I enjoy setting goals (resolutions) at the start of each new year. In the past, I’ve successfully committed to boycotting Amazon, reading more and traveling more at the start of a New Year. However, I don’t tend to find setting fitness/detox goals in the heart of winter is useful. For me, the perpetual darkness, bitter cold, and gray sky are antithetical to motivation. Honestly, in the winter I’m just trying to get by.
Instead, I enjoy moving through a rejuvenation process in sync with nature. Spring is a time of rebirth; the sun graces us for longer periods and flowers bloom. Fresh and local produce becomes more readily available. And with beach weather right around the corner, swimsuit goals actually resonate. (Who is legit worried about a bikini body in January?)
Depending on where you’re located, March may begin to feel like spring. Step into the sun and take a deep breath. Are you ready for a change?
Because I certainly am. In recent years, March has been “my month” for extra detox and self-care. However, I recently had three consecutive weeks of visitors from out of state. No complaints here, it is always great to see loved ones. But such times call for celebration, and I do not have the stomach for another cocktail.
Accordingly, I am preparing for a 60-day cleanse. And I want to be clear, I think terms like “cleanse” and “detox” can be detrimental. Like, if you miss a serving of celery juice or get busy and cut a meditation short, suddenly your cleanse is ruined. But that is nonsense. Detoxing does not have to be a structured, stressful endeavor. In fact, I think that sort of defeats the purpose. A colleague recently approached me and said, “I’m going to Starbucks, want anything? I’m doing this cleanse and all I’ve had today is some nuts. I’m just going to get a cold brew or something.”
So rather than “cleansing” by restricting my food intake, meditating on a schedule and living off green smoothies, I am simply cutting out alcohol and prioritizing foods and activities that nourish me.
Here are a few things I’m keeping in mind as I embark on my spring detox:
That is like, the only rule. If this sounds challenging for you in the springtime, consider that when you consume alcohol, your body prioritizes digesting the alcohol before your food. So, not only is this not great for waistlines in general, but it is why alcohol consumption can contribute to constipation. Alcohol is inherently dehydrating and can inhibit intestinal movement, which will hinder your body’s ability to eliminate. So, seriously, no booze.
Honor the food matrix.
Ever have those busy or lazy days where you end up eating a half pound of fruit for breakfast? I certainly do. And I think sometimes that is fine. But for this cleanse, I am making a conscious effort to include a fat, protein and carb with every meal to increase nutritional value. Chemical compounds in foods behave differently when consumed with others, so a diverse plate is healthiest when striving for detoxification.
Eat some raw vegetables, but eat cooked vegetables too.
Salads are one of the first things to come to mind when we talk about detox and eating during spring, right? But raw vegetables are a workout for our intestines to digest, especially if that is all we’re eating. So, incorporate salads into your meals, but also some stir-fries where you can get your veggies really good and tender. Your tummy will thank you.
Soak up the sun.
If you live in a walkable area, opt to walk instead of drive when you run errands. Go on hikes. (Take your dog!)
Lay in your backyard. Whatever it takes to be mindful and get out in the sun. (But use sunscreen!)
Exercise, or don’t.
When you first start a detox, you may not feel great. And I find if I’m not up to working out, my performance suffers. So, give yourself some grace. Rest assured you will be feeling tip-top in a matter of days and will want to do that power vinyasa yoga class at 8:00 am on Saturday morning.
Not sure about you all, but I personally love some lazy days in the sun drinking seltzers. Which is all the more reason to do a little spring time detoxing before the summer festivities.
What do you think, will you do an accessible spring detox?
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Photo: Alina Karpenko Unsplash, R. Coker