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My car has close to 140,000 hard-earned miles on it and while I have no desire to compare myself to my older-model, off-road, 4-wheel drive, stick-shift Nissan Pathfinder, there’s something to think about here.

First off, about my car β€” it’s an SUV. A truck pretending to be a car. I need something substantial to haul around my skis, boots, snowshoes, camping gear, yoga mat, and Fairbanks, my 125 pound puppy. Okay, so it’s an evil SUV. But I want a vehicle that will take me off road, through deep snow, and safely around the high country. This is the one for me. I love it and even though it’s almost 10 years old I want to keep it running smoothly for another 100,000 miles or so.

Can I do that?

I hope so, but for that to happen I need to take care of it now to avoid problems and expensive repairs later. Most people change their car’s engine oil regularly and periodically change the transmission fluid and the differential oils. And what about the brakes, steering, suspension, tires, timing belts, and CV joints? My service guy takes care of that stuff and always mentions how important is to keep the fluids clean and topped off. In this case, I do what I’m told (not one of my strong points). My nice little SUV is taking good care of me because I take good care of it.

How many of you take good care of your car? Or at least run it over to Jiffy Lube every 3,000 miles to flush things out and change the oil?

By now you probably know where I’m going with this, don’t you?

Yikes! Most people take better care of their cars than they do themselves.

We need to pay attention to our own internal fluids, joints, batteries and spark plugs.

I’m starting my spring cleanse today, which is my version of a tune-up to flush things out and start fresh with the seasonal change.

Here’s a basic guide to what my idea of a cleanse is. There are lots of different versions and I’ve tried many over the years, but a simple healthy-eating detox is what works best for me. I’m not into deprivation. I’m into re-evaluating my food choices, lightening my toxic load, losing a couple of pounds, and tuning up my engine. I like to transition into spring and summer with renewed energy and a reminder that I need to take my health seriously. Springtime is the equivalent of that little sticker the service guy (or girl) puts on the inside left corner of your car’s windshield reminding you to come back for an oil change and service check in another 3,000 miles.

If you’re interesting in a cleansing program for yourself, I suggest you contact a qualified health-care professional to guide you through the process. There can be some unpleasant pitfalls if you don’t do this in a healthy and balanced way.

Spring cleanse/detox
Spring is the season of awakening, time to crawl out from under the weight of winter. It’s a perfect time to move away from heavy foods to lighter fare. My form of detoxing is to avoid poor food (and lifestyle) choices and improve the quality of what I eat. Get rid of bad habits before they become permanent lifestyle behaviors. It’s an ongoing process.

My online dictionary describes detoxification as, the metabolic process of removing toxic substances or neutralizing toxic properties from the body (normally a function of the liver); an application that is intended to relieve illness or injury. That’s perfect, and just what I need right now. That and to fit into my favorite jeans without a 5 minute struggle followed by 20 deep knee bends.

Liver love
This overworked and under-appreciated organ deserves to have a whole post written in its honor. Don’t panic, I’ll spare you and stick to the abridged version. But trust me, you need to take good care of your liver as you wouldn’t last a day without its valiant efforts. It’s your hazardous materials crew, your recycling team, your overall best friend. It performs hundreds of specific functions including filtering the blood and ridding the body of harmful toxins, bacteria, viruses, pesticides, too much alcohol, pollution, pharmaceuticals, contaminated food, heavy metals and other icky and disgusting things that somehow end up inside of us. Giving it a break to rest, regroup and regenerate is a very good idea.

That’s it for now, but I’ll periodically post about my cleansing experience with tips and recipes from my 3,000 mile tune-up.

And, keeping with the car analogy β€” remember, your body is a temple, not an old clunker. Take good care of it.


Wear your seatbelt!

12 Responses to “tune-up time”

  1. CeliacChick says:

    You are such a good teacher with all of these fun illustrations!
    I’ve been drinking dandelion root tea for my liver…it works! purged my skin big time and now it is sooo clear. I actually like the taste of it too…with a little almond milk and honey. MMmmmm.
    I’ve also been drinking (in the AM)licorice tea. I guess you are only supposed to drink it for about a month. It supposedly supports the adrenals.
    Reflexology massages too every other week. Interesting how my pituitary,liver,thyroid are all sore in the foot area.
    Looking fwd to your cleanse info.

  2. Melissa says:


    Thanks, I appreciate your comments. Sounds like you’re on the right track with all this! Isn’t it amazing how clear your skin can be with the right nutrition? And your eyes too. I really notice it in my eyes. I’m not sure how interesting all this cleanse info is going to be and I think I’ll mix in some regular posts so I don’t totally bore people, but I think it’s so important to do some version of detoxing in the spring and fall. It makes you aware of what you’re eating and how it impacts your energy and well-being.

    Stay tuned…


  3. Cid says:


    A cleanse of sorts is something we should all consider. I personally haven’t been sleeping at all well for several weeks which is starting to take it’s toll. Hopefully now I’ll get back to a decent sleep pattern as the stress calms down. I’ve just started a new job and like anything new, it takes time to adjust. The only trouble with cleansing at Easter time is the abundance of chocolate and simnel cake on offer. I intend to be reasonable but a few more pounds lost won’t do me any harm. Exercise and walking Fairbanks must keep you fit Melissa…. I must try to get into a routine of using my lateral trainer and do more walking. Now I’ve admitted it here, I’ll have to stick to it and let you know how I get on.


