Spring Cleaning Guide to a Healthier You

Compiled by Intisar Seraaj-Sabree
Communications Specialist; SFH, Inc.

2Q--It’s springtime! The weather is warping and the florae are flourishing. Many of us may be “spring-ifying” our own homes with spring cleaning; we may be dusting, rearranging furniture, and exchanging our winter wardrobe for our spring and summer garments. But we must realize that while the seasons are swapping we must also “spring clean” ourselves internally by detoxing and/or minimizing our exposure to toxins, and by eating more produce that are in-season. Check out this delicious and nutritious spring cleaning guide on how to eat your way to a healthier you.

Produce is in season when it’s most readily available; it’s when its crop ripens and is harvested. Buying produce while it’s in season often decreases the price, and increases the likeliness that the quality of its taste, freshness, texture, etc. will be at its greatest potential. When you eat produce that are not in season, you’re most likely purchasing fruits and vegetables that have been shipped hundreds or thousands of miles, which is more expensive, less environmentally-friendly and has lower quality. However, seasonality can slightly differ based on your region, and there are produce that is readily available year round, including varieties of onion, beets, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, lemons, oranges, bananas and avocado.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends filling half of your plate with non-starchy veggies. The non-starchy vegetables below are marked with an asterisk (*). Provided by the ADA, here is a list of fruits and veggies typically in season during the spring in the U.S.:

apricots                      artichokes*                  asparagus*         Belgian endive*

broccoli*                    butter lettuce*           cherries               collard greens*

fava beans                  fennel*                          green beans*             limes

mango                 Morel mushrooms*            pineapple             English peas

mustard greens*        radishes*                       rhubarb                snow peas*

spinach*                     strawberries                  Swiss chard*         watercress*

Use these clean-eating tips while grocery shopping to minimize your consumption of toxins (Provided by Lean magazine):

* Look for antibiotic-free meat, and ask if it’s not clearly labeled. Antibiotics are commonly fed to livestock to promote growth and reduce common farm diseases. These antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance in humans who repeatedly consume such livestock.

* Search for hormone-free/rBGH-free milk and dairy products. Growth hormones are used to speed up the growth of animals and to increase milk production in cows for faster profit making. Consumption of these animals or the byproducts of these animals is related to early onset of puberty and increases the risk of cancers.

* Select pasture-raised or grass-fed protein sources instead of grain-fed. Grain has greater caloric density than grass and quickly increases the weight of the animal leading to decreased time until slaughter. Grass-fed or pasture-raised livestock represent the animal’s natural diet, thus providing leaner and more nutrient dense meat and protein byproducts.

3DayDetoxJuiceChartJoeCross* Avoid pesticides in produce. Pesticides are used to kill bugs and insects in conventional farming, and include a variety of harmful chemicals that concentrate in the produce and the soil. These chemicals are linked to several health issues, including neurological damage.

Visit ewg.org, website for The Environmental Working Group, for the “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce” that tell which foods are the most contaminated and are ideally consumed in organic form. This guide also rates the Clean 15, which are the sources of produce with the least contamination and offer less toxic exposure when eaten conventionally (nonorganic).

* Avoid Polychlorinated Biphenyls, dioxins, DDT and mercury, which are commonly found in fish. These contaminants are expected to be linked to learning and memory impairment in adults.

Visit edf.org, the website for The Environmental Defense Fund, for the “Health Alert List” that lists the safest fishes to eat based n contamination exposure and sustainable fishing practices. Ewg.org also has a “Tuna Consumption Calculator” tool that estimates a level of safe tuna intake based on your weight and gender.

Detoxing has been around for centuries. Hippocrates suggested fasting to improve health, and many religious organizations have historically used fasting as a way of purifying the spirit (and the body). The body actually has its own detoxification system, in which the liver, colon and kidneys are critical. The liver filters toxic substances in food from passing into your blood stream. The colon flushes away toxic chemicals before they can harm you, and the kidneys filter your blood and extract toxins via urine. (Courtesy of www.doctoroz.com.)

There are too many ways of detoxing to list, but here is one detox from a well-known and trusted source to aid your internal detoxification system.

The Dr. Oz 48-hour Weekend Cleanse:

The breakdown info: http://bit.ly/1eazGqs

A real life overview: http://bit.ly/1jBaGPD

The shopping list: http://bit.ly/1mKFbp7

The recipes: http://bit.ly/1gOvnHl