Spring cleansing is based on the idea that the body accumulates toxins over time from various sources, such as environmental pollutants, food additives, and stress. By following a spring cleansing program, we seek to support the body's natural detoxification processes and eliminate these accumulated toxins, leading to improved energy, digestion, and overall health. In nature, as well as in most religions, spring is a time of fasting and spiritual austerity. Flowers emerge from the melting snow as the dormant, dark, winter weather is replaced by the cool, damp days of spring. The days become longer and brighter. Snow melts and streams swell with run-off.
Our bodies assimilate this excess dampness or kapha which can lead to increased congestion in the sinuses, lungs, and lymphatic system. Spring colds, coughs, and allergies may leave us feeling sluggish and foggy. Everyone experiences these seasonal influences to some degree, regardless of their constitution or doshic balance or combination. Our bodies are working to shake off the lethargy of winter and prepare for renewal.
As studies now confirm, each spring our microbiome begins to explode with fat-burning microbes that help us switch from burning carbohydrates in the winter to burning fat in the spring. According to Ayurveda, the fat we burn in spring is the excess we may have stored during fall and early winter feasting. Ayurveda preaches that spring is an ideal time to cleanse the body and mind, as it is a time of transition and renewal. Longer fasts are best for kapha types this time of year, while intermittent fasting is seasonally appropriate for pitta and vata types, or those with pitta or vata imbalances. Fasting does not have to be long term. The benefits of spring cleansing are abundant.
But, what is more important is to understand that our body needs plenty of hydration and eating seasonally. Seasonal eating is a dietary practice that involves consuming foods that are naturally available during a particular season. This approach to eating emphasizes the importance of eating fresh, locally grown produce that is in season, rather than relying on processed or imported foods that may not be as fresh or nutritious. Staying away from high carb vegetables, which are not in season, is nature's way of helping you flush out toxins, increase your fat burning cycle, while flushing and cleaning the liver and gallbladder to ensure maximum bile flow into the small intestines.
Examples of seasonal fruits and vegetables during these spring months include asparagus, artichokes, peas, radishes, spinach, strawberries, and rhubarb.
Remember to get plenty of sunlight during the day, and keep your night time free of bright lights. The circadian rhythm that governs our sleep-wake cycle can be disrupted due to extended late nights, traveling across time zones, or doing night shifts. I like to maintain dinacharya by practicing early morning waking up with warm lemon salt water to start my day. I avoid caffeine after 5 pm, and go to bed between 9 and 9:30 pm.
Here is a quick 10 minute recipe for you to try this spring!
1 tbsp chopped ginger stem
a few twigs of lemongrass (you can find this at your Asian grocery stores, or powder form at grocery stores)
Coconut Milk (1/2 can)
Green peas (1 cup)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. In a pot, add 2 cups of water and begin heating it at medium-high flame until it boils.
2. As soon as it boils, add the ginger, and lemongrass and reduce flame to low setting.
3. Now add the coconut milk and peas and keep stirring occasionally for 7-8 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with steamed rice or drink as is for supper!