by Deirdre Imus, founder and president of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at Hackensack University Medical Center

Like a bear coming out of hibernation, we too are beginning to emerge from winter’s darkness into spring’s light. And just as a bear cautiously reintroduces his body to a nourishing environment, so we must turn to healthy activities that feed our soul and give us new life in this season of renewal.

Below are the seven steps I hope you’ll follow this spring to clean your body and your home:

1. Clean Your Body—With Foods, Of Course!
As the weather turns warmer, the delicious spring and summer bounties of fruits and vegetables will be available at your local farmer’s market or supermarket. Throw together a fresh, organic salad comprised of leeks, dandelions, purslane, sage, mint, cabbage and watercress. Another great, green salad combination includes chicory, radicchio, cucumbers and parsley. All of these leafy delights are packed with nutrients and taste and won’t weigh you down. For those chilly spring nights, consider a bean soup using dark and delicious mung beans, which are packed with antioxidants, and throw some leeks in there for good measure.

2. Drink Lots of Filtered Water
As in every other season, hydrating your body is as important in springtime as ever. Spring is the time of natural hydration for the earth (April showers, anyone?), so make sure you stay hydrated, particularly if you’re taking advantage of the nice weather with a new outdoor exercise regimen. Water helps moisturize the air in the lungs, which are particularly vulnerable to pollen and other allergy irritants this time of year.

3. Shake Up Your Makeup
Just like the foods in your fridge, the makeup in your purse has an expiration date, and using makeup that’s gone bad is bad news. Throw out those old mascaras, foundations, eyeliners, and lipsticks, and replace them with non-toxic brands that won’t potentially cause breakouts, rashes or worse. Even better, go through all your personal care products—from lotions to shampoos to perfumes—and toss anything that might be past its prime.

4. Wade Through Your Wardrobe
You know that sweater you haven’t worn in three winters, or the coat that’s been nesting in the back of your closet since 1998? Yeah, it’s time to get rid of those. But rather than throw them out, put together a bag to donate to goodwill of not just yours, but your entire family’s excess clothing. Or if you’ve been eyeing that chic cardigan your friend hasn’t worn in years, invite some pals over for a good old-fashioned clothing swap! What’s old will suddenly be new again, and you’ll have lots of fun while you’re at it.

5. Weigh-In
I step on the scale four times a year—at the beginning of fall, winter, spring, and summer. I believe if you exercise, eat well, do what you love, and have a deep sense of purpose in life, the tedium of counting calories, eating “diet” foods, and weighing yourself should be obsolete. Weight fluctuates for many reasons, often because of changes in weather, temperature, food cravings versus food availability, and activity level. Keep a journal tracking how much you weigh each season, and look for trends that might help you achieve optimum health.

6. Get Your Vitamin D3 Levels Checked
Most of us spend the winter months indoors—I know I do. If that’s the case, you’re receiving scant amounts of the very important Vitamin D3, if you’re receiving any at all. Vitamin D3 contributes to overall immune system support, bone health, eyesight and energy, and it’s even been shown to fight depression and prevent cancer. Knowing your levels is the first step to improving your overall well being. After that, talk to your healthcare professional about whether supplements might be necessary, and how much is the right amount for you to take.

7. Green Clean Your Home!
If you haven’t already done it, now is the time to rid your home of any and all toxic cleaning agents. Only use green products that disclose ingredients and are free of petroleum, synthetic fragrances and other chemicals that are known or potential carcinogens, teratogens, neurotoxicants and endocrine disruptors. Need to clean those cute spring dresses that have been in a pile on the floor since September, or get your sweaters ready for long months of storage? Make sure to use a green dry cleaner—they’ll treat your clothes using more environmentally sound methods, and expose you to fewer harsh cleaning chemicals. Once you stow your favorite winter items away, use cedar sheet, cedar-lined shelves, or cedar balls and blocks (rather than moth balls) to keep them smelling fresh and free of holes.

Whether you heed all seven of my steps, or just one or two, a commitment to better health this spring will have you feeling better come summer, fall and even next winter. So open up those windows, let the fresh air in, and get on the road to a cleaner, healthier life!

Deirdre Imus is the Founder and President of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health CenterTM at Hackensack University Medical Center and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer®. Deirdre is the author of four books, including three national bestsellers. She is a frequent speaker on green living and children’s health issues, and is a contributor to For more information go to

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