  4. greedydave says:


    Lovely post! You’ve mentioned your Spring Cleanse a couple of times now and I’m looking forward to hearing some finer details. I am so glad that you make a point of saying that it’s not about deprivation. Dieting and diet are worlds apart in my book. Hey, I didn’t choose this screen name at random! πŸ™‚

    I may not be the sort of character who would be capable of an entire regime change but I do like to take on board little tips, such as Kelly’s dandelion root tea and your assorted flours.

    And I do love your car analogy, especially as racing cars are fuelled with alcohol. πŸ™‚ (Okay, okay, so racing cars quite often crash!)


    PS. Cid, I’m not a great lover of marzipan so if you could use crystallised primroses to represent the 11 disciples on your Simnel Cake that would be great!

  5. Melissa says:

    You are SO right, Cid. About both cleansing and sleeping. Sleep is key to good health and in fact, I think it’s so important that I’m going to do a post specifically on sleep. That’s also something I have to work on constantly — getting enough sleep.

    I don’t know what simnel cake is, so I’ll have to do my research. I always (ALWAYS) learn a new word when you’re around.


    I’m curious about your new job and why it’s so stressful. Things are difficult right now. I share in your stress.

  6. Melissa says:


    Thank you for your comments. They are always entertaining and never fail to bring a smile to my face. You inject some much needed “humor therapy” into your comments.

    No, I’m not about starving myself at all. Or deprivation for that matter. There are a few things I’m missing, but it’s only been a few days and I already feel more energy. It’s amazing how beneficial doing a periodic “service check” on yourself can be.

    And I love your racing car analogy!

  7. I believe in cleansing/detoxing. I usually have a rough couple of days when I start (which shows how much I need to do it–I always detox poorly), but then am amazed by my energy levels, better sleep, etc. I have been RE-surprised (a made up word) at how eliminating dairy has helped me so much. To prove the point, I ate some ice cream last week just to see … instant ill effects. I also did a yeast cleanse kit (yeast balance) at the start of my transiton to dairy-free and sugar free (already gluten free, of course), and it also made me wonderful. “Real” unprocessed food is free of these things, so it makes sense that our bodies do better with them.

    The dandelion root tea that Kelly shared is very interesting. I’ll ask my doctor about that and the licorice tea, too, as I am doing adrenal support stuff now. (Must send you that email, Melissa.)

    Car analogy is great. Hmmm, I’ve been using synthetic oil in my car the last several years per my mechanic’s recommendations. Is that like feeding my car processed food? He swears it’s easier on the engine. I like it because you don’t have to change the oil as often. Sometimes you just change the filter. It’s all on a strict schedule, but different from traditional oil. Many people had those Pintos back in college. We all made fun of them, even without knowing how bad they were. LOL


  8. Melissa says:


    If you have GI tract issues such as celiac disease, your liver has been overworked dealing with antigens and malabsorption issues. So, yes, detoxing can be more difficult. I have some of the same problems, which makes it all the more important to give your liver (the detox workhorse) a break from time to time. Doing a cleanse also helps you move towards better lifestyle choices.

    Cute comment about the synthetic oil!

    Good to have your input, Shirley. It’s always helpful. Thanks!

  9. Laura says:

    Hi Melissa,

    I love your blog! You always post the most gorgeous photos of mountains and sky just when Chicago is at its grayest and muckiest and I need that visual relief the most.

    I have been talking a lot about liver cleanses with a friend of mine here who is studying to be a nutritionist. She recommended trying milk thistle tea. Here I see someone mentioned dandelion root. I don’t mean to be pushy by making requests, but could you do a post on liver cleanses when you have the time, please?

    I did a juice fast for two days last weekend, and it was good, but I feel like now I need to just be on a steady, regular eating schedule (albeit lighter and fresher to adjust for spring).

    Thanks for keeping up your fantastic blog!

  10. Melissa says:


    Thanks so much for the kind comments, I appreciate it. It’s SO important to keep your liver supported as it works hard to clean out all the junk that ends up in our bodies. Everything we eat, drink, breathe, and put on our skin has to be dealt with in one way or another — and the liver is the organ doing a lot of the “heavy lifting.” I’ll do a post on the basics of detox herbs, but as far as a serious liver cleanse I don’t want to get into that in a blog post. That should be done with supervision. BUT, everything I’m suggesting with this particular cleanse is designed to support liver function, so this is a good place to start (with support from your health care practitioner). I will, however, do a post on specific herbs for detox as that will give you more information. Good idea, Laura.


  11. Tevis says:

    Hi Mom!

    Thanks for reminding me to do my spring detox. I’ve actually been meaning to do one for a while, but forgot until reading this. Maybe we could make one up for me sometime in the next month? I could REALLY use one right now.

    Also, there will be a day when I get you to give up your “evil SUV!” Maybe we just need to get you a dutch cargo bike with off terrain treads on it! I could totally see the bankster chillin’ in one of these!

    Much love,

  12. Melissa says:

    Hey Tev — you know where to find me if you want a customized cleanse just for you.


    And, sorry but I’m never giving up my car! Never!

    I LOVE that Bakfiets model. But do you think Fairbanks would fit in that bucket seat thing? Not to mention the fact that I wouldn’t be able to peddle the bike if he were along for a ride. Geez…


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