3 Tips For A Safe Winter Detox

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By Michelle MacLean

I always love a good cleanse or detox. I love taking on a challenge and committing to a program that gives my body a chance to release all of those nasty toxins that have built up over time, especially during the holiday season.

Over the years I have tried many different cleanses, including the Master Cleanse, apple cleanses, fruit fasts and juicing and smoothie detoxes. Some of them worked for me, while some of them didn’t.

But I truly believe in the philosophy behind cleansing, which is to take a set period of time, a couple times a year, to give your body a chance to accelerate its natural detoxification processes and work optimally for and with you. To do this properly, you’re advised to eliminate most processed foods and top allergens to give the body a chance to release toxins, repair cells and restore optimum health.

Transitioning into a new season with a cleanse is a great way to start fresh. Doing so allows you to let go of any poor eating habits you may have picked up and slowly transition from the foods you enjoyed last season, bringing in more of the foods that are fresh and abundant this season.

Eating seasonally gives our bodies what they need when they need them. It’s amazing how smart Mother Nature is! She gives us root veggies in Winter, which are grounding and warming; Salad greens and sprouts in the Spring for lightness and energy; Berries and fruits in the Summer to keep us hydrated and cool.

As you release the physical toxins that are clogging up your system, this also allows you to let go of the mental clutter that might be holding you back from reaching your goals. 

As a wellness coach, I’ve taken my training and experience and developed my own whole foods cleanses and detoxes for my clients, using that tools that have worked well for me over the years. The key is to ensure they are realistic, attainable and enjoyable so you’re not left starving and unruly.

Winter Cleansing

The New Year is a popular time for cleanses and detoxes. After all, you’ve made it through the (likely) hectic holiday season. Chances are, you’ve overdone it a bit – on many fronts – food, spending, socializing, drinking erratic sleep and little exercise, which can all can take a toll on your mental and physical health.

But in fact, Winter is one of the hardest times to cleanse and it’s not typically a time to shed weight and eat lightly. When you look at what’s happening in nature, the animals are hibernating, bulking up and storing food to keep them strong and warm in the colder months.

While nature is telling us it’s not the perfect time to cleanse, you can absolutely safely and successfully detox in the Winter, simply by focussing on the following three tips:

  • Kidney and bladder health. According to Chinese medicine, Winter is connected to the water organs – the kidneys and the bladder. The kidneys filter the blood and help to remove toxins from the body through urine and the bladder stores the urine until it’s eliminated. From an energetic perspective, the kidneys store life force energy so Winter is a great time to conserve this for the active Spring ahead. You can support the kidneys and bladder by eating beneficial foods such as apples, cranberries, grapefruit, pomegranates, kale, root veggies, celery, winter squash, brown rice, buckwheat, beans, fish and poultry. Also, lots of water and daily movement will help to flush toxins and aid in the prevention of keep kidney.
  • Introspection. During the colder, darker months, you have heightened perception and capacity for introspection. This  is a great opportunity to go inward, take time for contemplation and plant the seeds that will bloom in the Spring. Make your cleanse process more than a physical one, using it to detox those emotional toxins that might be holding you back.  Journaling is a great way to work through lingering emotions and become more familiar with your relationship and beliefs around your body and food. Meditation and yin, or restorative yoga, are also great practices to add to your Winter cleanse process.
  • Foods that are warming and in season. At this time of year, your body is naturally drier and because it is colder outside, you likely crave warm, oilier, cooked  foods, rather than light salads and greens. Things like soups and stews, nuts and seeds, fish and lean proteins are good choices during your cleanse. Also, in-season root veggies to nourish and grapefruits and other citrus fruits to hydrate. And you can give your food a little kick with warming spices like cinnamon, cumin, ginger, salt, fennel and cloves. 

By following these tips, you have yourself a successful Winter cleanse, that will lighten your toxic load and prepare you for a healthier, happier and lighter mind, body and spirit during the Winter months.

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Michelle Maclean

Michelle Maclean

Wellness Coach and Nutrition Consultant at The Sugar Shift
Michelle MacLean is a Wellness Coach and Nutrition Consultant who works primarily with women who are struggling with the negative effects of sugar. She helps her clients reclaim their inner sweetness and let go of refined sugar for good in her 8-week Sugar Shift Intensive. She also offers individual coaching. Michelle doesn’t focus on diets, but instead helps create a total transformation, focusing on the relationship with food and self-love.

Download Michelle’s Sugar-Free Breakfast E-book with nine healthy recipes to rev your metabolism and energize you for the day.
Michelle Maclean

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