We've all been there—whether you're feeling sluggish, experiencing slow digestion, feeling stagnant lymph, or just totally bloated. This is especially true after the long winter months when we may have indulged in a few gut-harming comfort foods; the change of season is a great time for a simple, effortless reset. You don't have to do a juice cleanse to be kind to your gut! Spring is a wonderful time to detoxify the digestive system and give it a jump-start. The body is intelligent: It knows that, cyclically, spring is for renewal, regeneration, and decluttering waste. Once more, researchers are finding that there is a direct link between your gut and your mind. In other words, our food literally affects our mood. After this program, you will find that you'll feel refreshed overall and that your digestive system will be working more smoothly. I recommend sticking with it for three weeks, but any amount of time is beneficial.
1. Start your day with fresh celery juice.
Celery juice is filled with minerals that not only nourish your body but also help your digestive tract absorb nutrients and processed food easily.
2. Add pre- and probiotics to your diet.
We've all heard of probiotics; they help your gut with absorption and other digestive issues. However, not all probiotics are created equal. Many over-the-counter probiotics are actually potent for only a short period of time. Ideal are the probiotics that help rebuild your natural flora.
Fermented herbs are also a fantastic way to replenish your flora, giving you probiotics in addition to the digestive health benefits of herbs. Also, just like the skin on our body has its own microbiology, so do the fruits and vegetables we consume. If you choose organic fruits and vegetables, especially if you know where they are sourced from, eat them skin and all!
3. Avoid processed foods and animal products.
Most processed foods have additives, artificial flavors, and other chemicals. Those pesky "flavors" can mean a host of things. Eggs, dairy, meat, and fish are difficult for your body to digest in large amounts. Give your system a break during this detox. For three weeks, focus on eating whole-plant-based foods—organic whenever possible. You will feel a world of difference while still getting plenty of protein. Grains like quinoa and buckwheat will keep you feeling full, energized, and nourished. You can get your daily intake of all nutrients, like calcium from leafy green vegetables, but supplementation is always a good idea.
4. Go gluten-free and soy-free.
Try ditching gluten and soy for a while—not forever! The reason? Gluten and soy both can place a burden on your gut. Removing them from your diet for a couple of weeks will help speed up the process of detoxification and rejuvenation in your gut microbiota.
There is now an abundance of research on the benefits of meditation. In particular, it helps relieve digestive stress and regulates the nervous systems. When in stress mode, we activate the sympathetic nervous system—the fight-or-flight response in the body—and literally shut down our digestive system. The goal here is to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest-and-digest system. In that way, you are going to maximize your ability to digest and absorb food, as well as to feel more energy. If you have chronic anxiety, try different relaxation techniques to access a calmer brain and, in turn, a calmer gut.
Bonus: If you feel your digestive system is particularly sluggish or irregular, you may want to add an herbal support (this one is my go-to) to flush your system.
Give yourself the spring cleaning your gut deserves. Celery juice cheers to feeling refreshed in three weeks or less!