Spring Eats

by in Acupuncture May 4, 2010

Spring is a yang time, when energy is rising.  The movement of energy in your body is the same.  By choosing foods that reflect that movement, you will make life more fluid and lively for yourself.  In Chinese Medicine, the Spring is also associated with the liver and gallbladder, so it’s no coincidence that this is the time our bodies want to shed the heaviness of winter by keeping the diet light and simple.

Food is medicine.  One of the best ways to manage your own health and wellbeing is by being aware of the foods you choose to eat, and attuning your diet to the seasons.  I can’t underscore the importance of eating fresh vegetables in the Spring!  The youthfulness of Spring makes it a great time for eating green sprouts, and making “green smoothies” from leafy greens, cucumbers, and/or wheatgrass.

A variety of pungent herbs are recommended in the the Classics of Chinese Medicine for their sweet, expansive qualities attuned to the Spring.  These include: basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill, and bayleaf.  The complex carbohydrates: grains, legumes, and seeds are also highly beneficial.  A daily serving of sweet veggies can be particularly refreshing in the springtime.  Try making a grated beet, yellow carrot, and quinoa salad, topped with walnuts and a sprinkling of goat cheese.  There is plenty of room to be creative with making salads!  Adding an element like freshly squeezed lime juice, dried cranberries,  or avocado will keep it interesting & delicious.

It should be noted though, that the amount of raw vs. cooked vegetable varies from person to person, and it is best to consult your acupuncturist in regards to how much raw foods are best for you to eat.  Very generally, if your constitution is more frail, and you tends towards feeling cold, it is best to consume more cooked vegetables and warmer foods.

Basic foods to avoid for Spring cleansing include heavy, greasy, or oily foods as they stress the liver and gallbladder & highly salty foods due to their sinking, yin energetic (yin is associated with the fall and winter.)

Most importantly, watch how your body feels during and after you eat.  The best assimilation of nutrients occurs when you make the time to eat at a relaxed pace, in a calm environment, and with an awareness and gratitude for the incredible blessing of food!  Think of it like this: if you are in a noisy, hectic environment or, say, reading your email while you eat, you are also digesting not only your food but all of those experiences.  Notice how you feel when eating in this fast-paced environment, and then experiment eating with full attention, present to the sensory experience of flavors and textures.  Observe how your stomach feels, or how your breathing might change.

Wishing you Peace & Vitality,
Mary Fatimah

References: Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford

Notice: Because individual health and medical needs and responses vary greatly from person to person, you should always consult your healthcare provider before making any major dietary changes.  This blog is not intended as a replacement for services of a qualified physician or licensed healthcare provider.

MaryFatimah Weening, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.
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About MaryFatimah Weening, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.
MaryFatimah has practiced acupuncture for over 10 years, and is licensed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine, and nationally board-certified by the NCCAOM. She holds a B.A. from Smith College, and a Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from Maryland University of Integrative Health.