4 Tips for a Healthy Spring Cleaning

Internist & Functional Medicine Clinician By Susan Blum, M.D., MPH
Internist & Functional Medicine Clinician
Susan Blum, M.D., MPH is a nationally recognized clinician, speaker, author, and teacher. She currently lives in Port Chester, New York, and received her master's in medicine from the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn and her master's in public health preventative medicine from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

One of the great things about living in the Northeast is the change of seasons. I love the Spring, and think it is important to mark and honor this time of year with a Spring ritual.

For most of our ancient history, humans lived as hunter-gatherers. This means that man ate whatever was available each season. Most places on Earth had a scarcity of food in the Winter so our bodies had to prepare for this change, instinctually adapting by storing fat. Which is precisely why our body’s metabolism slows down and craves heavier, warming foods in the Winter.

As Winter ends and Spring begins, it will make this transition easier if you create a ritual for yourself. Below, are 4 tips for A Healthy Spring Cleaning:

1. A Spring Cleaning For Your Closets: Give away all those clothes that don’t fit you or that you never wear to someone who really needs them. This de-cluttering will create spaciousness in your mind and lift your spirits.

2. Spring Awakening For Your Body: It is time to wake up your cells with whole live food, instead of cooked dead food. I started on March 1st and can feel all of my cells vibrating. I traded in my Winter oatmeal breakfast and my bean soup lunches for a Green Smoothie breakfast made from seasonal greens, herbs, fruit, flax or coconut oil, and pumpkin seed protein powder; my lunch is a seasonal salad loaded with veggies, vegetarian protein, nuts, and seeds.

3. Let Mother Nature Choose Your Spring Menu: Get rid of old stale food in your kitchen and heavy winter calories by replacing them with fresh, whole foods. There is a big grass roots movement to eat locally whenever possible—eating with the seasons is a perfect way to make this transition. Spring is a bountiful time to explore a variety of color and flavor in your cooking. Spring foods include dandelion, asparagus, ramps, fava beans, morels, scallions, artichokes, arugula, beets, cherries, and more. Visit your local farmer’s markets since many are now beginning to reopen.

4. Breathe in Fresh Spring Air: Find a walking buddy, or go alone. Nature will nurture you and the sunshine is good for your Vitamin D. Aligning yourself with nature is the best way to feel the change in seasons on every level.

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