A Winter Seasonal Detox
When the world turns cold and dark outside we have an opportunity to embrace the quiet calm of winter and find our inner fortitude. Despite the fact that we are less active in winter, our body needs to eat and sleep more in order to keep our energy levels up.
If our work load and stress levels remain high, winter can become a physically depleting season. Therefore the focus of a Winter Seasonal Detox should be to replenish and rebuild our energy reserves.
An effective way to support vitality levels in winter is to utilize adaptogenic herbs in the form of homemade teas or soup stocks, or with the use of good quality herbal extracts.
Adaptogenic herbs like Codonopsis, Ashwaghanda or Reishi, are age-old longevity tonics which protect the body from the effects of stress, strengthen immunity, and boost mental and physical energy. By balancing our stress biology, adaptogens protect the adrenal glands from burn out.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine the organ systems which correspond to the winter season are the kidneys, adrenal glands and bladder.
It is said in Traditional Chinese Medicine that the kidneys contain the Gate of Vitality and are the root of both Yin and Yang for the whole body.
The kidneys also govern the waters of the body, separating the pure from the impure. The flavor associated with the kidneys and the winter season is Salty. They say, water follows salt, so we can regulate the kidneys with salty or mineral-rich herbs and foods, like nettles or seaweed.
The salty taste is mineral and alkaline, making it calming to the nerves and nourishing to the kidneys. It balances the watery fluid which bathes our organs and tissues. The salty flavour aids detoxification by regulating hydration, draining excess fluid and water soluble waste via the kidneys.
In excess the salty flavor can become dehydrating, irritating, and increase water retention and blood pressure.
Examples of Healing Salty Foods: Sea Salt, Seaweed, Parsley, Celery, Celery Seed, Swiss Chard, Beet, Miso, Nettle tea.
CREATING YOUR OWN WINTER DETOX
If you are thinking of doing a Winter Seasonal Detox, consider emphasizing foods, spices and teas which nourish the kidneys and harmonize with the winter season. For more insights on seasonal eating for winter, check out my article 'The Winter Kitchen'.
Winter is a critical period of the year for protecting and regenerating our core energy for long-term health. A winter detox should be nourishing, not calorie restrictive. Time and time again, I have observed people undertake raw food, low calorie cleanses in cold weather and quickly fall ill.
I do a seasonally themed detox 4 times a year. The first 10-14 days have a more intensive focus using balancing foods, herbs and supportive therapies like skin brushing, hydrotherapy, oleotherapy, massage or yoga. This initial period forces me to get supplies and stock the pantry, so I can continue to incorporate practices that keep me healthy throughout the season.
My personal Winter Seasonal Detox incorporates:
Follow the links above for specific tips to create your own Winter Seasonal Detox or let me plan it for you. Click here to get started!