Spring is in the air!
The flowers are blooming and days are getting longer and brighter. We’re ready to rejoice with a celebratory fling of our coats to the back of the closet. Spring is a time to get back to outdoor activities, spruce up our lifestyle with healthy habits and clean up our eating with a detox diet. It’s the perfect time to pick up a hobby or transition to a new job.
However, when we find ourselves out of balance, the changes in seasons can be especially rough on our bodies.
The clinical relevance of springtime’s natural force of upward movement of Qi (pronounced chē, loosely translated as energy or vital life force) is often manifested in a trend of headaches, seasonal allergies, dizziness, pain in neck and shoulders, muscle and tendon injuries, mood swings, irritability, depression, frustration, anger, energy slumps, restlessness, and insomnia. Nature’s energy has a tendency to burst open at this time of year (seeds sprout and grow upward, windy storms erase a blue skies within minutes, flowers open, and lots of baby animals are born!) and it’s no coincidence that we observe similar patterns of how the changes in mother nature also affect us with springtime disharmonies.
For increased wellness and feelings of balance this spring, check out our Chinese medicine perspective on living in accordance with the season:
“Detox” your body and mind of stagnant energy
It’s the best time to do a good spring cleanse. The inclination to dust every corner of the house, Marie Kondo (can we use this as a verb now?) our closets, and lighten up our diets is definitely a universal vibe.
However, when it comes to western ideas of “detoxing”, typical cleanses often include lots of cold and raw food, green juices and fasting. We are still in a chilly season; a partially Yin time of year. That means it’s still cold and a bit dark outside and our bodies still need to be supported with warm food and drinks.
Cooking should be modified for the season.
Rather than cleansing with frozen smoothies, juices and salads, which can dampen and extinguish our digestive fires, a more traditional guide for lightening up in spring is to eat fresh food cooked quickly at higher temperatures (think: steaming). It’s best to avoid heavy, rich, slow-roasted foods that nurtured us through winter. This is a natural time to eliminate or take a break from highly inflammatory foods: alcohol, sugar, processed grains, refined oils, dairy, gluten and soy products. Give your detox organs a break with a simple diet and lots of lightly-cooked green vegetables. Start your day with a large glass of warm water and lemon juice to wake up your digestive system and clear out old waste.
Fresh foods to include in your diet to keep your body energized this spring:
Leeks and onion family
Bone broth soups
Sprouts: try chickpeas, lentils, and mungbeans
Spring can also be a great time to bring awareness to how you eat.
Taking time to relax before you eat prepares your body to receive the nutrition you are about to take in. Checking in with your body and emotions before you take the first bite can help give you some sense of whether you’re eating because you’re hungry for good food or feeling stressed, sad, tired, lonely and craving food to fill that void.
Breathe slowly, chew food thoroughly, take reasonable bites and savor your food. It takes at least 15 minutes for your brain to catch up with your stomach to know it’s full, so slow down and enjoy your meal!
10 other tips for excellent self-care according to the season:
Go to bed by 10pm; it’s the best practice to energize yourself for the next day.
Rise early with the sun and take morning walks wearing loose clothing, as to not restrict blood flow in the body
Detox from screen time: take a break from social media, TV and the internet and give your eyes a rest.
Daydream about where you’d like your path to lead you, whether it’s big life goals or career changes
Spend time in nature, absorbing the abundant greenery. We’re surrounded by so much nature in Portland and the sunnier days make it easier to get out on the trails
Get your hands dirty: plant your own food!
Go foraging for mushrooms, herbs and wildflowers: get in tune with nature’s bounty
Practice meditation or breathing exercises
Plan your next adventure!
Ready to take action?
Join us! We are offering a Spring Cleanse information session on Wed April 17, 6-7:30pm at Vitalize Clinic. We will help you choose a 10, 21 or 28-day cleanse from Standard Process, a whole-food nutrient supplement company. Join acupuncturists Amber Hincks and Molly Erickson for additional support with Chinese medical dietary recommendations for healthy spring eating, recipes, simple meal-planning and group support.
Why do a Standard Process cleanse?
Helps purify and rebuild your body removing accumulated toxins that contribute to fatigue, insomnia, gastrointestinal upset, food cravings and weight gain, reduced mental clarity, skin issues, low libido and joint discomfort.
Organically-grown supplements that support easy, safe and healthy toxin removal during detoxification.
Guide of whole foods to nourish your body and mind while supporting function of Liver, Kidneys and Intestines.
Vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options.
Mobile app to track your progress.
Still not sure if a cleanse is right for you? Ask your Vitalize provider for more information. We can also provide you with acupuncture, herbs, chiropractic care, massage and reiki to help with pesky symptoms, ease you through spring and prep you for summer.
Please RSVP with the front desk at (503)756-2753 for our Spring Cleanse event and we look forward to seeing you!