With spring in full bloom, our thoughts turn to the annual shedding of layers and the acquisition of cute sandals (and their attendant pedicures). Yet the real subtext of the spring is S-E-X, and every creature on God’s green earth knows it — including you. You’re literally seeing more birds and bees flying around right now — the metaphor is that obvious.
Spring is redolent with rebirth, but what if you still have a heavy winter hangover from all that Netflixing (sometimes without any gratifying chill)? If you’ve spent the last few months sedentarily filling yourself up with carbs like a hibernating bear who just can’t get with the “gym before work” program, you might be in the market for a seasonal reset.
The bottom line is that sunshine and longer days should make us horny as all get-out, but your body may have some catching up to do with the equinox. If you’re not feeling libidinous or even desirable, a spring cleanse can knock you into shape.
This isn’t about how you look, of course — it’s about how you feel. Sometimes these two sensations are subtly intertwined, and sometimes it’s pretty straightforward — “I do not want to see myself naked right now, so I don’t want anyone else to see me naked, either.”
Not fitting into last year’s adorable sundress is not always conducive to getting in the mood. Neither is pasty, dull, unexfoliated skin. Sex makes you glow, but sometimes you need a bit of pre-coital radiance to get there, and that’s where a cleanse comes in. No matter what your size or shape or comfort level with your body as it is right now, a simple cleanse can jumpstart your cells and make you feel alive — and sexy — once again. This is about feeling sexy for yourself and not about pleasing anyone else’s eye.
I spoke to Arul Goldman, founder and director of the Sanavita Center for Holistic Cleansing in New York City, about how you can get your own cleansing groove on without stopping your life and/or going full GOOP. Arul is a wellness guru and single mom of two who works nonstop but always seems to look like she just stepped out of a spa. She is living proof that cleansing and clean eating are antidotes to modern stress.
“In the winter, we have a natural instinct to retain more, because we’re more sedentary and it’s cold out and so bodies need more insulation to survive — our metabolism slows down. This is how our bodies create a balance for survival. In the spring it’s natural to want to shed all that extra weight and eliminate toxins,” Arul explains. (So if you have a bit of extra padding right now, you’re perfectly normal. Phew.)
Our fast-paced lifestyles can make it seem nearly impossible to eat clean, organic, whole foods all the time (unless you’re actually Gwyneth Paltrow or have her disposable income and/or access to the finest nannies in the land). It’s hard to feel effortlessly sexy when you’re constipated and bloated, as most people are when they grab fast food on the go and spend long days at a desk. The very idea of shifting these habits can be intimidating, especially if you’re too busy to even remember to eat sometimes.
The good news is that it’s not that complicated and you have options. First-timers can experiment with a three-day juice cleanse (Arul recommends that you remain on a cleanse for at least three days because the body’s fasting mechanism doesn’t really set in for at least 24-48 hours). You might think you’re not a candidate, but according to Arul, “Anybody can do a juice cleanse.”
Note: Arul doesn’t recommend that people new to cleansing jump in to a juice cleanse without first eating clean for a few days. And it goes without saying that if you’re under the care of a doctor for any reason, always ask first before you try any cleansing program.
Three-day juice cleanses are far simpler than they even were a few years ago. Blueprint Cleanse was the first company to offer pre-made juices shipped to your door, but now there are multiple companies in the juice cleansing game, and several brands are available at your local Whole Foods. You can even find recipes online and make your juices at home in your blender or food processor. If juice cleansing feels like too much of a time and/or financial investment (organic produce can be expensive), there are even simpler cleansing options.
Arul recommends the Modified Elimination Diet as a great place to start, especially if you’re intimidated by the idea of not eating solid food for a few days.
The MED requires you to simply eliminate top five inflammatory foods. According to Arul, “We take out the usual suspects: gluten, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, sugar (refined sugar) and nightshades.” Nightshades are anything grown underground — potatoes, turnips, eggplants, tomatoes and peppers. Nightshade abstinence was recently lampooned because Gisele and Tom Brady famously avoid them, but it’s just a few days — it won’t kill you. If you’re going on the MED in order to identify food allergies, which many people do, you’ll need to stay on it longer.
There’s a third option for cleansing newbies who crave a spring reset. Arul says, “If you’ve been eating terribly, you can simply cut out all processed and refined foods, and just eat whole foods. If you already eat relatively healthy, you can cut out meat and dairy, or just meat, aiming to avoid inflammatory foods. This is also one of the best long-term healthy lifestyle changes one can make.”
As to how cleansing can impact your sex life, Arul has been there and seen that. “I’ve had numerous clients tell me how their sex lives have changed after cleansing,” she told me. “Even clients who were married with kids and had humdrum sex lives. Recently a client told me that after her cleanse, her energy changed, and then her husband’s interest in her shifted, too.”
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Further, she says, “When you have less toxicity in your body, you have more clarity. When I say you’re lighter I don’t mean just lighter on the scale. Your sensory system is fired up, your senses are way sharper, your vision clears, you can smell things from a block away, you’re more intuitive. You’re happier — it’s so basic, your cells are being fed and nourished with what they need — they are bouncy with hydration and nutrients.” Sounds good to me!
When you’re toxically overloaded and don’t feel well, it may be harder to pick up on sexual cues in your environment, and notice if anyone in the room is noticing you. But a spring cleanse can reset the dial. Arul says, “It’s like a sign that’s saying ‘open for business.’”
Extra cleansing tips that you should adopt and keep doing forever: Start the day with a glass of warm lemon water, and get into dry brushing. Whether you’re cleansing or not, this is the ticket to getting rid of that pasty winter skin you’re dying to shed.
Although based in New York City, Arul also works with clients long-distance via Skype. You can reach her here.
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