It is that time of year when the flowers are starting to bloom, the hedgerows are turning green and our thoughts turn to the warm summer evenings that lie ahead. We also think about doing a spring clean in our homes and give it a thoroughly good clean.
As well the house we should also think about cleansing ourselves. According to traditional practices such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, we evolved in tune with the seasons so it makes perfect sense to cleanse at the start of each season. A spring cleanse is fantastic for maximising energy.
I have written before about the benefits of a cleanse so today I thought I would write about spring cleaning your food cupboards and some simple food swaps and healthy options to add in. I am about to start my own spring cleanse with a group of people after Easter and these are some of the items we will be eating a lot of.
1. Replace simple carbohydrates for complex carbohydrates
Carbohydrates give you energy, the more complex the carbohydrate the longer lasting the energy you get from it. Complex carbs are foods, which contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, beans, peas and lentils are examples of complex carbs.
Simple carbs are often softer in texture – white bread, white rice and baked goods. Fizzy drinks, sweets and other sweeteners like table sugar and honey are also simple carbs.
So swap your white rice and pasta for brown rice. Add some beans in your cupboard like lentils, kidney beans etc they are great for making soups or adding to casseroles or even salads as the days are getting warmer. They also contain more fibre which is good for our bowel health and balancing hormones.
2. Buy organic foods where possible
The reasons are many but organic fruit and vegetables usually contain more nutrients as the soil the food has been grown in is not so depleted. Try to choose organic dairy products to avoid the effects of antibiotics and chemicals that have been added to the animal food.
A recent article in Natural Health magazine emphasised the point by highlighting organic strawberries, which are in season soon. It stated that according to an environmental watchdog “around 70% of strawberries tested had traces of pesticides”. Pesticides have been linked to cancer, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and infertility. For more information on fruit and veg and which ones are more toxic that others please visit: -
3. Remove temptation
It really is that simple! The best way to avoid unhealthy snacks is to remove them from your cupboards. You are more likely to make a healthy option if that is all you have available. Therefore, remove all the crisps, sweets and cakes etc and replace them with homemade protein balls, nut cookies, gluten free oat cakes, nut butters and nuts and seeds. The list of healthy snacks is endless and just as satisfying and filling but without the high sugar and saturated fat content.
On our 28 day cleanse we encourage our participants to cook and bake lots of healthy snacks so that when they are at home or out and about they will not be searching for that quick sugar fix.
4. Replace coffee and tea with herbal teas
The market today is full to the brim of amazing herbal teas that are both tasty and nutritious. If you still need some caffeine in your life try green tea, it is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body. This includes improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other incredible benefits.
Too much caffeine can cause fluctuations in your blood sugar levels which effect your mood, sleep, hormones and energy levels.
5. Bisphenol A (BPA) free packaging
BPA is a chemical component present in polycarbonate plastic used in the manufacture of certain beverage containers and most food can liners. There is evidence that BPA is an oestrogen like-compound and it is considered a potent reproductive toxin.
To reduce your risk of exposure, check your packaging. According to the National Institute of Environmental Studies you should do the following: -
- Plastic containers have recycled codes on the bottom. Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA.
- Reduce your use of canned foods.
- When possible, opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.
As it is the season for a spring cleanse I have found a great detox/cleanse broth recipe from a fabulous book I recently bought called ‘Superfood Soups’ by Julie Morris. Enjoy x
Makes about 8 cups / 6 servings
· 2 leeks
· 3 stalks fresh lemongrass
· 4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
· 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
· 2 gloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
· 2 inches fresh ginger root, sliced thin
· 1 cup of mushrooms, halved
· 2 tsp kelp powder
· 2 bags cleansing tea i.e. nettle, dandelion
· ½ bunch parsley
· 1 handful fresh mint
· 12 cups water
· 2 tbsp yellow miso paste
· 2 tsp coconut oil
·Trim the roots and any compromised tips from the leeks and discard. Slice the leeks to separate the white bulbs from the greens.
·Slice both sides of the leek in half and wash them thoroughly.
·Cut and discard the tough tops and root ends of the lemon grass and then remove the coarse outer layers. Crush the inner part of the lemongrass with the flat side of a large knife.
·In a big stockpot, add all the ingredients except the miso paste and coconut oil. Bring the mixture to a boil over a high heat, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 40-50 minutes.
·Strain the broth into a bowl or pitcher, discarding the solids. Stir in the miso paste and coconut oil.
·Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and blend to emulsify.
·Enjoy is as a warm sipping broth.
·Can be kept in a fridge for up to 1 week and reheated as needed.
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