Traditional Chinese medicine says aligning your diet with the seasons is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Mother Nature provides exactly what we need to be healthy. Paying attention to the fruits, vegetables and herbs that grow during different seasons in the region where you live is a great way to incorporate the philosophies of traditional Chinese medicine into your own life and access greater healing.
In the spring, TCM suggests eating cooling foods to balance out the effect of warmer temperatures outside.
TCM also suggests taking the time to be mindful about the environment and energy around you when you eat. If you are stressed out or rushing when you eat, that will affect how your body is able to process the nutrients you’re consuming. Breathe deeply, chew well and take the time to digest your food.
For more spring in your step, here are four specific foods that can support your health and wellbeing this spring.
Lemon: In traditional Chinese medicine, the organ associated with spring is the liver and the flavor associated with the liver is sour. Sour foods, like lemons, help flush toxins from the liver. Adding fresh lemon to a cup of warm water each morning is a great, simple, practice that will do wonders for your liver.
Greens: Fresh leafy greens are most plentiful during the spring, and eating them is associated with cleansing and building. The bright green color of leaves comes from chlorophyll, which is a wonderful healing agent. Any greens, but especially those darker in color, like spinach or wild greens such as dandelion greens, are very beneficial.
Asparagus: Asparagus is a finicky plant with a short growing season: spring. Make a point to catch this plant powerhouse. Asparagus is full of vitamins A, C and K as well as folate and fiber. According to TCM, asparagus builds the nourishing fluids in the body, meaning it soothes irritation and helps fertility. It also promotes healthy lungs, clearing congestion and conditions like bronchitis.
Fruits and vegetables: In general, spring is the time of year when more fruits and vegetables become available locally. Peruse your local farmer’s market or take note of any produce in the grocery store that’s labeled “local.” Incorporate these items into your diet in abundance!
Try incorporating these foods and cleansing principles with this delicious spring salad!
Asparagus, snap pea and quinoa salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup fresh snap peas, strings removed and cut into small diagonals
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into small diagonals
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Fresh mixed greens
- Sliced avocado
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Boil two cups of water in a small pan. Add the quinoa and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.
Bring another pot of water to a boil and add the asparagus. Cook the asparagus in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes until just tender. Quickly drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
In a large bowl, mix the quinoa, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the garlic and cilantro. Then, mix in the snap peas, asparagus and chickpeas. Serve over the mixed greens and top with sliced avocado.