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May 3, 2013

Spring is traditionally the time of new beginnings. People like to use this time to clean their homes and personal spaces in order to make space for new things to come. Just like your home, your body needs some cleaning up, too. You've spent months absorbing toxins and pollutants through your skin, the air you breathe, the foods you eat.

Your body is designed to want to shed extra weight as well as toxins and other debris that have accumulated throughout the cold months due to reduced physical activity, and you can help your body do just that. A thorough spring cleanse can also help you regain much-needed energy, clear your skin and improve digestion.

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You don’t have to starve or drink just lemon water to accomplish this. Even with the busiest of schedules, there are a few things that you can incorporate into your routine to help you cleanse and get your body ready for summer. For the next few weeks, try following two or more of these tips:

1. Get rid of gluten and processed foods.

Processed foods have been stripped of nutrients, leaving you with mostly artificial stuff left to eat. Most of these, including gluten (the protein of wheat that's also present in a lot of processed foods), cause a sluggish metabolism and the accumulation of toxins in the body.

2. Have green grapes every day.

Grapes have a lot of detoxifying qualities, and consuming them at this time of the year can help you draw out toxins from your organs and dump them into your intestines for elimination. Grapes are rich in fiber, so drinking a lot of water is a must to help in the detox process.

3. Take a daily detox tea.

Goldenseal, dandelion and neem are some of the best known detox herbal teas on the market today. You can also make tea with turmeric powder, a well-known herb used in many Indian dishes. If you prefer supplements in pill, you can try milk thistle.

4. Avoid sugar like the plague.

Sugar, especially the refined kind, is very hard to digest, and messes around with your blood sugar levels. It will be hard to kick the sugar habit, but try to stay away from refined sugars and artificial sweeteners.

5. Stretch.

Stretching will kick your detox efforts up a notch. As you stretch, you allow oxygenated blood get to all the nooks and crannies of your body, carrying toxins out with it. Exercises like yoga and tai chi are great activities to do in the springtime.

6. Make teas from herbs in your pantry.

In addition to herbs like turmeric, you can make teas of bitter herbs available in your pantry or your refrigerator. Endive, romaine, mustard green, gentian chamomile and goldenseal are but a few examples of herbs you can create tea concoctions with as they will detoxify, improve circulation and increase your metabolism.

7. Take deep breaths.

Most of us underestimate the cleansing power of breath, and most of us forget to breathe deeply and consciously. First thing in the morning, take a few minutes to breathe deeply 8-10 times. It will be invigorating and cleansing.

8. Make sure you evacuate.

If you remove dirt and debris from your organs but don’t eliminate them properly, your efforts could be futile. In fact, you could be doing more harm than good. Having 2-3 bowels movements each day is key in the cleansing process. If you're not doing this, you may consider mild herbal supplements like magnesium, triphala or Cascara Sagrada to assist you. And, don’t forget to drink water!

9. Drink water, lemon, cayenne and vinegar.

Speaking of water, a large glass of filtered water with the juice of ½ a lemon, ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of cayenne pepper before breakfast will increase your energy and metabolism and will clear mucus and toxins from your vital organs. Drink it every day as long as you like.

10. Sweat it out.

Your skin is your largest organ and one of the primary organs of elimination. Saunas, baths and steams rooms are great detoxification aids, as they'll help you sweat, thus helping you eliminate up to 20% of toxins and debris from your body through your skin.

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Jovanka Ciares
Jovanka Ciares
Wellness Expert, Author

Jovanka Ciares is a former entertainment executive turned Wellness expert, detox specialist, nutrition educator and author. She is the creator of the Wellness Smackdown™, a proprietary detox and weight loss program and the Sexy Body Reset, an online weight loss program that focuses on cleansing, nutrient-rich foods for natural weight loss

Jovanka studied nutrition with best-selling author Dr. T. Colin Campbell at Cornell University and life/wellness coaching at the Spencer Institute. She offers lectures, workshops and wellness coaching in both English and Spanish.

She has spent over 10 years studying and experimenting with alternative therapies, nutrition, herbalism and more. Jovanka has personally experienced the healing power of a holistic lifestyle and proper nutrition. Her journey towards self-healing, peace and happiness became her motivation to inspire and support others to do the same.

Jovanka is a featured expert at Whole Foods, Veria Living, Fox News LA, NPR and CBS Radio. She’s also a regular contributor in Spanish-language media outlets like Telemundo and a contributing guest expert at The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, BlogHer and PositivelyPositive. Jovanka gave her first TEDx talk on "Rethinking Failure" in November 2013.