Spring Cleaning - Body & Mind
Posted on 4th April 2018 at 17:11
Spring cleaning the body and mind
When nature starts to move in spring after a winter of hibernation we need to follow suit. A daily walk and time spent outdoors allows sunlight to activate the pineal gland and hypothalamus in the brain which naturally rebalance its energy giving us a sense of lightness and hope. Metabolism begins to shift too and energy supplies are sent to the more active areas of the body such as the muscles – naturally we want to move more and we feel good about it. Thank goodness for that, it’s been a long winter.
It’s no coincidence that the spring harvest brings bitter greens to our tables because these foods help detoxify our livers from the fats and heavier foods that we were programmed to need during the colder months. They kick-start our renewal with their fresh flavours and prepare us for the summer fruits and salads that are to come when the weather gets warmer still and we need additional hydration.
There are so many spring vegetables to choose from but spring greens are easily my favourite. Readily available in the supermarkets they are cheap and packed full of vitamins and minerals. Spring greens are a member of the brassica family and like kale, don’t form a head. This makes them super-easy to prepare. Just roll up the leaves and slice them into ribbons like fettuccine. If you can find a local or organic source then so much the better or if you grow your own broccoli or cabbages use some of their outer leaves instead. Stemmed or stir-fried they go with everything. You can add chili or garlic, olive oil and lemon juice and always a bit of Celtic sea salt to really bring out the flavour and charge up their nutrient value.
All brassicas are rich in sulphur compounds which aid detoxification and boost immunity naturally. Skin really needs a lift in the springtime and sulphur compounds not only do this but they also help make the keratin required for healthy skin, nails and hair. They provide an antiseptic component too which can help fight acne and other skin infections.
Collagen which is the most abundant protein in the body, gives our skin strength and elasticity, and is necessary for replacing dead skin cells. After the age of 35, our bodies start producing less and less collagen and skin loses firmness and gradually starts to wrinkle and sag. Dark leafy greens like cabbage, spinach and kale offer antioxidants that protect against the free radicals that breakdown collagen and in spring these vegetables are as fresh and vibrant as they can be.
Springtime brings lightness back into our lives enhancing not only our physical beings but our emotional selves too. Increased natural light levels help us shake off the mental heaviness of the winter months and a lighter diet plays a key role in detoxifying our bodies. But mind and body are intimately linked so improvements and enhancements in one often cause a knock-on effect in the other. If New Year’s resolutions failed to deliver then now is the time for a second chance, so go ahead and reignite an old interest or start something new and a little bit challenging. Yoga and tai chi combine the physical and spiritual with meditation which can be a great bonus when so many things these days vie for our attentions. It’s great to awaken the mind but when it’s in overdrive and a constant state of anxiety or worry then quietening it is equally important.
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