When seasons change in Colorado, it is very noticeable, especially the passage from Winter to Spring. Everything that was once blanketed in white snow, decayed and frozen in time, is now thawing out and turning to vibrant green. In a similar fashion, our bodies are also coming out of hibernation. We are craving fresh foods and long for time spent in the sun, socializing and recreating outdoors. To nourish ourselves during this important transformation, consider these five supportive tips-
CARE FOR YOUR LIVER
During the colder winter months, we consume more calories and eat denser foods. As spring comes, our liver is ready for lighter fare, like fresh fruits and dark green vegetables. One of the first plants to come up this time of year is Taraxacum [Dandelion]. This humble yard weed holds within it a powerhouse of nutrients, especially helpful for gently detoxing a sluggish liver. Try consuming the leaves in soups, salads and smoothies and be sure to try this delicious pesto recipe over pasta –
Place two cups dandelion leaves, 5 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/3-2/3 cups of parmesan cheese and 1/3 cup toasted walnuts, almonds or pine nuts into a food processor and blend until a paste forms.
RELEASE THE PAST
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the liver stores emotions related to anger and resentment. Therefore, stagnation can be either physical, emotional or often times, both. Is there a memory or person from your past that continues to cause you suffering? Do you struggle with regrets? Are you quick to anger? In addition to cleansing this organ with nutritious foods and herbs, consider how you might release and tend to these emotional states of being within yourself. This might come in the form of journaling, counseling or other forms of support from your friends and loved ones. Flower essences like Holly and Dandelion can also be helpful and mindfulness and meditation are extremely powerful. Try this guided one from Headspace –
There is something about the spring that just makes you want to clean! In addition to getting rid of the dust and mildew that may have collected over winter, organizing our home space can have a profound impact on our mental health, including increasing our motivation to start or stay involved in self care activities.
For many of us, winter is a time of decreased physical activity, simply because it is too darn cold to do much else. This means that, come spring, our bodies are literally aching to move. We have all heard the about the benefits of exercise for physical fitness but it is also important to note that it is THE secret ingredient for mental health. And it also greatly improves the detoxification process! Try this simple and gentle yoga practice to stretch and awaken the body for spring –
The foods we eat have a powerful impact on how we feel. The reason we gravitate towards warmer, denser foods in the winter is because they make us feel cozy, satiated and grounded. When spring comes, we crave things that make us feel lighter and more energetic. For this, there is nothing better than vegetable greens! Luckily for us, they all come out to shine as soon as the snow starts to melt. Green foods help the liver to detox and they greatly improve immunity, digestion, cognition and cardiovascular health. Greens also help promote clear, vibrant, glowing skin. Try this delicious salad recipe to reap these benefits and kick off the season –
To a large bowl, add three to four handfuls of spring greens (this could be Arugula, Bib Lettuce, Red Leaf, Water Cress, Spinach, Dandelion leaves or Tatsoi), 1/2 honey-crisp apple cut into chunks, 1 green onion chopped, 1 handful broccoli sprouts, 1/2 cup green peas and 1/2 cup mixed herbs lightly chopped (this could be Dill, Mint, Cilantro, Parsley or Basil). Add a pinch of salt and pepper, a drizzle of high quality olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon and a teaspoon or so of white wine vinegar. Voila!