3-Day Gentle Spring Detox
After a brutal winter, I can feel the weight of constant snow shoveling and carefully walking icy paths, lifting from my shoulders as a balmy breeze blows across the water, the winds die down, and the squish of my boots in mud fills my ears.
During the cold winter months, I eat slow cooked meats and root and cruciferous vegetables like beets, carrots, broccoli and cabbage. These foods warm the body and aid in digestion during the colder months of the year.
As the warmth of spring comes along this is a signal for a gentle detox, allowing the warmth of our environment to warm our body, clearing out any stagnant energy and preparing for the more active months ahead.
Our body is naturally detoxing every day, but I like to take a few days once every quarter in rhythm with the seasons for a gentle detox to give my body an extra cleansing boost.
As we move into warmer months, we transition to lighter foods, less meat, more fruits and vegetables that are easy to digest like baby greens and wild edibles.
You will notice that certain wild flowers and greens will appear in your yard or along roadsides, these are the wild edibles that our bodies need during this season to cleanse.
Common Wild Edibles
- Dandelion greens- stimulates the liver and supports healthy digestion
- Stinging nettles- spring tonic known to support joint health
- Japanese knotweed- high in Vitamins A & C, manganese, phosphorous, zinc and potassium
On Monhegan, we have all of these wild edibles. I will harvest about a pound of each and make tea, stock, and sautéed greens and eat them over a few days.
Wild greens have a diuretic effect, aiding the body in cleansing out impurities. Because of their diuretic effect, they should not be eaten in large doses long-term but in small doses over a short period of time for maximum benefit. These greens are high in oxalic acid another reason to not eat these plants in high doses. Oxalic acid is naturally occurring in many leafy green vegetables and inhibits calcium absorption; to reduce the oxalic acid content simply steam or sauté briefly.
Over a three day period follow this gentle detox to prepare your body for the new season. The detox includes yoga exercises, fasting, and naturally detoxifying foods.
Get the blood flowing and your body sweating to aid in the release of toxins through your skin and respiratory system.
10 minute Vinyasa Flow
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- 10 Sun Salutations, move through the flow slowly at first warming up the body and then move into a quicker pace as you are ready
- Warrior I with a twist hold for 5 breaths each side (twists stimulate the abdominal organs including the liver, the detox organ)
- Goddess Posture, inhaling as you straighten the knees and arms to five pointed star, exhale as you come back into goddess posture, repeat 10 times
- Stomach pumping: placing your hands just above your slightly bent knees, elbows straight. Exhale completely out your mouth. Holding your breath, start to undulate your stomach until you need to take a new breath. Inhale completely, exhale completely through your mouth and repeat the stomach pumping. Repeat the sequence 5 times. (the exhalations from the mouth releases toxins, the stomach pumping stimulates the abdominal organs, including the pancreas that produces the enzymes for digestion)
- Standing Yoga Mudra: interlace your hands behind your back, shoulders away from the ears, chest lifted gaze to the sun, flow into a forward bend
- Flow into chair posture take 3 breaths and repeat Yoga Mudra-Chair flow 10 times
Make your way to the floor
- Side Stretch, take 3 breaths, repeat other side
- Perform Seated twist on the floor, take 3 breaths repeat other side
- Repeat Side Stretch, take 3 breaths, repeat other side
- Finish in Savasana for 3 minutes, bringing your focus to your breath, inhaling and exhaling through the nose
Fast from Sun Down to Sun Up
A gentle fast from sun down to sun up will have the beneficial effects of fasting without the negative side effects.
Benefits of a fast:
- Increased mental clarity
- Water weight loss
- Rev up metabolism
- Fewer calories consumed
3 Day Detox Food Menu
Over a three day period, prepare the following recipes. Drink the tea throughout the day. Eat the Nettle soup and Japanese knotweed salad for meals supplemented with additional vegetables and protein as you need.
Dandelion Greens Tea
Harvest about a pound of dandelion greens. Rinse them well by submerging them in cold water and swishing them around. Let them stand for 5 minutes, the dirt will fall to the bottom of the pot. You can pull the clean greens out and place in a colander. Dump out the leftover dirty water and rinse the pot. Put the greens back in, fill with water to cover the greens, bring to a rapid boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove the greens. Add your favorite sweetener and drink hot or cold.
To learn more about dandelion greens and how to identify them Click Here.
To purchase dandelion root tea
Stinging Nettles Soup
Carefully harvest 1 pound nettles. If you have never harvested them before, follow these directions.
1 lb. nettles, carefully harvested and rinsed
1 lb. celery, diced
1 lb. carrots, peeled and diced
1 lb. onion, diced
1 tsp. fresh thyme
¼ tsp. coarse ground pepper
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup barley
12 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
Juice of 1 large lemon about ¼ cup
Sauté the vegetables together in your favorite fat/oil (coconut, olive, sesame, lard, butter).
Add garlic and herbs, heat for 2 minutes.
Add barley and sauté for another minute.
Add enough water to cover vegetables and simmer for 30 minutes or until barley is cooked to al dente. Add garbanzo beans and lemon juice. Add more water if needed. Heat and serve.
If you are unable to harvest your own nettles, make nettle tea and add it to your soup, substitute spinach for the green in the soup.
Japanese knotweed Farro Salad
1 cup Farro
1 oz. feta, crumbled
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 lb. Japanese knotweed (substitute asparagus if not available)
5 leaves fresh basil, julienned
Juice of half a lemon about 1-2 Tbsp.
Salt and pepper to taste
Good quality olive oil
Prepare farro according to package instructions and set aside.
Prepare Japanese knotweed (or asparagus) by lightly steaming for 4 minutes or until you can pierce it with a fork.
Toss together all of the other ingredients to taste.
For more information about Japanese knotweed click here.
Living on Monhegan Island, I live very close to nature and in rhythm with the seasons. Harvesting wild edibles in the spring, gets me out on the trails now that the snow has melted and I can harvest these wild edibles easily right outside my door. I also know that they are not contaminated by pesticides. I love feeling the connection to nature and my food when I harvest my own, but I recognize that not everyone lives in a similar environment.
In that case, here are some helpful substitutes for harvesting wild edibles:
- Farmer’s Market: seek out a wild edibles harvester or local baby greens
- Asparagus is readily available in groceries and has similar positive effects
- Dandelion green and Nettle teas can be purchased at your local health food store
If you are looking to experience a similar connection to nature and your food, join me this summer for one of my yoga retreats www.monheganwellness.com/events/ . I have several retreats scheduled from May to October or you can schedule a Day Retreat by Design for you and your friends.
Contact Tara HERE for personal coaching through your spring detox.