Today’s guest post is from Randi Ragan. Randi is a Holistic Well-Being expert and the founder of the award-winning GreenBliss EcoSpa, named one of Los Angeles’ Top 10 Holistic Spas its very first year in business (2006). She has just completed her first book, “A Year Of Living Mindfully: Seasonal Practices to Nurture Body, Mind and Spirit”, to be published in 2016 by Quest Books. Randi lives in Los Angeles with her husband and 13 year old daughter.
Did you know that March 20 was the first day of spring? Spring is a time of renewal, starting over, rejuvenating and transforming. The plant world is coming to life again, and the animal world is birthing its new generation. Our human impulse is to follow along and take our cues from nature. Therefore, spring is an excellent time to shed the mustiness of winter, to come out of our metaphorical hibernation into a new phase of life. It’s time to do a spring cleaning the holistic way to a healthier life.
I’ve put together a well-being “kit” which focuses on elements of purification, detoxification, cleansing, lightening up, and generating a new energy with our daily habits. Holistic well-being means being able to connect action vs. reaction in mind, body, and spirit. All areas of our beings are linked and need careful nurturing for ultimate harmony and balance, inside and out.
Practice “Everyday Detox”
No need for punishing exercises in deprivation or foul-tasting concoctions to panic-crash your way to better health. Try incorporating just a few simple, yet important daily habits that naturally cleanse and detoxify your body. “Detoxify” means to cleanse the blood of metabolic wastes, which in turn will infuse all the organs, glands, and tissues, in the body with fresh, oxygen rich blood.
- Drink 30 – 40 ounces of purified water every day. Coffee, sodas, and juice do not count toward this number. They are in addition to, and should be minimally consumed for best health results. A good rule of thumb is to drink enough water all day so that by mid-afternoon and all the way to bedtime, your urine is clear, absent any color.
- Eat plenty of fiber to help your digestive tract stay clean and healthy. Brown rice, oatmeal, organic fresh fruits and vegetables, flax and chia seeds are good for this. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, are excellent foods for stimulating the liver and cleaning out the bloodstream.
- Practice deep breathing. Breath is the source of life. New fresh oxygen comes into the body and is circulated more efficiently with deep breaths. With forceful exhalations, accumulated stress, stagnant energy and carbon dioxide is released. Try the 7-4-8 breath sequence: breathe in slowly to a count of 7, hold the breath for a long count of 4, then release slowly to a count of 8. Repeat 10 times.
- Sweat, elevate your heart rate, and breathe hard every day from some sort of exercise that gets you moving for 30 minutes or more. Choose activities that give you enough pleasure to keep doing it on a regular basis. Dancing, gardening, yoga, walking, Pilates, gym workouts, roller blading, biking – mix it up for variety and for interest.
Create your own Organic Face Cleanser
Lemons are my “go to” beauty ingredient for so many purposes, with their high Vitamin C content, as well as other beneficial nutrients such as folate, potassium, and calcium. Lemon is a natural lightener and brightener, and is a perfect refresher for feeding the skin and tightening pores. The egg white draws out impurities, and the mild antibacterial properties of the lemon juice are good for clearing up blemishes, age spots, or sun spots.
- Lemon Face Paste: combine ¼ cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice and 1 egg white. Beat vigorously with a fork. Use a large, natural bristle cosmetic brush to dab on the mixture. Let it dry for 10 minutes (longer if you can. Try laying down and meditating while you wait). You’ll feel your skin begin to pucker as the paste dries. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry. Moisturize as usual.
Practice Yogic Twists
These help the body to engage in releasing toxins from the body. These poses involve the body in what is referred to as a “squeeze and soak” process, whereby you create positions which wring your interior spaces out like a sponge. A simple and easy version is to lie down on your back flat on the floor (a yoga mat or soft carpet will do). Hug your right knee up to your chest, as you stretch your left leg straight along the floor. Feel you back pressing flat against the floor as well. Take the right leg with your left hand and pull it across your body to the left, allowing your torso to roll slightly with the leg. Reach your right arm out straight out toward the right and press your right palm against the floor. As you become more flexible, try to keep your right shoulder on the floor while you touch your right knee over on the floor next to your left hip. Breathe deeply here for about 3 – 5 minutes and then switch sides.
Make Cleansing and Detoxifying Food
I love this Spring Detox Pesto, made from cilantro, which accelerates the excretion of heavy metals from the body, and basil, which has anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. I spread this delicious paste on crackers, toast, pasta, and sometimes just eat it with a spoon out of the jar. Make sure you use organic, highly aromatic herbs; if there is no aroma, it is old and of no use.
Combine in a food processor or high-speed blender:
- 1 packed cup of fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 cup of basil leaves
- ½ cup of raw almonds
- 1 clove of garlic
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of grapeseed or flax seed oil
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt.
Blend until you get a smooth creamy paste. It will keep for up to two weeks in a glass jar in the fridge.
End Each Day with a Moment
Crysanth (chrysanthemum indicum) tea (really a flower) is used extensively in Traditional Chinese Medicine to calm the liver and resolve toxicity. Drinking tea quietly and with focus is part of an ancient ritual of meditative mind-body care. The aroma of crysanth is gently floral and the smell is instantly calming. A crysanth ‘time-out’ moment creates a chance to re-set our emotions, particularly if our ‘bile is up’, and we are feeling on edge, angry, or resentful.
Here’s to your good health and renewed sense of well-being this season!
To connect with Randi, visit www.randiragan.com, her mindful living almanac and blog, or follow @randiragan on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook to get daily inspiration for vibrant seasonal living.