Spring Cleaning

Spring is finally HERE!!!!!  The days are slowly but surely getting warmer.  Snow showers have transitioned into rain showers, and tiny bulbs are starting to appear on the barren trees.  To me, Spring symbolizes rebirth, a fresh start, a clean slate.

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However, the shifting weather and pollen can also cause an influx of allergies and colds.  I recently came down with a pretty nasty cold that had me bedridden for 4 days, unable to practice yoga, unable to go outside and enjoy the weather.  I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I HATE HATE HATE being sick.  But there is definitely something to be learned from the common cold of flu…..we need to slow down and take better care of ourselves.

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(Here I am getting over my cold with the help of my two dogs, Saxon & Ghost)

The warmer weather brings in us a feeling of excitement.  Like dandelion seeds, our energy is fluttering all over the place.  All of a sudden, there’s a lot more to do; parties, BBQ’s, picnics, beach days, anything outdoors.  After the Winter we’ve had, the last thing any of us want to do is sit at home and chill….am I right!  The thing is, a healthy life requires balance, especially now when there seems to be so much imbalance in nature (70 deg one day, 45 deg the next).  Even though it is perfectly normal to have more social functions on your plate this time of year, try to make sure you take time to be alone, meditate, and practice self-care.  When you wake up, rather than jumping on your phone and checking emails, sit for five minutes and meditate; take in the morning slowly.  If you commute to work, try to practice slow breathing and master the art of attention.  Really embrace the changing season by observing and taking in each moment as it comes.  Don’t feel pressured to say yes to every event and social gathering that comes up.  Make sure you take time for yourself each day.  Nourish your body with healthy fruits and vegetables.  Don’t drink too much alcohol or caffeine.  Take naps, take long baths, take long walks and enjoy moments of silence.  Take care of yourself, body and spirit and I can almost guarantee your transition from Winter to Spring and eventually Summer will be a happy, peaceful and healthy one.

 

Speaking of Spring, this is a great time to de-clutter and cleanse your home, your bodies and your eating habits.  Here are a few things you can do this Spring to help dust off those Winter cobwebs………

HOME

1) Wash all window curtains and area rugs by hand or on the gentle cycle in your washing machine.  After months of heating your home, window curtains and area rugs can collect a lot of dust and bacteria.  You can get these things dry cleaned but be aware of dry cleaners that use harsh, toxic chemicals.  For more info on that, click here.    If you have window blinds, give them a good dusting.

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2) As you begin to open windows throughout the house, the fresh air will surely churn up some of that dust that has been hiding under your couch, bed, behind the toilet and closet floors.  Sweep & mop or vacuum your floors before hand to eliminate air borne dust that’s been sitting stagnant all Winter.

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3) Clean out your fridge and kitchen cabinets.  Check your pantry for expiring spices, teas and other condiments.  Make room for fresh Spring ingredients.

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4) Deep clean all your furniture with earth friendly cleaners.

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5) Buy fresh plants you can display throughout the house to help purify the air and improve overall health.

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BODY

1) Look through and clean out your bathroom cabinets and check for expiration dates on moisturizer and eye creams that may have been sitting for longer than you can remember (same goes for your makeup).  Think about replacing skin lotions, toothpaste, hair products and soaps with harsh toxic chemicals for milder, more natural and organic ones.

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2) Purchase a dry brush and use it every day before you shower.  Dry brushing can help increase circulation, reduce cellulite, and stimulate your lymphatic systems (the system responsible for eliminating cellular waste products).

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3) Replace your old toothbrush and use a tongue scraper.  Using a tongue scraper every day clears toxins & bacteria from the tongue, promotes overall oral & digestive health and gently stimulates the internal organs.

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4) Consider using a Neti pot if you suffer from allergies.  Using a Neti pot thins mucus and helps flush it out of the nasal passages.

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5) Consider oil pulling.  “Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy for oral health and detoxification.  It involves the use of pure oils as agents for pulling harmful bacteria, fungus, and other organisms out of the mouth, teeth, gums and even throat.
The most effective oil pulling is done by placing around a tablespoon of cold pressed organic sesame oil into the mouth and swishing the oil around the mouth for approximately 10-15 seconds and then spitting it out.” ~ Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM

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6) Practice yoga!!!!!  Whether you are a seasoned athlete or a couch potato, yoga can enhance your life in so many ways.  Yoga has been known to boost immunity, ease migraines, boost sexual performance (woohoo!), and help you get better sleep, just to name a few benefits.  Do your research if you are a beginner.  Click HERE for more tips on that.

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FOOD AND DRINK

1) Incorporate raw foods into your diet.  I don’t know about you, but after eating nothing but soups and stews all winter, a salad sounds pretty tasty to me!

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2) Drink warm water with lemon when you wake up.  This simple morning routine can aid digestion, boost your immune system, balances pH levels, clear your skin, enhance your mood, promote healing, freshen your breath and aid in weight loss goals.  You should be using purified water and it should be lukewarm not scalding hot.  Always use fresh lemons, organic if possible, never bottled lemon juice.  Squeeze 1/2 a lemon with each glass and drink it down.  Do this first thing in the morning before eating or drinking or working out.

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3) Eat seasonal foods.  Spring harvest is the best!  Check out local farmers markets and look up Spring recipes to get you going.  If you need an extra kick in the butt to get you started, click HERE!

Here is an example of what I would eat on a perfect Spring day!!!!! (I am happy to say that these are all original recipes!  Yay)

Breakfast Berry Protein Smoothie

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  • 1 cup almond milk (or water)
  • 1 cup organic frozen berries
  • 1 scoop “Garden of Life” Raw Protein powder
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 banana

Add ingredients to blender and enjoy!

Roasted Chickpea Salad (serves 2)

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  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • organic mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
  • organic dried cranberries
  • 1 can organic chickpeas (also called Garbanzo)
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Set oven to 400 deg.  Drain chickpeas and season with salt, pepper and a little bit of olive oil.  Spread seasoned chickpeas on and lightly oiled baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes or until lightly browned, turning over once.  Meanwhile, Mix arugula, cucumber, onion, tomatoes and dried cranberries in a bowl.  For the dressing, mix 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/2 cup balsamic and 1 tbsp Dijon mustard.  Add dressing to salad and season with salt and pepper.  When the chickpeas are done, add them on top so they stay nice and crispy.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli and Lentils (serves 2)

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  • 1 head fresh broccoli,
  • 1/2 lb brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils (trader joe’s has really tasty cooked lentils)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • turmeric

Preheat oven to 400 deg.  In a bowl, add broccoli and brussels sprouts, mix with salt and pepper to taste, about 1 tbsp turmeric and 1/4 cup olive oil.  On a lightly oiled baking sheet, spread the seasoned broccoli and brussels sprouts in one even layer.  Layer the cooked lentils over the vegetables and roast for approx 25 minutes or until veggies are lightly browned.

Dessert

I’m a sucker for chocolate (I may have to write a blog about it), here are some great, anti-oxidant rich non-dairy dark chocolate bars…..so darn good!

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