When I went traveling to India this last month with my mom, I packed everything in a small backpack, determined to be a minimalist. It was an experiment to see if I could really get away with traveling light. “Aren’t you impressed,” I asked my boyfriend. “I got everything into here!” I brandished my backpack proudly. He looked at my bag skeptically, “I’ll be impressed,” he said, “if you still think that was a good idea when you get back.”
Well, two weeks later and I’m happy to report that traveling light was an excellent idea. (Although my bag did come back a bit more stuffed than when I left.) I was a bit dirty, I’ll admit, but it was incredibly satisfying to let go the usual defensive materials I like to shore up. No extra books for reading, no “clothes for every occasion,” no mascara, no “just in case” items, and few distractions.
In celebration of traveling light, I’m sharing this article I found by Michelle Cook. It’s that time of year: clean out the closets, dump off the waste, and let in the fresh air!
Spring Clean Your Body, by Michelle Schoffro Cook
Spring is upon us–at least in theory. Every year I get spring fever. I can’t wait to get outside, open all my windows to let some fresh air in, and get down to cleaning my house of all the clutter that tends to build up over the winter. I think spring is the best season of the year. It’s a season of birth and new growth. Flowers, trees, grass and shrubs all start budding with life. This spring, help breathe new life into your body by incorporating some simple detox suggestions to your day. Reducing the toxic burden on your body can spell: improved digestion, increased energy, clearer sinuses, normalized blood pressure, fewer allergy symptoms and hormonal imbalances, strengthened immunity to viruses, sharper mental abilities, better sleep quality, fewer mood swings, healthier skin, and much more. Here are 9 ways to spring cleanse your body without the harsh regimes or deprivation of most detox plans:
1. Throw out the trash…from your diet, that is. I probably don’t have to tell you what constitutes “trash”–fried foods, sugary foods, and the 3 Ps: processed, prepared, and packaged food since they tend to be full of trans fats, sugar, and food additives.
2. If you can’t read eat, don’t eat it. Read labels on the healthy food selections you choose. As a general rule: most of the harmful chemicals you should be avoiding have long and complex names. If you can’t read the words on the package, don’t buy it, and don’t eat it. Better yet, choose fresh foods that come directly in Nature’s packaging.
3. Drink at least 8 to 10 cups of pure water daily to help flush out toxins. For a really great detoxifying drink, add the fresh juice of one lemon to a large glass of water first thing in the morning. Lemons help alkalize your body chemistry, contain more than 20 anti-cancer compounds, and help cleanse your liver, kidneys, and colon.
4. Cut back or eliminate meat and dairy products at least for a while to give your body a break. Meat is highly acid-forming in your body, can be a strain on the kidneys and intestines (low water, no fiber, and requiring plenty of energy to digest) and dairy is mucus-forming.
5. Eat lots of vegetables. Make at least 70 percent of every meal vegetables. That’s easier to do than you think: enjoy a fresh vegetable juice, a large green salad, or a plate of steamed, roasted, or stir-fried veggies, for example.
6. Keep your meals small and simple but eat more frequently throughout the day. That will help stabilize your blood sugar and free up some of the massive amount of energy required for digestion.
7. Add 1/2 cup of cooked legumes (beans) to your diet daily to boost your fiber and nutrient intake and balance your blood sugar levels-one of the keys to balanced energy and weight.
8. Choose healthy snacks throughout the day. Here are some quick and simple ideas: a handful of raw, unsalted almonds, almond butter on celery sticks, nori rolls with avocado (vegetarian sushi), a veggie and sprout wrap, a berry smoothie with rice or almond milk.
9. Go for a brisk walk outside. Exercise improves circulation, which brings fresh, oxygenated blood to your organs and tissues, thereby revitalizing them…and you.
Simple daily changes to your diet and lifestyle can add up to major health improvements, more energy, balanced moods, and an overall feeling of wellbeing. Plus the changes will be manageable and you won’t feel deprived.
Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook