According to the Ancient Calendar Spring is the beginning of another cycle. It’s considered the first season of the year so brings with it a sense of renewal and creativity. It’s about birth, youth and inspiration and its energy is rapid and upwards.
So what does all this mean? Consider how you felt in winter. Perhaps you were a bit slower in your movements, more inwards with your and maybe even less social. Winter is considered the end of the year, the end of another cycle; like the winter of our lives.
We can see how different the seasons are by looking at what we plant and what produce is available to us in spring. It’s the season to enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables as opposed to preserved, pickled and dried foods.
These are made in the more abundant warmer months out of excess produce and prepared in such a way that they last through to the winter, when fresh produce historically wasn’t so available.
As the days get longer and warmer, we begin to feel lighter – physically and emotionally. Spring is a time when everything lightens up. The colour and weight of our clothing, our food, our heavy emotions from winter.
– The liver and gall bladder are most sensitive now, so naturally, it feels like a time to cleanse.
– It’s about getting outside and enjoying the sun, so less time will be spent inside cooking.
– Faster cooking method are recommended. So put your slow cooker away and bring out those salad bowls, the wok and steamer. Less water will be used in your cooking and a higher temperature for a shorter time. Think stir-fry instead of soup.
– Salads don’t need to be, and shouldn’t be all raw. It’s a good idea to still cook your veggies just a little, as in stir frying or at least lightly steam.
– Sour is the flavour that stimulates the liver and gall bladder. These are fruits like lemons and limes.
– The sweet flavour is also recommended now so include complex sweeteners like coconut nectar and sugar, rice syrup, real maple syrup, spelt syrup, raw agave and raw honey. The sweet flavour is also detected on out tongue when we eat complex carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nut and seeds.
– Bitter foods are also encouraged as this flavour has a great effect on your liver – rocket, rye, radicchio and chamomile.
‘Tis the season to juice, and respect the saying ‘eat your fruit and juice your veggies. Fruit really needs to stay whole, keeping the fibre in means you’re not getting only the fructose (sugar), which will go through your liver the same way alcohol does, and too much fructose creates dangerous, internal fat around your organs. Avoid fruit juices.
– It’s the weather to eat young greens and fast growing plants like salad greens, sprouts, wheat grass and barley green.
– Fruit salad and veggie juices are recommended now.
– Cabbage, broccoli and dark leafy greens like kale and rocket will be of benefit here as they promote the digestion of meat and fatty foods. (Probably a little more was enjoyed throughout winter.) Enjoy herbs like mint, basil, fennel, rosemary, dill and bay leaf.
– Swap the heavier creamy sauces and dressings for lighter ones, so use ingredients like orange juice, raw honey, mustard and perhaps some extra virgin olive or flax oil instead of mayonnaise and cream.
– Too many fats and oils to help give your liver a break.
– Heavy and salty foods like meat, cheese, sauces and more desserts.
– Icy cold foods and drinks.
– Too much salt and salty foods.
Times have changed and we can get just about anything we want whenever we want it. This comes at a huge cost to our health, environment, our farmers, and economy. By eating foods in season, you are giving your body what it wants so keeping it healthy on every level as well as having the ripple effect of reducing flight miles thus pollution, and keeping our farmers farming.
Detox For Spring:
Detox can be a dirty word, but not when it’s about introducing lovely foods when ditching the lacklustre ones. Here is your spring guide to detoxing – without going on a diet!
Some detox plans are extremely light on, consisting of liquids and little else. But cleaning up your internal health by literally clearing out your entire pantry is not the answer, says Janella Purcell, herbalist, naturopath and Lifestream Wholefoods ambassador.
If your heart, body, soul and potential swimsuit choice is driving you towards a detox, don’t go crazy and take too much out of your diet at once, she says. Removing dairy, sugar, gluten, alcohol, meat and processed foods in quick succession is just asking for trouble.
“But just like our car, our bodies need a service from time to time,” Janella concedes. “Spring is the perfect time to do this as it’s the season when our liver is the most sensitive.”
Just ensure you do it gradually, by removing one inflammatory food, substance, or bad habit at a time. Replace them by adding beneficial foods to your diet, combined with new fitness goals.
What To Eliminate:
The first foods to give the flick are processed ones. White bread and white sugar are a no brainer because carbohydrates are broken down into sugar before being stored as fat. Too much coffee, conventionally produced red meat, pork and chicken, and cow’s dairy is also worth cutting out, says Janella. Reducing or eliminating alcohol is also a priority because high consumption can cause stress on the liver and add unwanted calories.
What To Add:
Introduce your meals to Turmeric, aloe vera, garlic and the cruciferous family of veggies, says Janella. “Kale, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and kohlrabi,” are also top of her list. Five serves of fresh vegetables a day is important – and best served raw – as these are the best source of enzymes that break down food in the gut and help its function. But if you can’t stomach spinach, go with a smoothie, Janella suggests. Chlorella is an excellent supplement to increase energy levels and boost internal health. Spirulina – which is high in chlorophyll can also work wonders towards balancing the alkaline levels in your system and enabling extra vitamins and minerals to sneak their way into your diet without you even noticing.