Living with the seasons (Spring)
The spring is a time of renewal, upward and expansive movement of creativity, planning a future, vision and perspective, harmonize ourselves with the movement of the prevailing season. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Liver and Gallbladder correspond to the spring and are charged of the smooth flow of energy throughout the body, storing and detoxifying the blood.
Our activities should be geared towards creativity, determination and the expression of our feelings, emotional and spiritual intelligence. Much in same way that many of us engage in an annual spring cleaning of our external environment, our bodies do the very same thing within our internal environment, physically and emotionally.
This is the perfect time of the year to let go of stimulants such as coffee, sugar, alcohol, tobacco, recreational drugs, as the expansive, stimulating movement of the spring gives us that boost naturally. We can take advantage of this natural boost of energy to begin to exercise moderately on a daily basis. Sweating our toxins, stimulating serotonin and dopamine in the brain, and revitalizing our energetic, blood and lymphatic circulation. ☺
The color of spring is green and the taste is sour
The color associated with spring is green and the taste is sour. We can balance the fast movement and growth during this time of year by introducing fresh, seasonal, locally grown vegetable into our diets as they start to make an appearance. The green veggies go directly to the Liver and Gallbladder organs, which are also associated with spring, aiding in cleansing and clarifying the system. Sour foods like lemons and apple cider vinegar are also beneficial during this time of year as they move bile, which is one of the functions of the Gallbladder.
Springtime is the best time to start integrating the following changes, especially if you are a seasonal allergy sufferer:
Like the green shoots and buds of the plants and trees, spring is associated with the color green! Consume foods that are rich in chlorophyll (including cereal grasses like wheat or barley grass juice, micro algae like spirulina, blue-green, and chlorella, parsley, kale, swiss chard, and collard greens) in order to accelerate liver rejuvenation.
Cook vegetables for a shorter time but at a higher temperature. This way, the food (especially the interior) is cooked slightly ‘al dente’. Think lightly steaming or minimal simmering. A quick, high-temp saute method is also recommended.
Upon awakening, before that first cup of tea or coffee, drink warm water with a squeezed lemon to detoxify the liver and gallbladder. Or try 1 teaspoon each of apple cider vinegar and raw honey in one cup of water. Mint tea throughout the day is another excellent remedy for soothing liver qi (energy). I recommend this in especially if you are experiencing irritability, frustration, or notice frequent sighing.
Avoid heavy foods which can exacerbate sluggishness in the liver. These include dairy, fried foods, poorly sourced meats and large quantities of nuts (including nut butters).
Make sure to increase moderately pungent foods like green onions, garlic, ginger, watercress, mustard greens, turmeric, basil, cardamom, marjoram, cumin, and fennel in your diet. These help to ease the transition into spring when erratic changes in weather make us susceptible to colds, flus, allergies and acute illness. These foods also have a powerful immune boosting property.
Eat more raw foods, sprouted grains and seeds. According to TCM, we should also be consuming root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips and radish.
Increase foods with a slightly bitter quality as these can help your deal with problematic heat and inflammation in the liver. Rye, romaine lettuce, asparagus, amaranth, quinoa, radish leaves, citrus peel, dandelion, chamomile, milk thistle seeds, and Oregon grape root all have liver cleansing capabilities. Include these in your diet on a regular basis if you are prone to springtime allergies characterized by itchy, red eyes, post nasal drip and/or sneezing. These foods will also benefit red, swollen joints.
Living in accordance with the shift of the seasons can benefit your health in many ways. ☺