Springtime is the time of year when we come out of the darker days, hibernation, and colder weather of the winter season. We soak in the warmth of the sun, our energy levels begin to rise, and we become more active with the longer days. All of Nature, including us humans, begins to wake up, grow, and become more energetic. Along with this we often have an urge to do some spring cleaning – to clear away the old and stagnant and to create the space for rebirth and growth.
Besides the usual dusting and polishing, we can also spring clean ourselves from the inside out through diet. Eating a well-balanced diet can be challenging, but there are some simple and easy steps we can take to eat well, or at least better. Whether we are trying to lose weight, need to modify our diets for a health condition, want more energy and vitality, or just want to eat better in general, these five easy diet changes can help us cleanse from within and improve our health:
1) Reduce and/or substitute sugar
Reducing and even eliminating sugar consumption is maybe the easiest way to lose weight and reduce the risk for diabetes and other common health conditions. Substituting sugar with a natural and healthier alternative, such as agave nectar or honey, is another option.
2) Cut down on processed foods
Processed foods are often high in sugar and/or salt, but they usually also contain preservatives. Too much sugar, salt, and other preservatives taxes our bodies, and the process of processing leaches the nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, out of the food we eat.
3) Eliminate “man-made” foodstuffs
That is, if Nature didn’t make it, we probably weren’t meant to eat it. If there are chemicals (preservatives, food colorings, sugar alternatives) or hydrogenated oils and fats in the ingredient list, it’s best to not eat it. Our bodies are part of Nature, and we should nurture our bodies with food that it knows how to digest.
4) Buy fresh, local, and organic when possible
Fresh and local fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meats not only taste better, but can be more nutritious too. When our food hasn’t had to travel long distances or be packaged in cans etc., it can be higher in nutrients and enzymes. Buying organic ensures that our food was grown without pesticides or other unnatural substances that can get into our bodies.
5) Make conscious choices when food shopping
Being conscious of where our food comes from, and how (if you eat dairy, eggs, or meat) our food was treated can also influence our health. The negative energy and stress of unhappy farming conditions can lead to the production of less nutritious milk, eggs, etc. Though subtle the energetic impact can also affect our health.
We are what we eat, and though we may not be able to completely change our diets, these are five easy ways to slowly, but consciously change our diets to improve our health and in that process cleanse our bodies. When we focus on the quality of the food, our bodies will function more efficiently and regulate the quantity and our overall health for us.
Eating well not only cleanses and nourishes the physical body, but by doing so, we also help to nourish our planet and Nature. Many of us go through each day without really thinking about the impact of what we eat except for how it might affect each of us personally. Food is a vital substance. We should eat to live so that we have the health, energy, and strength to live fully each day. But how we eat also affects how we live, our personal environments, and the planet as a whole. Our food choices and demands can influence how the environment is used – holisticly and sustainably or greedily depleted and pillaged.
If we all took steps, even if just baby steps, to eat well, we can have a positive influence on others around us and on the global environment. We can eat well by consciously trying to eat better quality food more often: local, organic, sustainably farmed, in-season, and humanely-treated. With positive intentions when we live in natural alignment with our immediate and, in turn, our global and even universal environments, we can all live healthier including the planet. Good intentions do have the power to change the world.
The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.
– B.K.S. Iyengar