The following is a guest post by Zenergy Yoga Instructor Lauri Bunting:
Spring is a great time to turn over a new leaf, clear the body of toxins, and reboot your system. While juice cleanses are popular, they are not necessary. Flushing your system with green drinks for 3 to5 days certainly helps release toxic sludge but it also can leave you feeling stressed, cranky, deprived and fantasizing about post-cleanse indulgences. Any benefits often are erased within a month if new habits have not been established.
An alternative to the juice cleanse is the Slow Cleanse. The effects are not as immediate, but they are more effective over time. Our bodies are perfectly equipped detox machines with kidneys, lungs, liver, skin and colon to filter and eliminate toxins. The system functions best when not overloaded.
The Slow Cleanse honors our body’s circadian rhythms that follow a 24-hour clock. According to this theory, the human body rotates through three 8-hour cycles each day—elimination, appropriation and assimilation. When we sync our activities with our natural clock, our body function optimally.
ELIMINATION CYCLE: 4 am-12 pm
During this period, digestion is weak, as the body is focused on releasing toxins and eliminating waste.
Support the Elimination Cycle with:
Warm sips: Drink warm water infused with lemon, lime, or raw apple cider vinegar, which keep the body hydrated and helps flush toxins from the system.
Green smoothies: Breakfast has been touted as the most important meal of the day. After fasting for 10 to 12 hours, it is important to “BREAK the FAST” gently. A combination of greens, high antioxidant fruits, whole nuts and seeds and coconut water make a huge nutritional deposit from which the body can draw all day. (SEE Green Detox Smoothie recipe.).
A clear mind: The early morning is a great time to meditate. Take a seat and commit to eliminating any unproductive thoughts, beliefs or emotions. Then, focus on breath flowing in, breath flowing out. After 5, 10 or 20 minutes, plant an intention for the day.
Twists: For all you yogis, incorporate twists into your practice for an extra cleansing affect. Twists literally ring out the nervous system, instilling a sense of calm. They also stimulate the intestines, supporting healthy elimination.
APPROPRIATION CYCLE: 12-8 pm
This is the period when the body burns most efficiently. Our metabolism is revved up to support our activities and digest meals.
Support the Appropriation Cycle with:
Proper fuel for the fire: Our digestion is a kind of fire in the belly that rages when fueled properly but can also be drowned by too much or the wrong fuel. For lunch and dinner, choose nutrient-dense meals and don’t eat too much. Include colorful vegetables, a generous helping of greens, healthy fats, and quality protein.
Fasting between meals: Give your system a break between meals. This not only keeps the digestive fire burning strong, but also trains our bodies to burn fat more efficiently.
Proper hydration: It is common to mistake thirst for hunger. Keep a bottle of filtered water with you at all times to avoid eating to quench a disguised thirst.
THE ASSIMILATION CYCLE: 8pm-4am
This is the period when the body extracts precious nutrient and minerals from your food and delivers them to your organs, bones and tissues. During this important cycle, the body restores, renews, and heals.
Support the Assimilation Cycle with:
Early dinner: Eating a light meal between 6 and 8 pm ensures that food can be properly digested so energy can be directed toward the process of assimilation. The earlier, the better!
Plenty of zzzzs: Going to bed at around the same time each night helps to set our internal clocks. Our most restful sleep comes before the midnight hours. Establish a regular early bedtime so that you can take advantage of the healing properties of sleep and awaken refreshed.
Lauri Bunting is a yoga instructor with an advanced certification in yoga therapy. She also is a wellness coach and teaches plant-based culinary classes. To learn more about her schedule, visit www.lauribunting.com. For private sessions, contact Lauri at firstname.lastname@example.org.