spring cleaning | don’t lick the lawnmower
During the first quarter of 2023, the theme was Back to Basics. This quarter, it’s all about Spring Cleaning.
And we’re going to start by talking about how to cleanse the human body—inside and out.
A lot of detoxes involve unpleasant protocols, such as drinking shots of wheatgrass juice. Blecchhh. As a friend once said, it’s like licking a lawnmower. I share her distaste for it—and I don’t judge if you love the stuff.
I’ve been reading Anya Seton’s The Winthrop Woman and getting my fill of early American history. I’m always fascinated by how deep our Puritan roots run, especially—but not only—in the New England area. There’s this idea that anything worth having is worth working hard for, even suffering for.
And that carries over into our health journeys: Want to be well? You need to work hard at it! You need to suffer for it and endure lots of complicated protocols involving highly unpleasant activities, such as fasting, cleansing, doing insane workouts, eating nasty foods, and even licking lawnmowers.
What if our Puritan fathers (okay, and mothers) were wrong?
welcome to your body
If you haven’t yet read Bill Bryson’s The Body: A Guide for Occupants, what are you waiting for?!? Besides deserving an award for best. subtitle. ever, it’s an educational and entertaining romp through the human body. Every. Single. System. Of. It. And totally understandable by non-science types.
I bring it up here because it’s a great place to dig deeper into the miracle I’m about to share with you: left to its own devices and given the nourishment it needs, the human body is capable of healing itself.
That’s right: you don’t have to lick the lawnmower.
As the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, the arc of the human body bends toward health.
detox, all day long
There are a number of organ systems involved in detoxing the body when everything is working properly—and detoxing is just one of their many functions:
- Gut: our intestinal tract is meant to extract nutrition from our food and get rid of anything we can’t use, such as certain kinds of fiber and other solid waste.
- Liver: this organ is in charge of filtering our blood and converting toxins into materials we can excrete through other means. (That’s right: some substances can’t even be removed until they’ve undergone some chemical changes. Your liver does all that without you even knowing it.)
- Kidneys: these organs (we usually have 2) filter toxins from our bloodstream and excrete them through our urine.
- Lungs: these organs (also usually occurring in pairs) filter toxins from the air before oxygenating our blood and excrete carbon dioxide from our bodies.
- Skin: our largest organ (cool trivia—it’s an organ!) gets rid of excess water and salts through perspiration.
So whether animal, vegetable, or mineral in origin, solid, liquid or gas in state, our bodies can rid themselves of what is harmful to them.
give your body what it needs
Yes, there are some people who have been exposed to substances that flummox even the body’s miraculous ability to detox on its own. For example, heavy metals, such as mercury and lead, can bind to our cells and prevent them from working properly, and in extreme cases they can cause irreversible damage and be life threatening.
The good news is that, besides not needing to lick the lawnmower, most of us don’t have to invest in expensive supplements and protocols to detox.
What we do need to do is start educating ourselves about what is harmful to the body—not just substances but habits—and start making better choices.
Want to review what that means in terms of food? Start here and read all of January 2023’s posts.
stay out of its way
Giving the body what it needs is not an instant fix … and it’s one that is more sustainable and a whole lot less expensive in the long run. The more better choices you make over time, the more you’ll notice the effects.
Don’t tell me you don’t know what a better choice is, whether it’s in the realm of food (apple or chocolate cake?), physical activity (take a walk or binge Netflix on the couch?), sleep (go to bed early or doomscroll?). Enough said.
As you make better choices and get out of your body’s way, there will be times when you feel your body healing in leaps and bounds and times when progress feels impossibly slow, even nonexistent. Have some patience. It’s taken you years of bad choices to reach the condition you’re in now; it may take years to get you to optimal health.
make the connection
Interested in learning more about “spring cleaning” the Integrative Nutrition® way? You can still join my new Spring Cleaning | Five Weeks to a Cleaner Life program. It’s free. It’s virtual. And you don’t have to lick any lawnmowers. We start April 1—it’s not too late to sign up! Details + registration