After what seemed like a very long cool, and wet winter here in Southern California, spring has officially sprung! In Oriental Medicine, Spring is the time of the wood element and emphasizes new growth. Just as the earth nourishes dormant seeds and springs forth new life this time of year, spring is the perfect time to take advantage of spring’s activating energy by getting outside to enjoy the warmer, longer, and brighter days. Eating in harmony with the season will ensure that your body can regenerate and bloom this spring.
- Spring Cleaning: It isn’t necessary to fast in order to cleanse your body, but you’ll probably want to change some foods to tune to the season. A spring diet should emphasize green veggies, light vegetable soups and other foods that have a cleansing effect. These are foods that can lighten the load for the nervous system, also known as the Liver channel in Oriental Medicine. A lighter diet will also provide the nourishment and support our bodies need as our energy bursts forth during the spring season.
- Go Green: Start your body’s spring cleanse by adding more greens – especially dark leafy greens such as bok choy, kale, chard, spinach and collards. Young, leafy greens such as baby lettuces or dandelion leaves and seasonal veggies such as asparagus and peas are ideal for a spring time diet too.
- Lighten Up: Decreasing heavy meat and carbohydrate consumption and cutting back on heavy sauces is seasonally appropriate. You may even find you’re craving these foods less change of season, so instead of beef stew and a hunk of bread, have a mixed green salad with seared fish. Though a good idea any time of year, try bread products made with sprouted grains as a good alternative to regular white flour foods.
- Raw-some: While a 100% raw diet is not for everyone, spring time is an appropriate time for most people to incorporate more raw fruits and veggies. Not only will these foods feel less dense, but, the enzyme and mineral content in raw produce will give your body a wellness boost.
- Naturally sweet: Though Easter may be a time for chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, try to soothe your sweet tooth with seasonal fruit. In southern California citrus, kiwis, and strawberries are ripe and delicious in the spring.
- Drink Yourself Clean: Refreshing teas are another great addition to a spring cleansing diet, including green tea, tea with mint, chrysanthemum tea and natural “detox” or “cleansing” teas. You can sip these teas cold instead of hot for a cooling effect. Try adding a pinch of sea salt and some sliced lemon and orange to your water for extra refreshing, and extra hydrating mineral water.
- Finishing touches: Add some cleansing, cooling, and refreshing herbs and spices to your favorite light meals, including green onions, dill, cilantro, oregano, green garlic, and fennel.