Spring Detox History Lesson
The idea and practice of spring detox is a traditional time to cleanse the body after a cold, sedentary winter. Despite many recent trendy abuses of the word “detox”, it is a centuries old practice that doesn’t involve any fad diets or starvation rituals. It was a time of reintroducing greens into the diet after months of eating primarily meats and grains. Ages ago in Scotland, people would eat whatever early greens started to grow. This usually meant stinging nettle which, once properly cooked, doesn’t sting. They also would have found wild garlic using both the broad leaves and bulbs to make a fine nettle soup. Other peoples would likewise enjoy the fresh greens that are now popping up throughout the countryside including asparagus, rhubarb, and onion. Along the coastal areas, fish and shellfish could be obtained again. Likewise, you can enjoy a diet with more fresh greens and ingredients during this time to help in your spring detox.
Centuries ago, food was very local. Today foods are transported making the seasonal lines blur, but this wasn’t always the case. Old recipes throughout history illustrate just how limited food supplies became especially at the end of winter. This was especially true for remote areas and among people that couldn’t afford to transport foods. What happened years ago was that food started getting scarce or limited in variety as winter drew to a close. Beans were about gone along with cornmeal and flour. Chicken weren’t laying, cows not needed had been slaughtered at the beginning of winter to preserve feed, and pigs were slaughtered for the holidays with leftovers being smoked and salted. In short, everything was low including milk and cheese. What was left wasn’t the best in quality. The coming of spring allowed people to return to a more rounded diet as well as get outdoors more often.
Spring was also a time to resume a more rigorous bathing routine. Centuries ago, with no central heating, taking a full on bath was indeed a rarity for most. Today, taking extra care to truly scour and soak to remove dead skin may be something you do year round, but perhaps a tradition of extra care in the spring wouldn’t hurt. Enjoy a nice massage with natural oils and scents of pure essential oils.
By now I’m sure you can see that the traditional spring detox is not an expensive nor complicated affair as some people make it out to be today. Also, a spring detox wasn’t a 3 day regime or a week long strict program. It was a lifestyle that endured throughout spring and changed with the greens that became available. It was a time to celebrate the rebirth of the earth after winter and enjoy a variety of foods that were unavailable during winter. It was a time to get outdoors and enjoy fresh air, exercise, and going places you couldn’t in the winter.
This is an excellent time for you to learn about wild edibles in your area from someone knowledgeable on the topic so you can enjoy this tradition. There may also be resources at you local library that will help you identify healthy plants.