Summer speeds by, the seasons transition-and so do we.
September beckons as the thick humid days of summer melt away. The blistering orange sun peels away at the seams uncovering a dull blue sky spewing moody rainstorms and presenting us with hazy fog-layered mornings. The summer season slips away like a summer intern at 5pm sharp; a sneaky and careful path of retreat turns to abrupt, amidst a cloud of thunder. These soggy days of summer seep into my skin and leave me feeling a bit like a plum tree after a late summer harvest: worn, bare branches, frazzled leaves left scattered about. There’s no hiding from the dull looming gaze of end of summer sluggishness. Take a deep breath in and let it squeeze your skin until you can’t take it anymore. Only then can you renew, restart and come clean for fall.
Late Summer Detox. Spring cleaning gets all the great PR. But what about the late summer doldrums? Even worse. Brush the tired, hazy, soggy feeling away with my simple tips to detox for the coming season…
Why? Lets re-cap the summer lifestyle: we’ve been doused with AC, we’ve swam through soupy messes of humid night air so hot it made our clothes stick to our stomachs. We’ve eaten everything from BBQ veggie burgers and greasy sweet potato fries to tall ice cream sundaes, a cherry on top. We’ve grilled our veggies over a hot sweltering stove or grill. We’ve soaked in the sun for a long lazy weekend. Days at the beach or days watching sports live or in HD. “It’s hot outside” was our excuse for being anything but spry. Sludge gathers on the windows of tall buildings. Kitty cat and doggies’ fur becomes thick and milky with dander. Pollution hangs in the air. Smog from somewhere finds its way into our lungs. We crave crisp, clean, and fresh things. And so a primal craving comes to detox this season.
Seasonal Detox. I was once told by a spa worker at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington DC, that many of her regular clients come in four times a year, every season to get a full facial/massage and day to renew. Hmmph, how that would be! Quite a pampered life. But while I was inspired by the idea of seasonal detox, I knew that I didn’t have to have a full retreat day at a luxurious spa to do a little seasonal revitalization for the mind, body and spirit. I can renew on my own time, with a few easy tips. Here are my ten tips for having your own late summer detox spa, in the comfort of your own home…
1. Juice it Away. All good things start with a great juice. I never regret starting my day with a fresh juice, smoothie or bowl of fresh-cut fruit. Fresh lively enzymes, pure flavors and nutrients galore. Take a few days and commit yourself to starting your day with fresh juice or fruit. For detox, you may want to include these ingredients: lots of ginger, lemon juice, aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, milk thistle, cayenne, wheat grass, acai, papaya or pineapple for fresh fruit enzymes, kombucha tea and juiced greens like parsley, spinach, arugula and watercress. Bottom line: stay hydrated during your detox. High quality water and fresh juices are key.
2. Dead Cells: Gone. Scrub away the dead skin cells of summer. I find myself brushing my cat’s fur and thick mounds of skin cells, dander and milky hair peel away. I can only imagine how this same effect happens on my skin as well. Buy a skin brush, or get a nice sea salt scrub or sugar scrub (Trader Joe’s sells a few very nice aromatherapy scrubs for a good price) and in your morning shower scrub away the dead. If you are using a brush, skin brush your entire body before you get in the shower-dry skin sloughs off easier than wet. Did you know that 20% of the detox process is done through the largest organ in our bodies, the skin.
3. Epsom Salts. I take a lot of epsom salt baths in the winter. But in the summer I skip them. By the end of the summer I can feel a difference. Epsom salts are excellent for detox. So force yourself to do a few epsom soaks this time of year and you will feel the difference. More on epsom salts.
4. Live Snacks vs. Dead Snacks. During the summer it is easy to eat a lot of dead salty foods like chips, roasted nuts, salty fried foods and such. Now is the time to put down the dry soy chips or potato crisps and think about snacking on live, raw foods, Raw nuts, fresh fruit, live nut butter spreads, live nut and bean milks, fresh veggie sticks, live juices and seed and nut granola bars.Think low in salt and high in water content and enzymes. Cut back on the fried and the dried, aka chips and crisps.
5. Probiotics Regimen. During your seasonal detox, I highly recommend supplementing your diet with high-in-probiotics products. Basic yogurt is great, but I prefer a probiotics super-pill or my favorite: BioKPlus soy yogurt shots. Expensive yes, but when I drink them for ten days or so, I always feel the difference.
6. Chill Out and Logout! You may think that you’ve had a lot of time to relax this summer, but sometimes it’s all a big laying -in-the-sun illusion! A lot of down time can actually leave you feeling even more sluggish and tired. My answer? I’ll turn to long walks and anti-technology meditation sessions. I’ll force myself to go on a long walk to the store or to pick up dinner to go. Why should the delivery guy get all the good-for-you exercise?! I’ll pull out my running shoes and walk, walk, walk. Clearing my mind and muscles is the key. Next, I’ll turn off my phone, resist my computer and close my eyes in silence for 20 minutes. Do it with your hubby or a co-worker. Just sit in silence to hear nothing but the late summer rain trickling outside your window and the soggy car tires zooming down the street. (My version of silence. Silence is hard to come by in NYC.)
7. Virginize Your Happy Hour. Summertime means sunset drinks and happy hour celebrations. Well during your detox, take a pause from your happy hour and start a new habit: happy hour juices. Drink all natural tonics, juices and elixirs for an evening buzz. Try super ginger juice or a tart berry lemonade. Stick some muddled mint in your iced tea or chug fizzy fuzzy peach spritzers made from seltzer, lemon juice, chopped peaches and lots peach nectar. And trust me on that ginger-it will give you a ginger buzz that you will crave!
8. Salads. Raw salads are what I crave this time of year. But not just wimpy tiny side salads. Big, giant, full of mixed veggies salads. I chop up anything and everything for my detox salads: fennel, carrots, spinach, arugula, radishes, bell peppers, sweet onions, cabbage, endive, pea shoots, edamame, watercress, tomatoes, avocado, mango, oranges, grapefruit, mushrooms, beets, peas, chilled beans, corn, apples, parsley, sprouts, olives and more! I adore my giant raw salads-especially this time or year. I’ll top them with some tempeh or tofu cubes for added protein.
9. Coconut Water: Instant Hydration. I had to add this tip, because I am a coconut water believer. For hydration, you can’t beat it! Try coconut water. If you aren’t already hooked, I suggest you try it. Fresh young coconuts are the best source, you can even buy coconuts from Whole Foods. But if you opt for a brand my favorites are ZICO and O.N.E. One Natural Experience. And it is…
10. Hot/Cold Water Therapy. Love this tip. I try to do this in the shower everyday. But during a detox session it is a great way to get your blood flowing and toxins moving.
Those are my end of summer detox tips. I hope they help you to feel spry and refreshed in your transition to fall.