Have you suddenly gotten the urge to organize the closets, start a new project, or begin a cleanse?  If you have, you are in alignment with Spring energy.

On the other hand, if the closets and shelves are overflowing and cluttered with stuff, and you’re feeling stuck, indecisive, and/or unable to move forward with ideas or projects, it’s time to do some spring cleaning in both your home, and in your body.

Traditionally, in many cultures around the world, there has been some type of cleansing or fasting process, specifically in the spring, to help lift the heaviness of winter (physically, emotionally and spiritually).  If we don’t purposely cleanse or fast as spring arrives, the body may naturally begin cleansing itself from excess oils, fats, salt and animal proteins by releasing a flu or cold. Some people may also suffer with odd aches and pains and they don’t know why. This is the body’s way of releasing excess, and/or toxins, and cleaning out.

We can aid the body through this natural cleansing process by eating lightly prepared meals (steamed, sautéed, blanched and raw foods), less food overall, eliminating animal products for a specific period of time, or fasting from food entirely. The springtime, I believe, is the best time of year to go “vegan” or “vegetarian” for a while.

Some examples include the Orthodox Greeks who fast from animal foods for up to seven weeks during the spring. They abstain from foods that contain animals with red blood (meats, poultry, game) and products from animals with red blood (milk, cheese, eggs, etc.), and fish and seafood. Wine and olive oil are also restricted.  Fasting is serious business. Imagine? No olive oil!

The Catholics fast for 40 days prior to Easter. This fast includes eating lighter meals and abstaining from meat on Fridays.  Yogis practice austerity with their diets, and Shamans fast during vision quests. During these types of spiritual fasts, it is advised to pray or seek guidance. These two simple acts of worship (fasting and prayer) helps lighten the load on the digestive system, and open the body/mind/spirit to receive guidance and direction.

Especially fascinating to me is that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the spring correlates with the Liver and Gallbladder meridians.  And, reducing animal fats and proteins, as well as fasting supports the healing and renewal of these organs in the process.  It seems religions around the world and traditional healing therapies have some commonality.

Every Spring I do three days of the Master Cleanser (recipe below)– although I do a modified version. Many people do the Master Cleanser for ten days, and some folks do it for up to forty days. That is a looooong time! I do not feel the physical, emotional or spiritual need to fast for longer than three days. I’m in good health and my body feels strong, balanced, and connected to source for inspiration.

I did the Gallbladder cleanse a few years ago and found it helpful. So, I continued doing a liver/gallbladder flush every year. My husband did Gallbladder cleanse and released a total of sixty-seven stones! After he released the stones, he felt lighter, happier, healthier, and more connected. And, I can attest that he was definitely less grouchy.  Here are some fasting/cleansing recipes:

The Master Cleanser: (exact quantities and details can be found here http://www.mastercleanser.com/). This cleanse can be done from three to forty days – please check in with your body. It knows best how much fasting you can do.

Juice of ½ a lemon

1 tbsp. maple syrup

1/10th tsp. cayenne pepper

8 ounces of water

Drink 10-12 glasses per day.

Gradual Gallbladder cleanse: Avoid foods rich in saturated fats (meat, dairy, eggs), and nuts and seeds too. Eat primarily unrefined grains, veggies, fruits and legumes. It’s especially helpful to eat raw radishes and use a squeeze of lemon or lime on raw salads. Include 1-2 tbsp. flax oil per day.

Gallbladder flush: Eat green apples (can substitute other apples). The green are most effective because they have a sour flavor. You can eat as many as 8-12 apples. Also drink plenty of fluids throughout the day (water preferably). At bedtime take 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil and 1/3 cup of lemon juice and sip slowly. Go to bed and lie on your right side with your right leg drawn up. Before you do this cleanse please make sure there is a LOT of toilet paper stocked in the bathroom… you’re going to need it.

For more information on Gradual Gallbladder Cleanse and Gallbladder flush, check out Paul Pitchford’s Healing with Whole Foods.

Good luck with all of your spring cleansing!