In the course of healing Late Stage Lyme Disease, I have experimented with more than a dozen diets, none of which absolutely resonated and very few made much of an impression at all, Today I practice what I call an “energetic” or “intuitive” diet, which closely observes certain uniformly accepted  tenets about healthy eating, but is otherwise completely open to interpretation, by me.

Theres is a lot of dogma, rigidity and disempowering ways of relating to food that have negatively charged the experience of eating, and we are imprinting our food with that frequency. Food should be celebrated; It gives context to our lives, it connects us to the landscape and to each other, through shared experiences of harvesting, cooking and communal eating. And if you are frequenting farmer’s markets, you are also eating local and seasonal foods, which should feel intuitive since you are also then avoiding the massive radiation that occurs when food is shipped across the country. But farmer’s markets also give us space to practice using our intuition, which counters the pervasive dogma that suggests everyone else knows whats best for you. A farmer’s market provides a wonderful opportunity to lean in to your innate capacity to know what your body needs.

A recent trip to the farmer’s market inspired this spring detoxification program, which is a compilation of amassed experience over several years, but first let’s answer the questions on why detoxification is vital to our health.

“Detoxification” is the removal of toxins from the body. which can include preservatives, pesticides, stimulants, heavy metals and metabolic waste products. Fortunately, our digestive, endocrine, and circulatory systems are equipped with a complex set of mechanisms designed to eliminate these toxins. The trouble is that too much sugar, caffeine, and processed foods, little to no exercise, stress and even some prescription medications can slow the body’s natural detox abilities.

The result is a buildup of toxins that can cause brain fog, fatigue,joint pain and poor digestion. However, according to Mark Hyman, MD, a faculty and board member of the Institute for Functional Medicine in Gig Harbor, Washington, you can help boost your body’s innate capacity for detoxification by following a simple plant-based diet during a detox plan. “Pretty much everyone carries a huge load of petrochemical and industrial toxins,” Hyman says. “They come from plastics, pesticides, flame retardants, you name it. Then there are heavy metals and allergens from food or the environment, and internal toxins like bacteria, fungus, and yeast. Most people need to detoxify to get these things out of their systems in order to feel healthier.” Some benefits of an occasional detox, Hyman has found, include having a lowered heart rate, clearer eyes and skin, better memory and concentration, and improved digestion.

Who doesn’t want that? Right? So, let’s get started!

7 (Unconventional) Tips to Rock Your Spring Detox

  1. Define your goal relative to your starting point then write it down. You can still be effective without overcommitting to something that is not realistic. Small changes can be powerful and big changes can sometimes move too much toxicity too quickly. Be intuitive, stay in your own lane, and don’t compare your protocol, process or results to anyone else’s.

  2. Be a Detoxification Badass –  Be excited that you are taking this step to proactively support your vitality. Welcome the opportunity to be complicit in your healing. Choose to honor the sacred aspects of eating intuitively. Instead of complaining, use language intentionally in such a way as to support the end game. Energy follows thought so direct the mind to the positive aspects of what you are doing. Journal your experience. Set your intention, then compile a list of the positive aspects you might gain from the experience.

  3. Stay ahead of your hunger but plan to cheat – When we are eating intuitively, we reject dogma. So when your protocol feels too depleting, or you are moving toxicity too quickly, allow yourself a treat. When you plan to cheat, your treats aren’t negatively charged with guilt either. Suggestion: Plan your treats in advance. For me this might mean permitting starch one day, or fruit or a cold-brew coffee. To avoid frequent cheats, stay ahead of your hunger with copious hydration and ready made snacks on hand.

  4. Make it fun – Create a list of meaningful or fun projects to do during your cleanse. Clean out a closet, reorganize your photos, read a new novel, get some sun, go for a hike or walk, watch old movies. I do best if I am stay true what helps me to stay in parasympathetic mode, so I stay home, or get out in nature, but avoid crowds, shopping, restaurants.

  5. Uplevel Your Detox Game – Some of my favorite modalities to support cleansing include: Infrared Saunas, Dry Skin Brushing with Release, meaningful movement, hydrotherapy (See Sophia Health Institute’s Hydrotherapy Series) and bodywork.

  6. Create a Mood Board, or Inspiration Journal – Use a Pinterest board or create a folder on your computer to store ideas to inspire the journey. These images can be food based, movement based, or simply pictures that imprint the experience with the intended results. Find the bloggers sharing joyously about a plant-based diet, and curate recipes in advance. Suggested: Nutrition Stripped

  7. Surround yourself with beautiful things – Buy candles and flowers. Burn copal. Keep sacred attars nearby. Get a deep conditioner or new facial mask to use during your cleanse. Get your house tidy beforehand.  This is your at-home spa experience so aim to have it feel indulgent.

And, more than anything, let this be an invitation to nourish your body through intuitive self-care, a practice that can be cultivated for life. 

In health, Stacy Shuman