by Lisa Nogueira
I know it sounds a little odd, but I actually really like cleansing. I typically do a cleanse with each season change. I don’t see it as deprivation or “giving up” anything, I see it as putting attention on the health of my body and filling my body with nutrients and what will make it thrive. At the same time, I want to let go of what doesn’t serve my body’s greater good. It’s a test; a conversation with my body. What does my body thrive on, and what makes me feel sluggish or less than awesome? When we tune in to our body in this conscious way, we may find that certain foods that we are eating are not great for our energy levels, our digestion, or our mood, and we may discover that other foods make us feel better and more energetic. To me, this conversation with my body is not dreadful, it’s liberating!
In a world where we are constantly distracted, this type of cleansing requires me to pay more attention to the day-to-day and ask myself, “What do I need?” Yes, there are foods I let go of during this time, like gluten, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. I may also test how my body feels when I let go of meat, grains, or legumes. But it isn’t only about what we take out; what’s equally important is what we add in. In place of those foods, my body receives so much more in the way of nutrients, enzymes, minerals, and nutrition.
Spring cleansing is about renewal and rejuvenation. The energy changes from the introspection of winter to the growth and movement of spring. This is the time of new beginnings, a time when we want to rid ourselves of unwanted items and create a new space. We do this in our homes and in our bodies, as well. Think about what we expect our bodies to “digest” on a daily basis: heavily-processed foods, sugars, stress, environmental toxins, pesticides, and even unresolved emotions and toxic thoughts. Even though our bodies are designed to naturally eliminate and neutralize toxins, over time the organs and systems can become overburdened with the amount that we take in. This heaviness can cause a buildup of toxins in the body, which can lead to weight gain, unpleasant symptoms, or even a compromise of our health.
Spring is a perfect time to flush out toxins that have accumulated from heavy winter foods and lighten up our eating to prepare for energizing warmer months. The cleanses that I host are designed to be as delicious as they are healthful. We focus on eating nutrient-dense whole foods, an abundance of colorful vegetables, and on ensuring you are satisfied throughout the day. It’s a gentle way of cleansing and supporting the body without deprivation, and may look quite different for each individual depending on the foods that work for their body.
Here is what a day of eating to lighten up for spring might look like.
- Upon waking: A cup of warm water with 1⁄2 lemon, juiced Breakfast: The Spectrum Smoothie (see recipe)
- Snack: An apple with almond butter or sunflower seed butter (add coconut flakes and cacao nibs for a next-level snack)
- Lunch: Rainbow Wrap with Tahini Grapefruit Dressing (see recipe)
- Snack: Cut veggies and hummus (branch into different veggies like jicama, watermelon radish, or endive)
- Dinner: Roasted Asparagus Soup (see recipe)
Time: 5 minutes
11⁄2 cups water
1⁄2 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
Handful of mixed greens
Juice of half a lemon
1 medium carrot, peeled, chopped
1 red beet, peeled, chopped
1 apple, cored, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled, chopped
1 tsp. chia seeds
Protein of choice (1 TBSP of hemp seeds or plain collagen work well)
Add ingredients to a high-speed blender. Blend and enjoy.
Benefits of this smoothie
Because of their liquid form, smoothies are easier for your body to digest and they help you absorb the nutrients you are consuming more efficiently. Apples contain pectin, which binds to heavy metals in the body (particularly in the colon) and aids in their excretion, reducing the load on the liver. Ginger is wonderful for digestion. Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein. Beets stimulate bile flow in the liver, help to break down waste products, and excrete them from the body faster. Beets also are a great source of vitamin C, which is essential for cleansing and overall health.
Rainbow Wraps with Tahini Grapefruit Dressing
2 nori (seaweed) sheets (dinosaur kale or collard greens are nutrient-dense alternatives)
1⁄2 red pepper, julienned
1⁄4 cup purple cabbage, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 carrot, peeled, julienned
1⁄2 cucumber, julienned
2 TBSP fresh mint, chopped finely
2 TBSP broccoli sprouts (any other sprouts work well too)
Optional additions: a handful of arugula (helps to stimulate bile flow within the liver) 1 TBSP raw sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, tofu, tempeh or other protein of choice
Lay the nori sheets on a large plate. Begin adding half of each cut vegetable to each wrap. Sprinkle fresh mint over each wrap as well as the broccoli sprouts and seeds (if using). Make sauce below.
Tahini Grapefruit Dressing Ingredients:
1⁄2 grapefruit, juiced
3 TBSP tahini
1⁄4 tsp. garlic, chopped finely 1⁄2 TBSP tamari
1⁄2 tsp. raw honey (optional) Salt and pepper to taste
Add ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until smooth. If it is too thick for your liking, use a bit of water to thin it and whisk until desired consistency. You can dip the wrap into the sauce or add sauce into the wrap to enjoy!
Benefits of these wraps
Eating a rainbow of vegetables (particularly raw) offers an array of phytonutrients, which fuel the systems of your body. Nori contains iodine, which, among other things helps, support hormones. Avocado is a nutrient-dense fruit packed with 20 different vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy fats. Garlic (in the sauce) is high in sulfur for liver detoxification, and the vitamin C in the grapefruit juice assists in liver cleansing.
Roasted Asparagus Soup
1 – 11⁄2 lbs. asparagus
1 small onion (or half a medium onion) roughly chopped
3 small-to-medium cloves of garlic
2 medium parsnips
2 TBSP Avocado oil
Generous pinch of salt and pepper
2 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or bone broth
Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat. Peel parsnips, roughly chop into 1-2 inch pieces and slice the thick ends in half lengthwise (so all the pieces are roughly the same size and thickness). Trim about
half an inch off the bottom ends of the asparagus and discard. Chop the onion and peel the garlic. Add the asparagus, garlic, onion and parsnips to a baking sheet, toss with avocado oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes at 425° F. Remove from oven. Roughly chop the asparagus and add it and the parsnips to a Dutch oven with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and the stock. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can add all the roasted ingredients to a ventilated blender with the stock and blend. Divide into two bowls and garnish with hemp seeds or other seeds of choice. For more of a kick, add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.
Benefits of this soup
Asparagus is a prebiotic and packed with chlorophyll, which helps detoxify the body. It promotes the growth of the probiotics in our gut. We need both pre- and probiotics for a healthy and thriving micro-biome. Parsnips are a nutrient-packed replacement for white potatoes, and add a creamy, savory note to the soup. They are packed with potassium and folate and offer an array of other nutrients, as well. Hemp seeds are used here for their protein profile, and their anti-inflammatory omega 3s, fiber, and minerals. They are an all-around powerhouse cleanse addition.
If you are interested in learning more about cleansing with me this spring or other body supporting healthful ideas, visit my website: LNwell.com, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Please check with your medical practitioner before making any diet or lifestyle changes. I am not a medical professional.
Lisa Nogueira is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach as well as Licensed Massage Therapist who is dedicated to helping clients live their best lives through health and lifestyle coaching and a unique selection of bodywork modalities. She hosts group programs and seasonal cleanses to help clients make their self-care a priority, clean up their eating, and live healthier, happier lives. Her no-guilt approach to health is taking small steps for creating a lifestyle, maximizing nutrient intake, leaving room for the sweeter things in life and simplifying health and wellness into an approachable and fun adventure. @lisa_nogueira