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Spring Cleansing | What to do and not to do

Spring Cleansing | What to do and not to do

All over the world, people seem to agree on at least one principle : Spring is a time of inner cleansing and renewal. Lent time is the Christian remnant tradition, Pessah’ the Jewish one and Ramadan the Arabic one . We find spring cleansing rituals in many other traditions as well, from Celtic to American Indian.They all involve a relationship to a form of food restriction and cleansing of body and environment.

Chinese medicine helps us to relate spring time to our Liver and Gallbladder energy, something, again that people seem to know intuitively in most parts of the world. Let’s fast forward to today. What can we do to support liver cleansing? How can we fit those spring rituals into our busy lives?


  1. Assess your needs and resources truthfully and realistically. Have you done fasting before? Is it your first fast? Can you take time off from work or not? What obligations do you have in your life? Can you have support and do you need it?
    • These questions are important in that they will enable you to determine the kind of spring and liver cleansing that you can choose. Cleansing can certainly entail a fast, but not necessarily.
    • I personally recommend doing a complete fast only if you can be off work and totally focused on your body and mind needs. In the story of Jesus fasting, we are told that he went into the desert for 40 days and sought solitude for a face to face with his soul and God. Whether we are Christian or not, this fasting story illustrates that fasting has never traditionally been our modern version of just a “body detox” or weight loss before bikini time. It was meant as a time of purification of spirit and soul, a face to face and dialogue with the inner self, one’s inner demons as well as dialogue with Spirit or God, according to one’s tradition.
    • For a fast, a few aspects are important to take into consideration;
  2. Time your fast so as to manage any detox reactions. Preparing ahead of time is wise in order to avoid headaches and digestive upset or minimize them. Many people underestimate the detox reactions, especially at the beginning or if your diet or lifestyle has been far from “clean”…involving meat, alcohol or processed foods.
  3. Take a week off work (if you cannot then choose an alternative to complete fasting) : fasting, to be successful needs to get you to GO WITH THE FLOW which means letting dreams happen, resting when tired, taking time for journaling, contemplation, prayer, walks, meditation…all those things that get sort-changed in our busy everyday life. Know that moods can vary widely during a fast and it is not a good idea to dump them on your colleagues or family members. If it is your first time, you might want to consider the support of a group (come join us in August in France for a one week …see enclosed).
  4. Choose a fast that fits your needs (see enclosed excerpt from “Spring Cleansing, Liver Cooking)
  5. Do a media fast….the world will wait for you!
  6. Arrange a few treatments such as massage, acupuncture, hammam, sauna etc. to deepen your body cleansing and get support for the process your body is going through.
  7. Brush your skin daily: our skin is our biggest organ and an important detox ally for all the toxins that we will be releasing.
  8. Know that the way you end your fast is as important if not more than the way you fast.

If you must work:

  1. Choose to fast over a week-end
  2. Do a green juice detox (see below)
  3. Do a “liquid” fast composed of smoothies in which you can include protein (almonds, nuts or seeds). However, make sure your smoothie is not fruit based with heavy sugar intake (which might create wild cravings and mood swings) but rather on alkalizing greens and vegetables to which you add a little bit of apple, carrot or beet to sweeten it. (the keyword here is “a bit”…like 10-15%)…great juicy vegetables include cucumbers, celery, lettuce. Spinach, kale, cilantro or parsley are great additions. Or eat salads or lightly parboiled or steamed vegetables.
  4. Take out any meat, dairy, sugar and alcohol. If you do just that, your body will sing!!
  5. Fast one day every two or three days, eating lightly the other days


Give yourself a beginning and ending day: 3 days, 7or 10 days, 2 weeks and 3 weeks are good numbers but choose whatever works for you.

If you have fat to lose, three weeks is not a problem. If you are thin, do not go beyond seven days or choose an alternate method. It is a good idea to get support through a group and join an organized fast that you trust if you are new in the process. Give yourself time to check your goals in life, review where you are and what you need for renewal of body and spirit. Take time to evaluate your relationship to food and the part emotions play in it. Take advantage of your clarity of spirit to visualize what it is you want to accomplish and what is needed for you to be successful. Remember : a spring cleansing is about renewal! and celebration of new burgeoning life.


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