Feast Joyfully and Harmoniously On Spring’s Delights
Edible Spring Flowers
Flowers add vibrant color to salads and garnishes. It is best to use only organically grown flowers collected in the wild, away from roadsides or purchased from an organic grower. Flowers purchased from commercial green houses typically have been sprayed with chemicals and have not been grown for human consumption.
In Harmony With Spring
An early and welcome spring green, asparagus is loaded with nutrients and also contains the detoxifying compound glutathione.
In the spring the body begins a process of reawakening after the resting season of winter. As part of this process, it naturally wants to cleanse – to ‘clean house’ so to speak. The liver and gallbladder are the primary organs that make this process possible. In the words of traditional Chinese medical practitioner Dr. Henry C. Lu ,“ The liver and gallbladder form a yin – yang relationship with each other …
and they are related to each other like brother and sister” (Lu: p. 17). Transitioning from the heavy, warming foods of winter to the lighter foods of spring will assist the liver and gall bladder in this cleansing process. If the liver and gallbladder are not allowed to cleanse properly, a build up of toxins in the body may result.
The artichoke is a variety of thistle native to the Mediterranean Region. It has excellent anti-oxidant properties and has been found to aid digestion and liver function.
Spring, with its upwardly growing energy is associated with the element of Wood in traditional Chinese medicine. Foods with bitter, sour or astringent flavors are associated with this energy and considered beneficial for the liver and gall bladder.
The flowers, leaves and roots of the dandelion are edible and a rich source of Vitamins A and C . The long root of the dandelion draws minerals from deep in the soil up into the body of the plant .
Similarly, in Ayurvedic tradition, change in season is thought to effect the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Accumulated Kapha begins to break down as spring warms the earth, sometimes causing respiratory symptoms such as coughing, congestion, colds and allergies. Recommendations for balancing the Kapha dosha are foods that are pungent, bitter or astringent in flavor and additionally, light and dry.
The good news is that the natural way to assist the body in its cleansing cycle contains food choices that are delightful and invigorating.
Eat more greens! Fresh spring leafy greens such as dandelion, watercress, sorrel and arugula are delicious and detoxifying.
Use grated fresh horseradish in salads, dressings and sauces or sprinkle over cooked food. Asparagus, artichokes and all leafy greens are excellent liver cleansers.
Use orange, lemon or lime juice in cooking, as seasoning, or in salad
dressings. They are excellent for digestion and the liver.
Use less oil in cooking and eliminate fried foods. The oils most beneficial to the body are coconut, grape seed, olive, safflower, hemp, flax, sesame and sunflower.
Spring Foods List
This list includes foods generally available in the spring. Depending upon your location, some may be available earlier, later or not at all. Generally, we recommend eating foods grown locally, but foods on this list have such excellent balancing properties that we recommend them during this season even if they come from another location.
- Aduki beans
- Cannelini beans
- Fava beans
- Beet greens
- Bok choi
- Burdock root
- Collard Greens
- Mustard greens
- Snow peas
- Sorel greens
- Swiss chard
Body Balancing Tip
We recommend incorporating salads into your diet at the beginning of spring. Add more salads as the season progresses. Your body does best if given time to adjust to the inclusion of raw foods after a winter of cooked foods. Too much raw food too quickly can place an unnecessary strain on your digestive system.
Sources and Suggested References
- Anil Kumar Mehta, Naveen K. Gupta, R.N. Sharma. Health and Harmony Through Ayurveda, Jain Publishers (2002)
- Learning Ayurveda:banyanbotanicals.com
- Huang Ti Nei Ching Su Wen (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic on Internal Medicine) Ilza Veith, Translator. University of California Press, Berkeley, 2002
- Jwalan Muktika School For Illumination and Miriam Katz: Cookin’ Up Good Vibrations. Inspired Wisdom Press, 2010
- Lu, Henry C.: Chinese Natural Cures: Traditional Methods For Remedies and Preventions, Black Dog and Levanthal Publishers, New York, 1999.
- Ody, Penelope: The Chinese Medicine Bible: The Definitive Guide To Holistic Healing. Sterling Publishing, NY, 2010
- Swami Ramdev: Aushadh Darshan, (Vaidyaraj Acharya Balkrishan, Ed.) Divya Yog Mandir (Trust)Kripalu Bagh Ashram, Kankhal Haridwar – 24948