Dr Nicola Dehlinger, ND

We’re starting to get our first tastes of spring, and it is such a balm for body, mind and soul!  It can also bring allergies, irritability (spring fever), and a desire to deep clean everything.  This is the perfect time to take a few days and tend to the ultimate home – your body. 

According to Chinese Medicine, Springtime is associated with the liver.  The liver is truly a magnificent organ, filtering and detoxifying most everything from allergens to toxins like air pollution, pesticides, herbicides, alcohol, fried foods, and drugs.  It also stores blood and glucose for when we need extra, creates bile, processes hormones, burns fat, and regulates sex hormones.   This unsung hero works so hard for us daily, hardly getting any recognition, let alone attention. 

There is a stigma that detoxing has to be uncomfortable or difficult, which is simply not true. There are a thousand ways to cleanse the body.  Finding the path that is right for your body is the key.  Working with an expert who can assess your overall health and nutrition today and build a detox plan based on your unique presentation can be helpful. 

In general, eating a whole, natural, organic foods diet with a variety of high-quality fresh foods is cleansing. Lowering fat intake and focusing on plant-based fats like raw nuts and seeds can take the pressure off of the liver.  Consuming food high in fiber to help also the liver do its filtering job.  Foods that are naturally colorful (sweet potatoes, berries, leafy greens, turmeric) provide a good dose of antioxidants that support hepatic function. 

Rest the digestive system whenever possible – don’t eat too late at night or too early in the morning.  Don’t eat when you’re not hungry and avoid overeating.  Drink lots of fresh water – or better yet, water with lemon in it!

Most of us don’t realize that our skin is the biggest organ of detoxification.  When you sweat, you cleanse out the skin.  Exercise not only opens up this pathway to detox but increases blood flow and helps move fat out of the body.  Also, the lungs are another way of getting rid of toxins – breathing deeply (think exercise or yoga) helps the body detox.  We eliminate through our bowels, so ensuring that you’re having a bowel movement at least twice a day ensures that the broken-down toxins are eliminated rather than re-circulated.  Using well-chosen supplements can assist the cleansing process and various organ systems.  

Substances like caffeine, alcohol, drugs, nicotine, etc. are recognized by the liver as toxic and take extra energy to breakdown and eliminate.  Pausing these allows not only rest for the detoxification systems, but also allows us to pay more attention to our thoughts and emotions that we may have been avoiding. The most important part of a cleanse process is addressing the mind.  When you decide to detox, be it for 3 days or 3 weeks, you want to set up your schedule so that you can slow down and be more present.  Journaling, meditation, chanting, dance or being in nature are all great ways to connect with and release thoughts or emotions that might have gotten stuck in your cellular memory. 

From simplifying the diet to full-on juice fasting, take the time to love your liver – your whole system will thank you for it!  If you’re looking for guidance and balance this spring, check out my Durango Detox program.  It comes with recipes, meal plans, videos, online support and supplements if you want them.  You can start anytime you’re ready.  I know I’m already looking at my calendar to set the dates for this year’s cleanse.  (It’s something I recommend doing once or twice a year – Spring and Fall.)  If you take time to plan when you’re going to dedicate time to a program, it will help support your process and actually make it happen

Nicola Dehlinger, ND, graduated from SCNM in 2004. Dr Nicola sees clients from around the world in her naturopathic medical practice, Pura Vida Natural Healthcare, in Durango, CO. She is an expert in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. She is able to minimize supplements and medications as her patients become empowered to heal themselves. In addition to seeing clients, Dr Nicola leads group and private retreats. She also teaches a variety of online and in-person classes. In her free time, you can find Dr Nicola in the mountains or the kitchen, enjoying time with her husband, son, and their dogs. Website: www.puravidahealthcare.com

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