Spring Clean your Health

Spring is finally here! As the days get longer and the energy shifts, this is a great time of year to be thinking about creating more vitality in your life.

Springtime always creates great momentum. Maybe you are interested in simple ways to detox every day or you might be ready to take on a program.

5 tips to help you with your spring health goals

1.  Eat fresh—During the winter months we tend to eat heavier foods such as heavy casseroles, stews and roasted root veggies. We also can get more sedentary as the freezing cold days keep us inside. Right now, it’s time to shed your winter coat and step into the inspiring energy of spring.

This is a great time of year to eat lighter, simple, easy-to-digest foods such as salads, raw foods and light nutritious soups. Other great choices include lean proteins like beans, lentils, egg whites, fish, turkey and chicken. Try eating less or eliminating foods that increase winter’s sluggishness such as—dairy products, iced or cold food or drinks, and fried or oily food.

2.  Clean out your pantry/kitchen—By now you have probably done some spring cleaning, including cleaning out some closets. Lucky you! I just can’t seem to make it a priority when my garden is calling to me.

But spring is a fabulous time to detox your kitchen. Your environment can make a huge impact on your food choices. If you aren’t exposed to a food, you may not think about eating it. And if you think about a food and it isn’t in your home you may just forget about it.

Start by throwing away any food or drink that contains sugar in any form. If that makes you feel wasteful, I am sure the local food pantry would love your donations. Sugar comes in many forms so keep your eyes peeled for words like maltodextrin, maltose, dextran and demerara in addition to plain old sugar.

Foods that tend to be very high in sugar include commercial salad dressing, barbeque sauces and marinades, fruited and vanilla yogurts, commercial coleslaw, fruit drinks, spaghetti sauce, refined cereals, coffee drinks, and ketchup.

You will also want to discard any products that contain hydrogenated oils or refined vegetable oils like corn or soybean. Also foods that contain artificial sweeteners, preservatives, additives, coloring or dyes.

In other words, get rid of the junk food.

3.  Eat bitter veggies—They are supportive to your liver and naturally support the detox process—Beets, sprouts (esp. broccoli), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, arugula, asparagus and dandelion greens. They do a great job for your entire digestive system by boosting your healthy bacteria and some may help remove toxic pollutants. Other great veggies for this time of year include artichoke, cauliflower, endive, fiddleheads, ramps (if you can find them), leeks and spinach.

4.  Try some new salad dressings to zip up your meals—Stay away from commercial salad dressings. Check out the labels on commercial salad dressings. You will be shocked to see how unhealthy they are. And hard pressed to find a dressing with 100% olive oil. Instead you will find soybean oil as the primary ingredient. Soybean oil is highly refined, stripped of nutrients and high in omega 6 fats. But more importantly, soybean oil is highly inflammatory.

Organic dressings are just as bad with the primary ingredient as soybean oil. And the same is true of most refrigerated salad dressings. Soybean oil is far cheaper than olive oil and most commercial salad dressing manufacturers are concerned only with making a profit. Bottom line: Almost all commercial salad dressings are highly inflammatory.

So, what is a salad lover to do? Make your own. And this can be incredibly easy. Check out my blog post HERE for some quick and easy recipes.

5.  Eat more herbs and spices—Pungent spices like ginger, black pepper lemon and turmeric are great choices for the spring as they help to clear out the stagnant energy of winter. Cool weather herbs here in New Hampshire’s Monadnock region include dill, chives and cilantro. These herbs are loaded with a variety of nutrients with each of them having positive effects on your health.