Improving your health is an important part of any spiritual path. This can be done through exercise, qigong, and meditation. Another way to improve your health is through diet. By eating mindfully and by making minor changes to what you eat, you can use food to bring your body into balance with the world around you. By eating with the seasons, you remain in harmony with your environment, adapt better to the changing seasons, and prevent illness.
Spring is a time for rebirth and growth. It is a time to get up and go after the long cold winter. As the weather gets warmer, the Yang energy in the world increases. Plants begin to grow and sprout. Humans experience the same energetic changes that plants do. Our bodies loosen up, and it is time to be more active. Spring is the perfect time to nourish our Yang energy. We do this by eating foods that are warm, ascending (grow upward).
Chinese medicine uses five elements (metal, fire, water, wood, and earth) to describe the flow of Qi and interplay of Yin and Yang. Each one of the five elements corresponds to a season and a pair of organs in the body. The spring season corresponds to the “wood” element, and the liver and gallbladder. The liver is considered the “little general” of body directing the proper movement of Qi energy. Foods with a sour taste have a detoxifying effect on the liver.
Eating for the Spring
Eat Less –Heavy foods that cause sluggishness in the liver like dairy, nut butters, and fried foods.
Eat More –Green shoots and buds like wheat grass, spirulina, parsley, kale, swiss chard, and collard greens. Help your liver detoxify by adding lemon to your drinking water or use vinegar and olive oil as salad dressing. Other sour foods that can be used for detoxification purposes include rye, romaine lettuce, asparagus, amaranth, and quinoa.
Cooking methods also vary by season. As the weather becomes warmer, we no longer have the need to store fat to stay warm. People begin cooking and eating lighter meals. In Winter we would tend to bake our food to warm ourselves, but in the Spring steaming and stir-frying is more appropriate.
A Simple Spring Tea
Honey mint green tea is perfect for the spring because it is gently warming and encourages your Qi energy upwards.
4 Cups Water
1 hand full fresh mint
2 Tbs loose leaf green tea (or 3 tea bags)
Honey to taste
Bring the water to boil in a saucepan.
Pour over the tea and mint.
Steep for 5-10 minutes.
Add honey to taste
Why not drink your tea outside? You are a part of nature and spring is the time to be out to celebrate the new life growing all around you. Enjoy the joyous Spring energy!