, literally,” says Kripalu presenter Tiffany Cruikshank, who teaches Five-Day Spring Detox for a Vibrant Life. “In Chinese medicine, spring is the season of the wood element, which is connected to the liver.”
Because our bodies are naturally in sync with the seasons, foods that support the liver are plentiful at this time. These include spinach, lettuce, snap peas, asparagus, celery, and berries; cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower; and bitter greens such as kale, dandelion greens, and chard. To enhance your detox, supplement those with lemon water, spirulina, chlorella, garlic, and green tea.
Tiffany recommends seeking simple ways to let go of what you don’t need and limit foods that weigh you down. Try an easy directive, such as starting the day with a glass of lemon water and sticking mostly to whole foods—like organic veggies and good proteins.
“Looking at what you really need to get by and trying to shed what you don’t need— mentally and physically—can be a simple but powerful practice,” she says.