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Natural Awakenings NYC & Long Island

In This Issue: April 2021


Time for Spring Cleaning

Ever wonder who started the tradition of spring cleaning?  Why don’t we practice winter cleaning or any other season for that matter? Since I’m a bit of a history buff, I researched the subject to get the skinny. I wanted to share what I discovered because the concept carries over to our health.

During the 1800s, according to the Washington Post, the biggest annual housecleaning took place in the spring because the winter left homes coated with “a layer of soot and grime in every room.” At the time, lamps were fueled by whale oil or kerosene, and homes were heated with coal or wood, so you can just imagine the mess.

Fortunately, spring also gave people natural energy to clean. In the colder months, we’re like bears: sleepy and sluggish. That winter inertia affects our bodies, which need cleaning too. (C’mon, admit it with me. We do not all eat the healthiest during the colder months, and we typically aren’t as active as we should be either, although we try.) But once the days start getting longer and we have more sunlight, something inside us gets us going again. We look around at the mess—in our homes, and maybe in the mirror—and kick it into gear.

While the traditional goal of a spring wellness routine is to look good by summer, feeling good is important too, especially after a sluggish winter, when we haven’t done much to enhance our health. “Spring Cleaning the Body: Simple ways to Detox Naturally” (page 20) lays it all out for us. Think of yesterday’s “soot and grime” as of today’s “chemicals in our food” or “cosmetics on our face”—they’re toxins, and they’re everywhere. Now, according to the article, “while some health professionals say that detoxes are unnecessary because the body is capable of cleansing itself, others make a compelling case for the need to help it along, given our heightened exposure to manmade toxic elements.”

I’ve tried a few detox programs, and I’ve also made some permanent changes to reduce my toxic exposure: I’ve switched to phthalate-free makeup, let go of the processed foods, added in more green vegetables, upped my fiber, and cut my sugar. I’ve been cooking mostly organic meals for my family for more than 10 years, and I feel good about what goes into their systems. All along, I’ve been teaching our boys about food and how to read labels. My hope is that when they’re on their own, they’ll think before they eat.

That’s what I was forced to do recently, after undergoing major surgery on my neck. Having to stop and consider every bite of food—I couldn’t swallow anything unless it was cut into tiny pieces—made me think about my overall health again, how I had let myself go a bit, and how this was an opportunity to start over, healthfully.

With summer around the corner, let spring be a little whisper in your ear to get a fresh start, both within and where you live.


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