Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Clean-sing

   It's All About the Liver!

   Though it may not feel like it yet (especially since there is a somewhat-spirit-dampening newly-fallen foot of snow outside), it is spring. As of March 20th, the daylight will be lasting longer and the weather should be getting warmer.
   During this time of the year, many people (like my Mother!) feel the urge to do some "spring cleaning." Something about the thawing out of things, the new green, the fresh-Earth scent in the air - seems to make people want to give their surroundings that same renewed, clean, fresh feeling. To open their windows and sweep out the dust from the colder months just passed.
   I think it's great, and I am starting to feel that urge myself. (I have big plans for the closets. I'm talking PURGE!)
   Not surprisingly, this urge I'm feeling doesn't seem limited to the un-clean closets and dust in my home. Although I have already drastically changed a lot of my eating habits, I am starting to feel the urge to do some inward spring cleaning.
   I'm not really sure how to go about this, especially since I have already been trying, with relative success, to eliminate lots of the things that may have been cluttering up my physiological closets. I can't imagine being successful trying to eliminate anything more than the sugar, salt, caffeine, oils, alcohol and animal products I have barely touched in the past few months. Honestly, I can't imagine that eliminating anything more would actually be helpful, or healthful! So instead, I've decided to explore adding things into my diet. None of the above mentioned things, of course. Certain plants, though, are actually more helpful in "cleansing" your body than others, so my plan is to incorporate more of those. My base of knowledge in this area, however, is relatively limited. So, naturally, I googled it.
   I was surprised to find, by literally typing "spring clean your body," that my urges are not all that unusual. In fact, it just so happens that the liver is triggered into its own "spring cleaning" cycle, becoming stimulated (along with other "eliminative" organs such as the kidneys, colon, and even lungs and skin!) to cleanse the body of impurities. So, next I googled "liver cleansing foods," and compiled a list.
   Here is what I found:
      Garlic - Works well with natural liver enzymes.
      Citrus fruits (especially bitter ones like lemon, lime and grapefruit) - Suggestion: drink water with freshly-squeezed lemon juice in it, first thing in the morning, to help stimulate the liver.
      greens! (especially dandelion greens and watercress: "spring" greens - go figure!) - These things are just naturally cleansing, soaking up toxins and basically helping the liver do its job.
      cruciferous vegetables (brassicas such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and collards) - It's called "glucosinolate." Trust me, your liver will love it.
      beets and beet greens - Improved liver function.
      green tea - Plant antioxidants, known as "catechins," help stimulate liver function.
      turmeric - Its key compound, called "curcumin," also helps the gallbladder, and more enzyme stuff for the liver...

   So, that's basically where I'm going to start. Tomorrow I'll be taking a trip to our semi-local, natural-foods supermarket with my good friend and fellow "Eat-to-Live"-er (Hah! - live-er! - that really is what it's all about!) Kristie Drawdy, to stock up on my list. I have also decided (inspired further by my urges) to try and spend some time outside every day, if possible, letting the awakening of nature stir an awakening of my soul as well. Additionally, I'd like to attempt to do at least one creative project a week.
   And, of course, attack those closets.

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