Best Winter Cleanses

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I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been in the winter rut. You know, the one where it gets really cold, you don’t feel like exercising and all you crave is warm comfort food like pizza and creamy soup. lemons up closeAfterward, it feels like a wrecking ball landed on your lower stomach. Most cleanses become popular in the spring when we all want to peel off that winter coat, get some sun and look fantastic in a swimsuit. I don’t agree with that timing though; it makes more sense to get a head start on healthy habits and feel good about my body before I start stripping off clothing for some fun in the sun. I like to make these mini-cleansers part of my daily or weekly routine so that I don’t have to do it all at once in one big cleanse. Below you’ll find a list of the healthy foods and beverages I find most beneficial for mid-winter cleansing.

1. Warm Lemon Water
I couldn’t advocate lemon water more. It’s easy, inexpensive, tastes good and is surprisingly healthy. When consumed first thing in the morning, 8-12 ounces of warm lemon water calibrates your stomach a neutral pH. When we aren’t eating balanced meals throughout the day, we regress back to carbohydrate rich diets and our stomachs become acidic. You’re probably thinking, “What? I thought lemons were acidic?”. Well young jedi-reader, they are. But when mixed with water, they become alkaline and balance the body’s pH levels, thus helping the digestive system to function properly. Lemon water also acts as a natural antibiotic and can reduce the amount of germs in the digestive system. According to the Home Remedies site, it contains vitamins A, C and fiber that the body uses to function properly. It additionally helps cleanse toxins and impurities from the intestines, kidneys and other digestive organs. Not to mention, it contains electrolytes and can be used as a Gatorade/sports drink alternative!

2. Triphala
Triphala is a blend of natural ingredients designed to help digestion, elimination and overall well-being. It’s completely homeopathic and wonderful. When I have bloating or a bunch of starchy/carb foods, I take this afterward. See the amazon reviews here. It’s based on an Ayurvedic formula and will balance your doshas- it helps you digest food properly and feel good.

3. Kale Salad
If you haven’t had a kale salad, you’re in for a treat. This, my friends, will clean you out. Yes, like, it’s spring-cleaning mid-winter and take out the trash clean up. That’s all I have to say about that.

4. Dandelion Root Tea
If you’re looking to mix up your normal tea routine- this weed will do the trick. If you are on the super-detox plan and want to cut out caffeine, this is an alternative. Dandelion root tea isn’t your average herbal tea and takes a little getting used to. It has a slightly bitter taste but has all the best intentions. Dandelion root tea is a slight diuretic so it can detox, relieve constipation and soothe an upset stomach. It has been used for centuries, dating back to traditional Chinese and Native American medicinal practices. So, it’s been used for its numerous health-benefiting qualities. Next time you see some pesky dandelions sprouting up in your perfect green lawn, let them mature and save six bucks to make your own home grown dandelion root tea- your own version of lawn to table. Just make sure you aren’t eating fertilizer!

5. Chia
Ahh, chia. I started adding chia to my diet when the book Born to Run made its debut. At that point, I was competitively running on a college team and we all read the book. The author, Christopher McDougall, describes his experience with the Tarahumara Native Mexican tribe in the Mexican Copper Canyons that ate chia and then were able to run 100 miles because of its mythical energy delivery powers. This tribe made a concoction that probably had more than just chia but we swore by it and ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But, I do believe in chia, and at this point in time, I can explain why: Chia is high in fiber and will keep you full for longer as it expands in your stomach. In just two tablespoons it contains: 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbs, 11 grams of fiber plus vitamins and minerals. So, it has a lot of good stuff. When digested, it becomes gelatinous and helps your digestive system run smoothly. I use it in various recipes as a grain alternative and to make healthy pudding.

6. Kombucha
This is my quick fix. Some love it, some hate it and some- like me- learn to enjoy sipping it. Compare it to a hot “Cup of Joe” or an aged glass of wine. It’s an acquired taste, so I get it if you’re not into it but, this is one of the best products you can stick in your belly. It’s loaded with billions of probiotics, contains enzymes and is gluten free. I get the Synergy Brand with the chia because it tastes less like vinegar and the chia is a huge bonus.

Well folks, there you have it. My cheat sheet to get back on track. I’m not making any promises about weight loss or instantaneous and miraculous health improvements. These are simply gentle suggestions for when you find yourself indulging in guilt-laden food or drink. Now get out there and eat some kale!

 

my sus chef 3

Me and my sous chef wreaking havoc in the kitchen

 

 

About Jenny Bergren

A California transplant, Jenny is a fitness and inspiration junkie. Weekdays she works as a commercial and retail designer, weekends she hits the trails- rain, shine, or snow. With a collegiate and post collegiate background in competitive running, long and explorative trail runs are firmly her highest exercise priority with backcountry powder skiing a close second. Off the mountain you can find her happily experimenting in the kitchen with her sous chef Stanley the Vizsla.