As a holistic therapist and student of Ayurveda, I don’t believe that any one of us needs to actively detox. We’re in possession of some hugely effective in-built detoxification organs and mechanisms, from our small intestine and liver, to our kidneys and skin and what best benefits our bodies (and minds and spirits while we’re at it), is a gentle, seasonal, body-supporting cleanse.
As spring arrives many of us feel the shift quite naturally, as the mood lightens, the body feels more vital and the urge for fresh, vibrant green foods takes hold. This is the ideal time to work with your body, to help clear winter’s ‘leftovers’.
In Ayurvedic terms, there is often a build up of damp, cold energy in the body after winter and it is helpful to get things moving, before the spring cough and cold can take hold (which is simply nature’s way of getting excess mucous out of the system).
I begin with Weleda Birch Juice, £10.95 (weleda.co.uk), an all-natural age-old tonic that supports the body’s inbuilt cleansing processes, taking it with warm water, in the morning.
Dry body brushing is also very helpful at getting the lymph moving, flushing out any small pockets of toxicity, which can build up in the adipose tissue. Begin with the soles of the feet, then work up the calves, thighs and buttocks before going down the arms, back and gently over the chest and tummy.
A generous dousing of oil on the skin should follow. In Ayurveda, organic sesame oil is considered wonderful for heating a system, while organic cold-pressed sunflower oil is good for all body types and conditions. Massage in well.
Given that spring in England is still cool (and often wet), make daily food decisions that support the body, based upon the weather, mood and appetite – and steer away from raw juice and foods until the weather is properly warm. It takes a fair bit of digestive energy to break down uncooked roughage and fibre and if the immune system is flagging, you can actually deplete yourself further.
Cold mornings are amply warmed with steaming porridge, served with seasonal stewed fruit and cinnamon. Cook some linseed into the oatmeal to get the bowels spring-cleaned too. Warmer days can support raw, live yoghurt eaten at room temperature, delicious with homemade granola.
If it’s cold outside, cook up the season’s first spring greens with cinnamon, ginger and garlic for stews and warm salads, or whizz into a soup that will warm up the innards.
As our bodies start to shift into spring, it’s also important to support the process with at least eight glasses of warm, filtered water daily. Herbal teas count toward your intake. Naturally detoxifying nettle, burdock, elderflower and fennel, are just the ticket.
And fennel being perfectly in season in spring, is also an ideal cleansing veg. Try baking it with fish, for lunch or dinner, too. Great spring herbs that support the inner cleanse include chervil, tarragon, rosemary and mint. Bake, cook, garnish with them and you’re getting extra flavour, with antioxidants to boot.
And no spring awakening would be complete without a thought for the quality of our breath. Lungs can take a bit of a battering over winter, with perpetual central heating inside, and gale-force winds out, so work to open them up with breath-led yoga. And in this glorious season of renewal, just get outside a bit more, for brisk walks and gentle jogs, through parks and woodland.
Eminé Rushton is Wellbeing Director-at-Large at Psychologies magazine, and co-founder of the conscious living blog, The Balance Plan, balanceplan.co.uk