Spring Cleaning – Inside + Out

Written by: Ren, Wellness Coordinator


Spring is here and it’s time for a clean-up!  There has been a lot of talk about how our internal world can affect our external and the opposite is true as well – whether you’re cleaning your home to create a sense of inner order and peace or if you’re doing a liver cleanse to make your whole body feel better, Spring is the perfect time for a reset.


According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season relates to specific organs and Spring is for the liver.  The liver is a powerhouse of an organ – it is the second largest organ in the body (second only to the skin), weighs approximately 3 pounds, and serves over 500 functions.  Primarily, the liver converts the nutrients we consume into substances that our bodies can use and filters out toxins that we don’t need.  Other fantastic functions are regulating our metabolism, producing bile which breaks down and aids the absorption of fats, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, and producing proteins that are key for clotting blood.  In order for this beast of an organ to function optimally, it needs a little detox from time to time.


There are many ways to detox the liver.  Some simple solutions that can help your overall health are to not overburden the liver:  this means try to stop eating 2-3 hours before going to bed and stop eating when about 80% full.  Having too much food in the system can create pressure on the liver and gallbladder and prevent one’s body from cleaning and repairing at night.


Of course, there are lots of great foods that can help improve liver function too!  Leafy greens, fresh herbs, sour foods, whole grains, and raw foods are always a good choice, but these are especially supportive of healthy liver function.  When it comes to grains, try to stick to foods like rice and noodles that are moist and not baked – try Milkweed’s Kitchari, a local favorite and an ayurvedic recipe for gentle cleansing.


Supplements can also be an aid to your liver cleans journey!  This Wellness Wednesday, we have the pleasure of hosting Aaron from Prairie Star from 11-1.  Stop by over your lunch hour and ask him any questions you might have about liver detox supplements and how to use tinctures in your everyday life.


When it comes down to it, the best detox practice for you is the one that you can actually commit to.  Setting attainable goals and completing them is always the better choice and self-forgiveness is essential for those moments when we need to “cheat” or make adjustments.  While some people may be able to do a 2-week juice fast, many more of us are just lucky to get some veggies in with each meal.  Be gentle with yourself while you’re being gentle on your liver!


Each individual knows best what our homes need for spring cleaning and Open Harvest offers a lot of great Earth-friendly cleaners – but are there practices that could actively heal the Earth instead of just mitigating harm?  YES!  I’m talking about composting.  Sometimes when cleaning, I have caught myself scooping up everything that’s overwhelming me and putting it in a trash bag.  We’ve all done it and sometimes it’s the best thing for our mental health, but what happens after that and how can composting our plant-based waste be better for the planet?  Keep reading to find out.


When food waste is tossed in a plastic bag and taken out to the landfill it breaks down by a process called anaerobic decomposition.  Because the food is in plastic and air cannot reach it, this food waste is consumed by bacteria that produce methane – a gas that contributes to the destruction of our ozone and increases global warming.  It is also worth noting that when we toss food out, we are wasting the energy and greenhouse gases that were emitted during the production and storage of the food before it came to our homes.  A better choice is to return food waste to the Earth through composting.


Beginning to compost as part of your home care routine might seem a little intimidating but once you begin you may find that not only are you doing good for your garden – you’re also re-structuring your relationship with Mother Earth!  Composting enriches soil, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, and even encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi to create nutrient-rich humus.


How to Compost:
-Pick a dry, shady spot away from wooden structures that might decompose
-Add your food waste (green materials) and dead yard waste (brown materials) in equal measure.  Covering green with brown can reduce the odors of decomposing food.
-Keep it moist!
-In 2 months, the bottom of your pile will be beginning to look ready for use in your garden!

For more detailed information and a list of what you can and cannot compost, check out this handy guide from the EPA that also covers vermicomposting:

If you’re looking for more information from a local master of compost, check out Big Red Worms on Facebook, youtube, or their website


Thank you for taking the time to learn a little about how to clean out your insides and your outsides with me!  Everyone is at a different place on their personal journey towards creating a more sustainable way of life on this beautiful planet that we call Earth.  The more we can be gentle with ourselves and others as we walk our many varied paths, the greater the good we can create each day.