At last – another winter has come to an end. Hello Spring!  Regardless of what the weather is like where you are or whether you have been lucky enough to see the first robin of the season, today is the official start of Spring.  The vernal equinox – which means that because of the position of the Sun to the earth, day and night are roughly equal in length.  Our day is perfectly balanced only twice during the entire year – at least from a light and dark perspective.

Today then marks a time in our year when we can take stock and think about what is to come – and more importantly, how we can make the best of it.

 What are my top 4 tips for rebalancing this spring?

1. Embrace nature and the sun

The red robin is one of our first visual cues from the natural world that reminds us the return of warmth is on its way after a long winter haul. This cheery little bird also reminds us it’s time to shake the lethargy out of our head, get alert, get moving, and get outside after a winter of hibernation.

According to researchers who published a series of studies in The Journal of Environmental Psychology (June 2010), “nature is fuel for the soul”.   One of the pathways to health and vitality may be to spend more time in natural settings, outside the concrete and cement of the urban environment.  Research has shown that people with a greater sense of vitality don’t just have more energy to accomplish day to day tasks and goals, but they are more resilient to physical illness.

An extra bonus of being outside is that you are getting that important dose of Vitamin D.  Unless you are living very close to the equator, you need about 20 minutes with the sun on your face, arms or back without sunscreen to allow your skin to generate about 1,000 IU of Vitamin D.  Recommended daily requirement for most adults  (up to age 70) with light skin is a minimum of 600 IU, but studies have shown that there is an upper safety tolerance level of 10,000 IU, so somewhere between 2,000-4,000 is likely a good daily dose for the northern hemisphere.   You’d be getting up there if you took an hour-long walk in the sunlight everyday

2. Get your greens on!

Springtime brings the green back to our natural world thanks to chlorophyll. If you recall from grade school science, this molecule is what is responsible for the miraculous transformation known as photosynthesis – the converting  of sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into glucose which is our primary source of fuel.  All animals and humans get this fuel from plants so without the growth of plants each spring, we would be sorely lacking in fuel.

Beyond fuel, chlorophyll provides other great benefits to the body.   Rich in enzymes that promote quick rejuvenation of our cells, it alkalinizes our whole body.  It also has powerful detoxification effects on the body, especially the liver where it helps to extract toxins and improve function.

Spring is a great time to revitalize your intake of greens. Think dark green leafy ones like kale or spinach – or something especially evocative of the season, dandelion greens which are especially supportive of detoxifying the liver; herbaceous ones like parsley, cilantro or wheatgrass; or under-the-sea kinds like blue green algae, spirulina or chlorella.

To further enhance your intake, you can add a scoop of a natural ‘greens’ product to your morning smoothie or fresh squeezed juice.

3. Out with the bad, in with the good!

Spring is a typical time to detoxify our bodies.  Our skin and our lungs are two important organs to help with this cleansing.

Let’s start with the lungs.   Your hardworking lungs make it possible for your body to take in oxygen, which then moves through the blood stream to oxygenate every cell in your body, and to remove toxins like carbon dioxide.   With every breath you take, you are helping to energize and detoxify your body.

Each day we breathe about 20,000 times but think about it – how many of those inhales are shallow and not providing the optimal benefit that they could for your vitality?   As an ode to spring, make a point of taking 20 slow, deep, cleansing breaths in the morning, at midday and before bed to help to regain that seasonal balance that might have been lost through the dead of winter.

As the weather warms up, we may start to sweat a little more.  You might think that the only purpose of sweat is to cool off the body when it heats up.   In fact, since your skin is the body’s largest organ of detoxification, sweating plays a major role in helping eliminate naturally occurring toxins that result from the body’s own cell functions.  So go for a run, take a spin class, hop into a hot yoga room or indulge in some-other sweat inducing activity like visiting an infrared sauna to help your body cleanse naturally.

The flip side of sweating is hydrating.   The body is made up of 75% water so ensuring you stay well hydrated is the key to ensuring those toxins can move out and not stagnate in the body.  Rule of thumb: ½ ounce of pure filtered water for each pound of body weight, more if you are exercising or drinking dehydrating beverages like alcohol or taking in caffeine.

4. Tune up digestion

Cleansing your body can only be successful if your digestive system is working properly.  To start the process off right, squeeze half a lemon into a glass of warm or room temperature water and drink it down when you roll out of bed.  This will help to alkalinize your body and jumpstart the digestive juices.

The vast majority of people who consume the typical North American diet do not get enough fibre which is integral to good digestion.  We need between 25 and 35 g daily, so load up on fruits and veggies, whole grains like oatmeal, millet or brown rice and banish processed refined grains (like those found in most baked goods, pastas or cereals) from your plate.  These give you the bulk ie: calories without the nutritional value.

Finally, did you know that the human body is made up of more microbes – bacteria, fungi and viruses – than actual cells?  Yep, there are 20 times as many bugs as there are cells in the body, up to 200 trillion in an adult.  Each of us hosts at least 1,000 different species.   Not all of these microbes cause illness or disease.  Everybody can live in harmony when there are enough good guys to balance out the ones that want to wreak havoc, weaken our immune system and allow health concerns like candida, parasites or viral infections to get out of control.

If you’ve been taking antibiotics over the winter or eat a diet high in refined sugars or other carbohydrates, you are at risk for having your internal ecosystem out of balance.  Adding probiotics – found in fermented foods like tempeh, kefir or sauerkraut, or in foods that have live and active cultures like yogurt – can ensure your digestion remains healthy so that detoxification is not impaired.

If you are looking for more guidance on how to detoxify, cleanse or rebalance this spring, contact me and we can discuss the best option for you and your lifestyle.