Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Vernal Equinox!

  In Japan, today is a holiday, a wonderful chance not just to rest, but to reset our bodies, minds, and living spaces for the new season. Today marks the first day of spring in the natural world. That means it's the day when night and day are the same length. From here on out, days will be longer than nights. So, today (and the weeks before and after, we don't need to be so strict) is the best time to start thinking ahead about the coming spring. For those of us in the US or around the world who don't get an official day off, take this weekend or any free day in March and use that as your "first day of spring".

  Spring is a time when the natural world wakes up, flowers bloom, animals look for mates, and everything starts to warm and open up. Since we are also part of this natural world (although we seem to forget and even deny that often), it makes sense that we should also start changing our lifestyles. Just as we wear lighter clothes in spring, we should also be easting lighter foods. We may also want to lighten our belongings, clean our homes, sort clothes and throw away unnecessary items. You may also want to start a cleansing diet (see below). However you choose to celebrate the coming of spring, you definitely want to acknowledge the changes that are going on around and in you. All of the transitions at this time of year make it an ideal time to make plans, or makes changes. Even people who are happy with their lives can find something they want to change to be in tune with the blossoming spring around us.

Reasons to Do a Cleanse- Detox Diet
1. You feel tired, worn-out; you want more energy.

2. You feel mentally or emotionally stuck; you want a change to occur in 
  your life.
3. You feel cluttered, you want to get rid of things you don't need.
4. You feel heavy, bloated; you want to lose weight
5. You always have dark circles under your eyes; you want to refresh your 
  I feel all of the above, and to add to that I want to start the spring off on a good and refreshed note. In Japan, April is the beginning of the new (fiscal/school year) so it’s a good time to restart.
  I'm starting off with a 3 day colon cleanse, which means eating a lot of high fiber foods and liquids to get rid of the stuff in my colon. I will (try) to avoid any acid forming (toxic) food and difficult to digest foods.

What to avoid and what to eat  
Foods to avoid: meat (chicken and fish included), dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt, ice cream), fried foods, processed or packaged foods, alcohol, coffee, sugar, wheat
Foods to eat: fresh fruit, fresh fruit juice, vegetables, beans, brown rice, quinoa, other whole grains (but avoid wheat), nuts, seeds, good oils (olive oil, avocado oil, flax oil), eggs, green and herbal tea

My Three-Day Colon Cleanse Diet Menu (example)
Breakfast: first thing- warm water with lemon, nuts, an apple
Lunch: simple stewed brown rice and beans
(prepared in advance for the 3 days)
Green tea, water
Snack: nuts, raw carrots, raw fruit and nut bar
Dinner: more rice and beans or bean curry and salad or steamed vegetables.
**Today I went to a party and had a piece of strawberry tart and coffee. It’s no fun to be too strict.

Tips for Doing a Spring Cleanse Diet
**It's much more doable if you choose foods that you like from the foods to eat list.
**Prepare in advance, making food for three days and freezing it, and going shopping for three days beforehand.
**Eat little healthy snacks and drink plenty of water and tea so you don't feel hungry and unsatisfied.
**Do the detox around the time of the spring Equinox (春分の日).
**Support your detox diet with proper rest, appropriate light exercise- yoga, walking (nothing too intense), and time to reflect.
**Keep a food and feeling diary, so you can be aware of how food makes you feel.

Tomorrow, I'll be starting my liver olive oil cleanse, so check in to see the update! 

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