When the seasons change the body does also.
During spring time the body naturally wants to detox. This is the season that the liver cleans itself out.
As the body naturally detoxes, we shed the extra winter weight gained for warmth.
We crave foods that are green, bitter and light to assist our body in its spring cleaning.
This is the best time of year to do a cleanse. But cleansing can be harmful if it’s not done right. Most popular cleanses are too extreme for people with digestive issues.
Intense cleanses like juice fasts, the Master cleanse or vegan, raw and reduced calorie cleanses are beneficial to people who are already in very good health.
That’s because cleansing stresses the body as toxins get shaken loose and flood the system on their way out.
You tend to feel pretty bad in the beginning stages of cleansing and this can be too intense for someone who already struggles with health issues.
Also, the body’s detox mechanism uses minerals to escort toxins out of the body. Because people with digestive issues typically have mineral deficiencies, an intense cleanse is going to do more harm than good by further depleting mineral reserves.
So my viewpoint on cleansing and IBS is that most popular cleanses out there are too intense.
But gentle cleansing can be ok.
For example, giving up grains or sugar can be enough to cleanse the liver without stressing the body too much.
Another type of gentle cleanse could simply add in liver loving foods. Enjoy more lemons, chives, salad greens, burdock root or daikon radish.
My spring cleanse
Since spring has arrived my body has been craving much less meat and more salads. This is my subtle version of spring cleansing.
And as my body cleans out I have been feeling compelled to clear clutter from my house. In Eastern philosophy what is inside reflects what’s outside and vice versa.
My compulsion to purge reflects what’s naturally happening inside my body right now.
Perhaps purging a closet, cleaning out the fridge or organizing a kitchen cabinet can inspire some gentle cleansing in your life.
It’s all about the liver
The liver is a the main part of our detoxification system. Sometimes it gets overworked and reacts by slowing down.
A sluggish liver doesn’t do it’s job well and symptoms like anger, depression, anxiety, nausea, fatigue, PMS, moodiness, eye irritation/poor sight and IBS-like digestive issues can result.
The liver gets overwhelmed by processed foods, sugar and simple carbs. It’s also effected by strong emotions like frustration, stress or anger. Environmental toxins in our water, cleaning products or furniture also tax the liver.
Most people know that pharmaceuticals, as well as street drugs and alcohol, are quite hard on the liver. But most people don’t realize that eating late can also be harmful to the liver. This is because the liver is spending this dedicated cleaning time on digesting activities instead of self cleaning.
The perfect cleanse for the liver would involve rest and relaxation, removing processed foods and processed sugar and loading up on green, bitter foods to stimulate bile flow.
Healthy bile flow is what helps us digest fats and poop regularly. Experiencing nausea after eating high fat foods can be a sign of insufficient bile.
This might be the best time of year to add green juice or green smoothies to your diet, because your body is likely craving it.
Listen to your body first and if it feels right, consider adding these liver loving foods to your diet to assist cleansing:
Sprinkle chives and cilantro over your evening meals or into salads.
Dress your salads with lemon juice and olive oil or drinking lemon water in the morning (lemons squeezed into room temperature water)
Add the Indian spice, turmeric, to savory dishes or smoothies.
Eat more asparagus and cucumbers.
Drink dandelion tea or eat dandelion greens.
Supplements that cleanse the liver are chlorella, spirulina, and milk thistle. (Talk to a natural health practitioner before taking new supplements)
Roots like burdock root, horse radish or daikon radish are extremely cleansing to the liver.
Side effects of cleansing
The liver is associated with the emotion of anger. And sometimes angry feeling can arise from cleaning out the liver.
If you feel anger or irritation come up you can burn up those chemicals with movement or short bursts of exercise. Jog in place, do some jumping jacks, turn on some music and dance or take a walk.
Cleansing the liver can also create a foggy, tired feeling in your head. This is a good sign that your liver is dumping toxins.
To clear your head I suggest laying down, relaxing and concentrating on taking steady inhalations and exhalations. The fogginess will pass faster with rest.
The benefits of spring cleaning your liver can be losing weight, improving PMS symptoms and mood, clearing up skin, having more energy and feeling lighter. You metabolism and elimination will also improve.
If you are confused about what to eat for cleansing, just tune into your body and listen to it’s healthy cravings. And tell us in the comments below, what does your body crave this time of year?
Angela Privin is proof that IBS is NOT an incurable disease or a disease at all. IBS is a body out of balance. It’s an invitation for change. After solving her own IBS mystery more than a decade ago Angela trained as a health coach to help others.
Angela uses both science and intuition to help people figure out what’s out of balance in their body. She works with lab tests, dietary changes, supplementation and nervous system rebalancing. Get help rebalancing your digestive system and solving your IBS mystery here.