Spring Clean Ritual
As we spring into new beginings, longer days and warmer weather, we naturally feel ready to spring clean our lives. We have spent many days hibernating from the cold, conserving our energy, resting and reflecting; or perhaps we have got out of sync with nature's cycles and instead of spending winter months replenishing, resting, conserving and reflecting, we have overdone it, pushed ourselves too hard and run ourselves ragged. When we connect to nature's natural ebb and flow we naturally feel moved to grow into the next phase of life, the next season. We emerge from our slower paced winter cycle into the bursting new life of spring. We begin to spring clean our homes, clearing out the old to make way for the new. The same applies to our health; we shed our old self and bring forth a brighter, clearer and lighter version of ourselves. We feel a desire to get out doors in the sunshine and fresh air, we are drawn to lighter foods and begin to think about a new health regime. Spring time awakens us and gently nudges us to cleanse and tonify on all levels, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
Cleansing our body and mind does not have to be so hard core as a water fast. Sure, if you are at a stage where you feel this is what you are yearning for then it is probably the right time for you. There are some simple changes and additions to our diet and lifestyle that can really transform how we feel.
Fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices are medicinal, they contain active ingredients that support the healthy function of human beings. A beautiful array of colours and flavours that stimulate, cleanse, nourish and heal.
SOME MEDICINAL HERBS, SPICES AND VEG
Celery - a diuretic and natural painkiller, lowers blood pressure and helps to cleanse the lymphatic system.
Beetroot - liver tonic, improves fat digestion, detoxifier.
Peppermint - digestive tonic, aids cleansing through perspiration.
Liquorice root - anti-infammatory, digestive tonic.
Lemon - liver detoxifier, tonic, immune boosting, anti-viral and antibacterial.
Garlic - antiviral, natural anti-biotic, blood cleanser and tonic.
Parsley - diuretic, detoxifier, calming digestive tonic.
Ginger - anti-inflammatory, natural painkiller, circulatory stimulant.
Tumeric - natural painkiller, anti-inflammatory, blood cleanser, liver detoxifier and regenerater.
5-7 Carrots, 3-4 fresh celery stalks, 1 small beetroot, 1 apple. Juice and drink 3 x a day.
Drinking Restorative tea 3 x a day will also aid and support cleansing and replenishment.
Tumeric lattes can also be included by juicing fresh tumeric, adding a pinch of super spice blend and mixing into organic rice, almond, oat or coconut milk.
I find that a three - four day cleanse is just right for me, to cleanse my body efficiently of waste and accumulated toxins, allow my digestive system a well deserved rest and to boost my vitamin, mineral and nutrient intake. It is important to listen carefully to your own body and your needs, always treating yourself with care, compassion and love.
10 STEPS TO GAIN MAXIMUM BENEFITS FROM YOUR CLEANSE
1) During your cleansing ritual it is best to avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy, refined foods and meat. These products stimulate, un-naturally sustain, produce toxins and put pressure on the body's systems. Allow a few days free of these to really feel the benefits of your cleanse.
2) Make sure you have all you need, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices.
As we move through to the second and third day of cleansing we begin to feel satisfied as our body fills with nutrients and disposes of the acumulated waste. We begin to feel energised and full of vibrant energy.
On completion of our cleansing ritual we feel good, full of renewed energy, vitality and vibrancy and you may feel that your own cleansing ritual becomes a regular part of your year. If that is the case, I recommend cleansing 3-4 times a year, maybe in alignment with the changing seasons, maybe if and when you begin to feel full and overloaded, over stressed or in need of a boost.
3) It is recommended to plan your cleanse when you have time to rest, over a long weekend, preferably when you are not committed to a work schedule or busy family plans.
4) If your are on medication or undergoing any kind of surgery please consult your GP before embarking on a cleanse. If you have a chronic disease or illness please consult a qualified nutritionist to guide you. Many foods can alleviate and sometimes heal symptoms of many conditions, eating the right foods could be life changing.
5) Some swaps for better health: swap white refined bread, flours, pasta, sugar for wholegrain, unrefined alternatives. Replace low fat dairy products with full fat organic, sheeps, goats or plant based alternatives. Cook from scratch with raw ingredients. Reduce, or better still omit processed foods. Swap refined sugar for local honey, plant syrups or palm sugar. Swap caffeinated drinks with herbal teas, coffee alternatives fresh juices, and plenty of water. Swap sugary snacks with nuts, seeds, dried fruits, raw veg, hummous, fresh juices, veg dips and crackers. Include a rainbow of fruit and veg in your daily diet.
6) After your cleanse eat lightly for the rest of the week so as not to shock your system.
7) During your cleansing ritual it is vital to rest and restore sufficiently, turn off mobile phones, lap tops and computers, or at least have a switch off time, preferably no less than 2hrs before bedtime. This allows our nervous system to relax and restore. Over use especially before bed can cause insomnia, and other nervous system disorders can be exacerbated such as stress and anxiety. Remove all technology from your bedroom for a peaceful, relaxed nights sleep.
8) Indulge in a restorative form of excercise such as yoga or makka ho stretching, walking or wild swimming. All of these activities activate feel good hormones, aid and support the cleansing process and help us to connect deeply with ourselves and with nature.
9) Make space for 'You' time, to just be. Nobody demanding, wanting or needing anything from you. Indulge in the gift of your breath and how full, slow, deep conscious breathing for a few minutes a day can transform how you feel and help to cultivate a more connected and nurturing relationship with yourself. Create a mindful meditation practice as often as you can, cultivating presence in all that you do.
10) Experience the true delights of self care ritual with a self delivered aromatherapy massage. Massage accompanied with some delicious smelling essential oils can really support and nourish the body. Massaging your own body can help develop an awareness of how you feel physically. Positive therapeutic touch can help to nurture love, respect and honour for yourself, your body and your ever changing needs. Essential oils not only help to kick start our body's natural healing mechanisms, they also help to balance and align our emotions.
HOW CAN AROMATHERAPY HELP ME DURING MY CLEANSE?
There are many essential oils to choose from that all have their own unique healing properties. A few of my favourite oils, always present in my apothecary are; Frankincense for its ability to slow and deepen the breath, calm and ground. Benzoin, for comfort, soothing and healing. Wild Bay St. Thomas, for a warming and stimulating tonic. Ravensara and Myrrh for immune boosting and antibacterial, antiviral properties. Orange to soothe and restore. Black pepper to stimulate circulation and relax muscle tissue, and Rose and Geranium to replenish, restore and rebalance. When applying essential oils, it is important to mix into an organic, cold pressed base oil such as coconut, sunflower or jojoba and never use essential oils during pregnancy and breast feeding unless guided by an Aromatherapist. When purchasing essential oils it is important that you buy from a sustainable source, for the integrity and quality of the oil that you are absorbing into your system but also to conserve our environment and our eco system, and to ensure fair treatment and pay for farmers across the globe.
For beautifully illustrated posters of the Makka Ho stretch routine please contact Sue Cooper www.facebook.com/shiatsusuecooper or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sustainable, ethical and organic essential oils go to www.kobashi.co.uk
Books: The Transformational Power of Fasting by Stephen Harrod Buhner.
Super Juice by Michael Van Straten and Mitchell Beazley.
Medicinal Cookery by Dale Pinnock.