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Spring Health Tips

Spring is right around the corner. Here in Wisconsin, it showed up a little too early. Here are my crocuses blooming in February. Some days have been in the upper 60s and low 70s - in February! That's crazy! I've seen the whooping cranes are back and also just saw an indigo bunting this week. The change in the seasons is a natural transformation that happens without us giving it much thought probably. We are cyclical beings and we too have seasons. We can use the seasons as a guide to adjust what we are doing when it comes to taking care of our health.


Spring is a time for rebirth, renewal, and cleansing. Nature shows us this, at least in the northern hemisphere, the snow has melted, the earth is hydrated, the rains bring new life, green grass and flower buds. We do this by opening up our windows to get in some fresh air and spring clean. It's a good time for us to also take these things and incorporate them into our lives.


The organ that does the most work in the spring is our liver - well, it is always working and has many jobs - but we pay special attention to it now. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver is actually associated with spring and the color green, which is fitting. It converts the food we eat into energy, stores our iron, glycogen, vitamins, and other essential chemicals, and manufactures bile, which aids in breaking down dietary fat and helps carry away waste. Our liver also cleanses our blood, ridding it of bacteria and neutralizing and destroying all drugs and toxins.



We can do this following these tips:


Hydrate!!!

Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Herbal tea is also good, along with the water. It's important to filter your water. Investing in a nice glass or stainless steal bottle helps you avoid toxins from plastic water bottles and is so much better for the environment! Avoid sugary beverages (sodas, fruit juice, etc.), caffeine, and alcohol - which all dehydrate you.



Eat your fruits and veggies

Fruits and vegetables, especially brightly colored ones,  are high in antioxidants, which are vital for overall liver health. Think spring greens - we start to eat lighter in the spring to give our digestive system and liver a break from the heavier food we tend to eat in the winter.


Include vegetables with high sulfur content.

Sulfur is needed to produce our body's main antioxidant, glutathione. If deficient in sulfur, the liver will have a harder time producing the antioxidant. Sulfur-containing foods include cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, and onions.


Eating seasonally. If we eat what is in season locally, we will naturally eat what we are meant to eat each season. Look to see what is being sold at your local farmer's markets.


Limited added sugars. Our body changes excess sugars from food and beverages into fat and stores them in our liver. 



Reduce Toxin Exposure

All the chemicals we are exposed to an a daily basis is SUPER taxing on our livers. It's impossible to avoid them because they are literally everywhere, but you can reduce your exposure. If you can afford it, its best to buy organic fruits and vegetable, but I know it's sometimes hard to do. If you buy conventionally grown ones, just make sure to wash them before use to remove pesticides. It will not completely remove them, but it may reduce the amount. Avoid washing too far ahead to reduce spoilage.



Limit your intake of saturated fats and avoid trans fats

Too much intake of unhealthy fats, such as margarine, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils (soy, corn, vegetable, canola), fried foods, can cause a host of problems with our health and put unnecessary burden on our liver. Better choices include:

  • Lean sources of protein, such as chicken, turkey, fish, beans, lentils, soy, etc.

  • Olive and avocado oil

  • Fatty fish, such as mackerel, herring, trout, salmon, and sardines (WILD, not FARMED)

  • If you're going to eat baked goods, choose homemade baked goods made with non-hydrogenated oils, plant oils, or fat replacements, such as unsweetened apple sauce, yogurt, cottage cheese, or ground flaxseed

  • Cooking methods, such as baked, broiled, poached, grilled, steamed, slow-cooked, pressure-cooked, and pan fried with avocado oil


Spend time outside every day

Just like what we do with our homes in the spring, finally getting to open up the windows to let the fresh air in, we need to do that for our bodies as well. Getting outside and breathing the fresh spring air is rejuvenating to our entire bodies.



Move your body

Why not combine these last two tips! Moving our bodies in some way every day keeps our qi (life force energy) from getting stuck. We all know that exercise is important to our health. You don't have to have a gym membership to stay active, it can be a simple walk, dancing in your kitchen, gardening, qigong or tai chi, what you enjoy, do that.



Castor Oil Liver Pack

A great way to give some extra love to your liver is to wear a castor oil liver pack each day. Try it for a full week if you can. A castor oil pack is one of the OLDEST, most widespread healing rituals in the world. From Traditional Chinese Medicine to Indian Ayurveda to modern Naturopathic Medicine, it has withstood the test of time for centuries in cultures all over the globe.


It is the ritual of applying castor oil to a piece of organic cotton flannel then placing it onto the body (traditionally over the liver) and wearing it for 1 hour or more for physical and spiritual wellbeing. I wear mine at night when I sleep. It helps support the liver with detoxification. I sleep better and poop better when I where mine on a regular basis. Make sure to use organic castor oil in a glass container and organic cotton.




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