Spring begets many emotions, and the idea of the "spring cleanse" is rooted deeply in our ancestry, and is also at the very center of our DNA. Spring is a time of reflection and upward growth, when we clear out and redirect our focus to create the new. Paul Pitchford writes in his book Healing with Whole Foods, that spring allows for clarity of perspective and is "a time for contacting our true nature and giving attention to self-awareness and self-expression."
Spring is a call to cleanse oneself not only of excess appetite and food residues, but also to purge excessive desire, dissatisfaction, impatience, and anger. Ruled by the liver and Gallbladder, this is the time of year to nurture these organs with foods, herbs, and actions that are simple and cleansing. Dietary changes at this time include selecting foods that are of higher quality with emphasis on those that are used for overcoming personal imbalance and maximizing vitality. Diet should be seen as the foundation of any healing regimen. Ancient eastern traditions have demonstrated for thousands of years that while dietary changes can be slower to create an obvious effect, their power is deep and lasting. The ancients used foods to moisten, cleanse, strengthen, move energy, calm the mind, and reduce mucus. Food is a tool to purify and regain balance, which allows us to tune in, clear out, and prevent approaching illness. Unfortunately, a universal diet does not exist. True mindfulness with diet and health involves many subtle layers. The best foods to use for cleansing are not extreme. One should maintain an awareness about how stirring the pot too quickly can create a mess. It's not just about the food, but rather the gradual cultivation of a lifestyle which emphasizes the essence and energetics of food preparation and consumption. Put simply, think of eating as a "healing art." Stay tuned for our next article about which foods and herbs to use to create a custom spring cleanse.
Elizabeth Willis, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Certified Medical Herbalist