As most of us are spending more time at home, we are now exploring a plethora of different recipes to cook or bake. We get to spend more time prepping, cooking and eating with our family and now can be a great time to add some specific foods to your recipes that are highly nutritious and supportive during the spring.
From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective (TCM), the Spring is a time for change, growth and upward, expansive movement. The weather is getting warmer and as we shed our jackets we may also shed some of our winter weight. Our meals should begin to get lighter and cooking time shorter. Saute, steam, poach or blanch your vegetables, but keep a little crunch to them. This helps them to maintain some moisture, which is important for nourishing our skin, organs, sinews and tendons.
Plants are growing and maturing, their life force is on view for us to see – and whats the colour that’s most prominent right now? Green!!!
SPRING is associated with our LIVER…why is this important?
The liver (from a TCM point of view):
- Supports our body’s physical movement – when liver qi flows smoothly, movement is smooth and easy.
- Supports our eyesight
- Stores blood/moves fluids & nutrients
- Regulates our emotions – quick to anger, irritability or depression often is associated with stuck/stagnant liver energy.
- Supports our digestive function – liver qi helps our spleen to transform and then transport nutrients to all parts of the body.
- Helps us plan, strategize & follow through
The liver is associated with the Wood element!
Plants in nature need vital fluid to help their woody stems grow, without it they will wilt and dry up. Think of all of your body tissues, bones and muscles like that of a stem that supports the structure of the plant. Just like the plants, we need fluids and nutrients which we get from our drink and food to help keep us hydrated, strong and nourished.
Walking within the forest and nature is also very nourishing during the spring – so get out and take a trek through one of our beautiful trails throughout the city! If you can’t get out to walk in nature then start planting nature. Work in your garden, patio or balcony – look at all of the green vegetables and herbs you can plant and enjoy right now! (green onions, herbs, lettuce, kale, dandelion leaf etc).
Enjoy this webinar I did with the Big Carrot about Foods that help support you during the Spring season! Slides are available for you with more information and lists of foods to focus on.
The liver is associated with the colour green and sour flavour!
In TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) the colour green is associated with the liver – so think about all of the amazing green vegetables we can enjoy that will support the energy and actions of our liver! Many of those green vegetables (see the list below) are full of fiber which is super important for our digestion/elimination, vitamins and phytonutrients.
Sour flavour is also associated with the liver organ and is thought to support its function of moving qi (we don’t need a lot, a little bit may be all we need). Some foods that are sour in nature include: lemon, lime, plums, olives, pomegranate, grapes, vinegar, fermented foods (sauerkraut, miso, kombucha – which supports digestion too!).
The liver organ from a medical perspective...
From a western medical perspective, our liver organ breaks down, transforms and ultimately helps us eliminate toxins through our urine and stool. Toxins may be byproducts from our food, medication/drugs, environmental, hormones, old blood cells, cholesterol etc.. There are specific foods that help support the livers detoxification phases I&II including: broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, turnip, rutabaga, bok choy, brussel sprouts, collard greens (these are from the cruciferous group – notice all of the green vegetables!). Our liver also produces bile, which is stored in the gall bladder and very important to aid in our digestion – so it is important that it is working efficiently.
How can you support your health and wellness all of the time?
- Create good SLEEP HABITS – we all know how important this is…check out these links sleep and your heart health & sleep and health
- Eat REGULARLY – our body systems love regularity to help stay regular!
- Eat for your CONSTITUTION – avoid eating too much cold, hot spicy, dry or dampening foods – this creates an imbalance that can leave us feeling cold, hot, dry or bloated.
- Eat a variety of COLOUR & FLAVOUR – enjoy red, yellow, white, orange, purple, black and especially green on your plate. Also think of adding a little bit of an assortment of flavours together in a meal (sweet, bitter, pungent, salty and sour).
- Create GOOD EATING HABITS – avoid eating infront of the tv, when stressed/emotional, working at your desk, eating late or on the run – proper digestion needs time to ‘rest and digest’.
- Everything in MODERATION – eat smaller meals more often if you are struggling with digestive issues, don’t overdo eating too much of any one kind of food or eating too much in one meal.
- EXERCISE – try to move daily and challenge the body with some good exercise drills a couple times a week.
- MEDITATION/Calm the mind – you don’t have to sit for an hour to just chill out – take a few minutes in your day to close your eyes and breathe deeply, try to relax the body and clear your thoughts.
- Keep HYDRATED – get your fluids in your drink and food.
About this author
Cindy is a registered acupuncturist and a holistic nutritionist. She works hard to inspire and educate others about the importance of living a full life and eating a clean diet while being attuned to the changes and energy of the season. To book a virtual consultation please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.