'Tis the season to throw open your windows, drag out the duster, and toss out the trash. But why stop there? Spring is the ideal time to cleanse your body with a detoxifying fast.
"In the cycle of nature, spring is the new year," says Elson Haas, the author of The New Detox Diet and an integrated medicine practitioner in San Rafael, California. "And when you start something new, there's nothing worse than having old stuff in the way." The old stuff, according to Haas, is the acid, toxins, and mucus that build up in our digestive systems. By getting rid of them, you promote healing. Beyond these perks, a fast creates space for reflection.
For starters, try a simple three-day liquid fast. "After three days, your energy starts to free itself," says Haas. Take in only liquids: juices, vegetable broths, and teas as well as at least 8 to 10 glasses of spring or filtered water a day (2 of them when you wake up). Herbal teas made with slippery elm bark, dandelion, milk thistle, and licorice root will cleanse your digestive system and your liver. You can make fresh juices from fruits and veggies and add a little spirulina for extra flavor and amino acids. Take advantage of the natural inclination to slow down by going for long walks, meditating, taking naps, and writing in a journal. After your fast is done, start by eating whole grains and steamed vegetables.
If your fast leaves you feeling light, cleansed, and refreshed, chances are you'll want to make an annual ritual of spring-cleaning the most important home of all, your body.