Ready….Set….Summer!!!

The May long weekend has come and gone….which for many marks the official beginning of summer.  The city of Toronto is in full bloom these days, and I for one am relishing these early days of summer!  Shaking off a long, cold winter was tough this year, and a simple spring detox is one way you can welcome the change of season.  Get energized, get outside, and get clean…from the inside out.

Just as you might spring clean your house, why not spring clean your body.  Simplify your diet, get back to eating unrefined whole foods, and challenge some habits or “addictions” you notice have been hanging around over the last few months.   I noticed that coffee had become a bit of a morning crutch  – I want to remind myself that I can feel good without it so it is OUT for the next 14 days!  I also find that a spring/early summer detox is a great way to kick-start a healthy routine with food and food prep – my husband and I do our meal planning and prep on the weekend and enjoy the week’s meals much more.  A few other spring cleaning tips:

  • Start every day with warm lemon water – get hydrated and wake up that digestive tract and liver!  Keep a glass or stainless steel water bottle with you at all times.  Drink up, throughout the day.
  • Consciously increase fibre intake to encourage healthy digestion – I am adding chia and ground flax seeds to my morning smoothie – but there are lots of foods that help: dark berries, prunes & dates, apricots, leafy greens, beans, whole grains, lentils.  My Mom is seriously impressive, and just slugs back 2 tbsp of chia seeds along with 1 tbsp of  ground psyllium in a big glass of water.  Fibre – boom!

    Green smoothie goodness

    Green smoothie goodness

  • Leave out the refined/added sugars, eat less wheat & dairy, but lots of good quality protein (organic eggs, chicken, fish, tofu, beans, quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, lentils, nuts & seeds) and of course VEGETABLES.  Emphasize your intake of leafy greens and herbs, and cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, brussel sprouts) for extra liver loving nutrition.  Need some inspiration in the kitchen?  Check out one of my very favourite food blogs, Nourishing Meals.
  • Swap your typical coffee-based beverage for green tea; which still provides you with a little caffeine, but lots of minerals and antioxidants as well.
  • De-stress your day when you can – take breaks, get out into the fresh air and sun even if just for a few minutes, BREATHE deeply, and make time for what you enjoy. Its that simple.  I joined The David Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 Challenge. 30 minutes outside, for 30 consecutive days.  What a way to feel good!
  • Make sleep a priority – try to get to bed a little earlier if you can.  The liver is especially active between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. – so if we are sleeping well then, a great way to naturally detoxify.  Keep screens out of the bedroom – your phone, ipad (my admitted weakness), tv etc. “Unplug” at least 30-40 minutes before bed time.  Go to bed, and wake up at consistent times; it helps establish a healthy circadian rhythm.

Now I would be lying if I told you that while I detox, I don’t crave a thing – I have (pasta and sweets)!  Here are a few recipes that have helped satisfy those in a healthy way!  Remember ~ your spring detox is about letting go of some habits that hamper your health, and enjoying new ones that make you feel good!

Hemp Seed & Basil Pesto

1 bunch of fresh basil ( probably about 1/2 cup)

1 cup of fresh spinach

1/4 cup of hemp seeds

1/4 cup walnuts

3 garlic cloves

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 red chili, de-seeded (if you like some spice)

1/4 tsp sea salt and pepper

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes

Blend it all up in a food processer or blender, and toss with pasta ( I am gluten free for my cleanse so used brown rice pasta), or use as a marinade for chicken or fish.  Also makes a tasty dip for veggies!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

This pudding has a divine texture, and is very satisfying for a sweet tooth – especially one for chocolate.  I used Camino cocoa powder, which is organic and no additives to be found.  I prefer honey to maple syrup in this recipe as well.  It makes quite a bit, but stores well in the fridge for a few days.

2 ripe avocados

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder

1/3 cup honey (organic and raw is best)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 -1 banana

Blend it all up until smooth, and let it chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before enjoying!

~Happy early days of summer everyone!!

 

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