Functional Medicine Tips: Awaken to your most vital self this spring!

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Be Conscious of the Seasons

First among my favorite functional medicine tips is to remain conscious of the seasons, for they affect our bodies in critically important ways.

I don’t know about you, but when spring comes around every year I find myself looking for a fresh beginning. Spring is the time of renewal in so many ways; every thing is coming to life in a new way. I realized one day that many of my friends are born in November and December, which means they were “made” in early spring! Another form of renewal.

Often times when we’re looking for a renewed take on life, we might try one of the following:

1) Go somewhere.

2) Do something we’ve never done before.

3) Change our appearance.

It’s less common, in my experience, for us to change our lives by deciding to treat our bodies  – and ultimately ourselves – with more love, nourishment, and value – unless we are feeling physically ill, and then, we often do it with anger toward our bodies wanting it to behave better, or stop feeling so bad. Our attitude is almost never about loving ourselves more.

Reset Your Body Regularly

One way to reset your body is to engage in a cleansing or detoxification period in the spring and/or fall. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that its good to set aside 2-4 weeks in spring and sometimes fall, to reset your body’s system. In our every day lives, we tend to eat food that may not be optimal for us, we accumulate toxins from our environment, toxins from our negative emotions, and never really eat enough vegetables.

Starting on May 8th I am going to host a spring detox cleanse. We will intentionally create a new beginning – a new relationship with your body and health. Changing long-held habits and patterns can seem like a daunting task. Because we will be doing this as a group, you will have energetic company on this journey, which should make it easier. If you’re ready, everything can change as quickly as you are able to make a decision that you want something.

There are 5 main components to this cleanse: 1) Green drinks, 2) fiber and intestinal cleansing, 3) Lots of vegetables – 80% of your food, 4) Yoga or qi gong moves every morning, and 5) the Forgiveness meditation. While doing this cleanse, I would recommend that you stop dairy, sugar, gluten containing foods, and alcohol. If you have caffeine, I would suggest tea rather than coffee, with no milk or sugar in it.

Functional Medicine Tips: Detox & Cleanse

1) Green Drink Recipe: Make a green drink every morning, using a blender, vitamixer, or other superblender. Take a small apple, 1/2 banana, some blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries and add 3-4 leaves of chard, spinach (a handful in this case) or kale, and dandelion leaves, a piece of ginger (depending on your taste), a tablespoon of chia seeds or ground flax seeds, a tablespoon of sunflower seeds or 3 walnuts, and 1/2 a lemon. Pour water over the top, and some ice if you like, blend until everything is liquefied. Pour into mason jar. Drink a glass for breakfast and then sip it all day. Another option for a green drink is using Organic Raw Protein Powder from Garden of life, greens powder from Garden of life, water, blueberries, a handful of spinach or chard, and a date.

2) Options for fiber and intestinal cleansing: The easiest is to buy Yerba Prima all fiber capsules, beginning on the first day of the cleanse. Take 2 capsules twice a day, and then increase to 3 the next day. 4 the day after that. On the 5th day of the cleanse, begin taking bentonite clay – 1 tablespoon twice a day, with lots of water. You will only do this for 3 days. Drink plenty of water with all this fiber. If you want to use liver cleansing herbs, Amazon herbs makes a product I like, Fiberzon, which has herbs for cleansing in it. You can just use 2 doses of that per day instead of the fiber and bentonite clay. The point of this cleanse is to make it easy for you to do, which will make it more likely that you’ll do it.

Your Diet During a Cleanse

3) Diet: 50% vegetables, meaning that all day, everything you eat, half of it should be vegetables. You can steam, bake, boil, and stir fry, whatever works for you. You can eat any protein you like, meat, fish, chicken, beans, whatever feels good. Toasted walnuts are another good source of protein/fat that you could have with your breakfast. You can also eat grains. Fruits are okay but I would only have them in the green drink for this diet.

The Dieting Don’t List: Don’t eat any white foods at all – i.e. bread, sugar, milk, dairy, cheese, even bananas aren’t great. Do not skip meals. Have at least 3 meals a day. You can have the green drink for a snack or you can have some veggies and protein for a snack.

4) Yoga or qi gong moves in the AM: Practice moving your body in a gentle way. You can take a class or find a DVD that has some poses. Or, if you know some yoga, practice what you know and make it your routine. You should do some form of slower movement for 20 minutes a day. If you decide to do some cardio, try to go outside and take walks. Be more reflective in your exercising this week. If you know the sun salutation, you can do it 12 times a day for the week.

Stay Mindful

5) The Forgiveness meditation: The liver is the organ that is most active in springtime. It has to do with the emotions of anger and frustration. The best way to heal anger is to find that place of forgiveness inside of ourselves. In the 5 elements system, the liver leads to the heart, which represents the emotion of joy. To find joy, you need to find forgiveness. For our cleanse, since we are focusing on the liver, I would like to have everyone do 5 minutes a day of forgiveness meditation.

Propel your mind, body, and spirit forward with this great experiment. Even if you can’t do every component, or last for a full week….

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