Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spring Cleaning

The farther I walk this path of mine, the more I recognize it as a path of healing.

I first learned about my passion for healing through my love of food. After graduating from a very expensive liberal college, I discovered what I really wanted to study: nutrition. I enrolled in a holistic nutrition course, became a certified Nutrition Educator, and plunged into my passion for healthy food.

Through the course of my learning, I became enlightened to the idea of cleansing: giving the body a break from digestion in order to release accumulated toxins. The body, just like the earth, has an innate ability for self healing, if only we give it the time and space. My interest led me to juice fasts, where I would eat fruits and vegetables for a week, followed by a few days of nothing but juice and broth. Even though I liked the idea cleansing and the results I felt in my body, I wasn't really crazy about the whole not eating part. But I did it, because I was young and wild and just like that. 

Fast forward five years [during which I was either pregnant or breastfeeding or both and therefore not cleansing] and my body feels like I'm carrying around some extra sludge. Not to mention that the life of a mother has caused me to loosen up on my formerly uber healthy habits. I have been looking forward to this spring as a time not only to cleanse, but also to realign myself with nourishing practices [the regrowth of spring after the dormancy of winter makes it an excellent time for cleansing]. And now the time is here!

I have moved past the point in my life when juice fasting would support me. This time around, I am not looking to fast, I am looking to cleanse. This is how I am supporting and assisting my body during its spring cleaning:

1. The main element, of course, is diet. I'm following the recommendations of my awesome naturopathic doctor, who has me on an anti-inflammatory diet. This is how it goes:

  • sugar or sweeteners of any kind
  • caffeine
  • dairy (mucous-forming and thus anti-cleansing) 
  • grains (wheat, spelt, oats, rice, millet, quinoa, etc. - difficult to digest and mucous-forming)

  • legumes (lentils, black eyed peas, black beans, kidney beans, mung beans, garbanzo beans, etc., soaked overnight and slowly cooked with a piece of kombu seaweed for best digestion)
  • grass-fed meat and cold water fish (wild salmon, halibut, sardines, tuna, cod) 
  • organic fats and cold-pressed oils: butter, coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil
  • seeds and nuts except peanuts [I use raw seeds/nuts that I soak overnight then slowly roast for best digestion]
  • fruit [except for citrus other than lemon and lime, and going light on high sugar fruits like dates and figs]
  • lots and lots and lots of vegetables [except tomatoes and potatoes, which can be inflammatory]
  • I'm also going big on broths [homemade], particularly bone broths, which are an amazing source of easily assimilated nutrients 
2. In addition to my diet, I'm taking some supplements to aid in digestion and cleansing. These include:
  • one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in water before meals to stimulate digestion
  • alternated with an ounce of aloe vera juice 30 minutes before eating to enhance digestion and assimilation
  • probiotics to enhance my intestinal flora (protects against disease, aids in digestion)
  • one teaspoon of fish oil daily (anti-inflammatory and all around amazing)
2. Herbal teas are also a huge part of my cleanse. Herbs not only assist in cleansing, but they also nourish key cleansing organs, such as the liver and the kidneys. Back in the day I liked to make all my own tea blends, but for convenience sake I'm utilizing packaged teas from some really awesome companies. I am loving the Every Day Detox by Traditional Medicinals (the main ingredient is schisandra berry, plus dandelion root, chicory root, licorice, ginger, and a few others) and Tulsi Cleanse from Organic India (Holy basil, ginger, turmeric, and some others). My tea time is not only a time to drink my tea, but also a time for me to sit, relax, and breathe. 

3. Which brings me to another important element of my cleanse: relaxing, sitting, and breathing. And sleeping. A very important part of cleansing, and one that I'm sure gets overlooked in our busy lives, is resting. The body needs rest in order to cleanse itself. I am making sleep a priority [minimum of 8 hours a night], as well as taking time during the day to sit, relax, and breathe consciously (deeply, meditatively). Deep breathing is an important pathway for releasing not only physical toxins, but also energetic stagnation. I am frequently practicing the movements I call the warm-up. I am making walks in the woods a priority, meditating in sacred places a priority, sitting and enjoying the beauty around me a priority. I get my work done, but I'm not letting it rule me.

4. There are a few other ways I am supporting my body during its cleansing. These include dry skin brushing, castor oil packs, and oil pulling. Dry skin brushing is exactly what it sounds like: brushing your skin, when dry, with a brush like those you use in the bath. Starting with my feet, I brush my whole body, stroking towards the heart. This stimulates the lymphatic system, which is the body's cleansing system. I do it before bed, as the lymphatic system is most active at night.
A castor oil pack is a flannel cloth that has been saturated with castor oil and placed over the liver (right side of abdomen, under rib cage). A hot water bottle is placed over the pack to help with the absorption of oil. The castor oil stimulates the liver to release toxins and the lymphatic system to clean them up. I've been doing it morning and night for 20 minutes.
Oil pulling stems from an ancient Aryuvedic practice. It also stimulates the lymphatic system and enzymes in the mouth to cleanse toxic bacteria out of the body. It involves swishing oil around in the mouth for 20 minutes, which soaks up the toxins, and then spitting out the oil [follow the link for more detailed instructions. In fact, follow all the links. They're very informative and helpful].
Oh yes, there is one more thing I'm going to do - today, in fact. I'm going to get a colonic. The large intestine, with all it's little twists and turns, can get clogged up with nasty debris. A colonic uses water to flush out all those little crevices, cleaning the intestine. I got one about six years ago, and it was actually an enjoyable experience. Our intestines need love, too!

So that is basically my cleansing regimen. My cleanse is going to last three weeks, and I'm on my sixth day. The first couple days were rough, mostly because I had a constant headache from lack of caffeine. But now, I'm starting to feel pretty good. My head can feel a little fuzzy and I definitely get tired, but I take that as my signal to rest. To be honest, I have an underlying feeling that's amazing. Since the Winter Solstice, I have been working really hard on cleansing myself energetically - releasing old, stagnant, negative patterns and welcoming in new patterns that better support me. With this cleanse, I feel the physical manifestations of that stagnant energy releasing from my body, and I am filling with fresh, cleansed energy. I feel more connected than ever to the amazing energy of the universe; I feel more connected to my love, joy, and gratitude.  I am reminded that I can create myself anew in any given moment: every moment is an opportunity for me to live as my highest self, to choose to be Who I Really Am [Spirit incarnated into this earthly life]. This cleanse is certainly the most powerful I've ever done, as I am now aware enough to combine physical cleansing with energetic cleansing. I am the caterpillar emerging from my cocoon, shedding that which no longer serves me and stepping into my true radiance.

I invite you to join me. We are in powerful times right now, and the energy is there to assist you in your own transformation. This is the time to release the old stories we tell ourselves, those stories that no longer hold truth. It is time to release ourselves from all that which no longer serves us. It is time to be brave. It is time to remember our true selves, to walk forth together into love and healing. There is really nothing else that is more important.

I bless you on your journey. I will continue to share the blessings of mine.



  1. I love you - you are always such an inspiration and so full of peace and wisdom. I am so thankful that you share this wisdom with the rest of us ;) xoxo

    1. Girl, I say the same about yourself! I love you too xoxxo

  2. im inspired to do this now... can i maybe take 10 days off work, go to summit and have you be my cleansing master?