By Arianne Koven, N.D., C.N.H.P
Winter is over. Like the earth, our bodies have been enjoying a period of rest. The past months provided a dormant environment allowing us to conserve our energy and resources. We have now entered nature as re-birthing season. This is the perfect time to follow her example, wake up our bodies and clean house! According to Chinese medicine, spring is the ideal time to get your Wood Element (governed by the liver and gall bladder) in top shape. The liver, one of your most important organs, is responsible for detoxifying your system and keeping your immune system functioning. The support you give it during the next few weeks can pay handsome dividends in improving your health for the balance of the year. Spring is the time to renew your focus on nutrition, exercise, self-awareness and self-expression. This season invites you to open to the new and clear out the past!
Over the years I have discovered that nothing helps kick-start this process better than a proper fast or liquid cleanse. One of my perennial favorites is the Master Cleanse developed by Stanley Burroughs (Google him). I encourage my clients to consider this protocol as it is simple, effective and gives a lot of energy while cleansing. It is also surprisingly satisfying. Most people report once they get past the first few days, the Master Cleanse was a delight! I strongly recommend working with an experienced health practitioner if this is your first experience with a fast or cleanse. It is important to be monitored and you will appreciate the support and information you receive along the way. Below is the recipe and instructions on how to use this cleanse:
The Master Cleanse
2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1-2 tablespoons (to taste) of pure, 100% Grade B Maple Syrup (Available at most health food stores)
1/10 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
All mixed in 8 oz. of purified water.
This produces a pleasant balance of flavors providing sweet, sour & spicy overtones.
Lemon is an excellent liver and body cleanser, high in Vitamin C, potassium and other essential minerals. As an astringent food, lemons contract and tighten tissues. This helps to loosen and clear stored toxins from deep within your tissues and organs. People who suffer from arthritis and similar joint pains often report surprising relief. Occasionally, the cleansing action of this drink may initially worsen the joint pains for a short period as the toxins are cleared. Once this has passed, the joints usually feel much improved. Cayenne pepper helps clear the blood and aids in the elimination of mucus and toxins, as well as serving to warm the body. The maple syrup provides considerable energy as well as calories. Even so, you should lose some unwanted weight during this cleanse. By adding exercise, you could shed as much as a pound per day! Avoid using honey as a sweetening agent as it promotes congestion rather than elimination. You may drink the Master Cleanse as often as desired throughout the day. If this is your first cleanse, I suggest you stay on it for only three days unless your practitioner suggests otherwise. Those more experienced with cleanses or fasts could easily continue on this program for up to two to three weeks. It is important to keep your intestines moving. For those who experience sluggishness, I suggest a cup of laxative tea (blends containing cascara sagrada, dandelion or alfalfa) immediately upon rising and just before retiring.
During any cleanse, you may experience symptoms caused by the body’s release of toxins. These are usually of short duration and may manifest as headaches, light-headedness, mucus discharge from sinuses, chest or intestines and skin eruptions. Learn to listen to your body. If you feel weak, rest for a while. Usually these symptoms will quickly disappear by increasing your intake of the Master Cleanse recipe to 8 – 12 glasses per day. You may also drink as much distilled water as you like.
Your body will tell you when it is time to come off the cleanse. Hunger (not to be confused with cravings) is always a reliable signal. Start reintroducing food very gradually. Begin with freshly squeezed orange or apple juice half diluted with purified water. On the second day move on to vegetable soup, drinking the broth during the first meal and eating the vegetables later in the day. Try to eat consciously, slowly and lightly, savoring each spoonful. Avoid overeating during the first few days. Immediately after fasting, you should definitely experience heightened awareness. This is an excellent opportunity to notice the effect each food has on your body. You will discover which foods feel right and which cause unpleasant reactions such as gas, general discomfort, bloating, or low energy.
Some experienced fasters prefer to create their own cleansing program by drinking the juice of a different fruit or vegetable each day. Although it is fine to create a vegetable mix to suit your taste, each fruit must be taken on its own for the entire day. Remember never to drink fruit and vegetable juices during the same 24-hour period, as they do not combine well in the stomach. (See article on Food Combinations).
Spring is the ideal time to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your table. They help make a wonderful transition from the heavier, heat-producing diet of winter. These are the months to focus on increasing your intake raw foods including greens, sprouts, salads, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains while cutting back on the heavier foods such as meats and dairy products. Also start eliminating fried foods and alcohol from your diet. Spring offers the greening of the land and the promise of new beginnings. It has the time to clean house, eliminate old, unwanted patterns and open a door to a new way of life. Take full advantage of this once-a-year opportunity for change!
© 2012. All Rights Reserved. Arianne Koven is a Traditional Naturopath, Certified Natural Health Practitioner and Voice Dialogue Facilitator practicing in the Vilcabamba Valley, Ecuador. She has been involved in the holistic field for the past thirty years and has been trained in a broad spectrum of healing modalities. This article may be freely reprinted, copied, or distributed in either print or electronic form provided this notice is included in full. For more information, see: www.arikoven.com.
Any information provided in this article is not intended to be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any specific medical condition and is not intended as a substitute for the advice and counseling of your own health care practitioner. Before you treat any illness or make changes in your current medication, seek the advice of a qualified health care practitioner who is familiar with your medical condition.