The earth laughs in flowers. E.E. Cummings
As I sit here and write this, I am in the middle of an Ayurvedic Cleanse. So food is on my mind. But it always is.
During the cleanse, we eat a mono-diet of a meal called Kitchari for a week. It is too involved to explain in this post, but it is done at the change of season for a gentle detox that ignites our digestive fire (agni), reduces our kapha (the Earth element that is prevalent now), decreases our inflammation, purges our ama (physical and mential toxic build-up), and calms our minds. One of my favorite parts of the change of season is the new arrival of seasonal goodies to enjoy. And I can't wait to add some of these treasures next week.
Spring is the season of birth, renewal, & hope.
Our bodies are reawakening after the long winter months. It is a time to spring clean your home and your life, and this includes what goes on your plate. I always notice a surge in energy, burst in creativity, and rush of excitement as the season begins. This is the perfect time to honor our newfound energy and choose food that revere the springtime.
Simple, nourishing, & lighter meals are what I crave now.
Greens, glorious greens, are in abundance right now. Springtime is awash with all the green vibrance - and is the perfect time to begin to add more raw and lightly steamed greens to your plate. Bok choy, dandelion, asparaus, arugula, spinach, fiddlehead, artichokes, and sprouts are ideal food for this time of year. As our bodies need more pungent (spicy), bitter, and astringent foods to balance the damp and cool climate the spring is known for. In Ayurveda, eating seasonally is of prime importance when I help clients choose appropriate foods for their constitution (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha - the combination of the 5 elements - air, space, fire, water, and earth that we are all made of in varying degrees).
Many of the green food are also known to be cleansing and healing, especially to our livers and gallbladder. Even if you eat consistently well and don't choose to partake in a cleanse, it is a good idea to add more of these to your diet in the spring. Salads, smoothies, and buddha bowls are great places to start. I also like to add more freshly juiced drinks to my diet now. This is the time that our bodies can begin to handle cooler drinks (but it is still benefical to drink warm water to help flush our systems).
I think of these foods as spring abundance.
GREENS | There are lots of lovely greens and many ways to incorporate them into your life. Check out the recipe below. It is delicious. They are also alkalizing and rich in chlorophyll. I just love my greens. There isn't a nutrition expert in the world who would ever say eat less greens. Most of us don't eat enough!
SEEDS | Chia, flax, hemp, sesame, and sunflower are great additions yearly, but especially in the spring. Seeds are new life, and the spring is bursting with new life.
FRESH HERBS & MICROGREENS | Yes - herbs are available year round, but they are more available now. This is the time to use the ones you've planted instead of from the store. Cilantro, for one, has been said to reduce heavy metals in the body. Herbs are nutritional powerhouses that add flavor and beauty to a dish.
POWER GREENS | Chlorella, spirulina, and wheatgrass are nice additions to help add chlorophyll and help flush toxins. I add these to smoothies.
RHUBARB & STRAWBERRIES | Rhubarb shows up first - and then in early June is when we see the first seasonal fruits of the season here in New England. Full of vitamins B and K, fiber and rich in antioxidants - and together make an amazing cobbler or crisp.
MILK THISTLE | Tea or tincture, and is excellent for regenerating the liver.
NETTLES & DANDELION herbs | Fresh nettles although known to sting are super nutritious. The list of benefits are endless. It can be added to a salad or made into pesto. Dandelions are considered a bitter - and are very cleansing not only our liver, but own blood and kidneys too. Both of these are also available in tea form. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, these are some remedies to try. I suggest to clients with severe sesonal allergies to drink nettle infusions (1 gram of dried nettles/quart mason jar). If you are curious about this, message me. But you also goggle how to make a nettles infusion, there are lots of resources on-line. I order mine here.
RAW LOCAL HONEY | It may be an old wive's tale, but I know people who have found relief from seasonal allergies using local honey. Honey has some amazing properties - from antibacterial to digestive to immune support. It is my sweetener of choice for tea and dressings.
As we fill our body with the goodness of the season, our bodies, minds and spirits will feel lighter, more energized, and mentally clear, and joyful as a result of all that our beautiful earth provides for us.
SPRING GREENS with APRICOT VINAIGRETTE
- 6 cups of spring baby bok choy, spinach or other spring green of choice
- handful of colorful microgreens
- hemp seeds
- 1 garlic, minced
- 1 small shallot, minced
- Juice of 2 meyer's lemons
- 1/4 cup of apricot juice
- 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 1 tablepoon of mustard
- 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
- pinch of himalayan salt
Tear greens into bite size piece and add to large bowl. Whisk dressing and pour over greens until lightly coated. Add avocado, micro greens, and seeds as desired.
Recipe adapted from Clean Food , by Terry Walters.