Nourishing Your Body Throughout the Seasons
Spring is just around the corner. This is a time of growth. As snow melts and spring rains fall, bitter greens, roots and sprouts abound. The foods of spring are low-fat and low-calorie, quite different from winter foods that are high in protein. By eating seasonally, we rotate our foods from one growing season to the next. This allows us to create variety, and in turn, a more nutrient dense meal plan. According to John Douilard, DC, eating the same foods all year round leaves out two-thirds of what our body requires or what he calls our Recommended Annual Allowance. This imbalance will manifest as cravings for foods grown in that season. We balance our intake of protein, carbohydrates, fats and sugars by eating with the seasons.
Spring is known as nature’s New Year. As the moisture of spring softens and opens the ground for seeds to germinate and plants to grow, it also opens and softens the tissues of your body. Your body holds onto more water during the spring season. This excess in fluid along with increased activity help to flush out toxins. Combined with the low-fat harvest of spring, fat metabolism increases. Spring is the perfect time for detoxification and cleansing.
With an increase in moisture in the spring season, the moisture in your body may become excessive if you continue to eat heavy winter foods. This may present itself as spring allergies, runny nose, runny eyes and increase in mucus. The good news—spring provides a natural antidote to these moisture conditions. Cold vegetables, bitter greens, pungent (spicy) and astringent foods like peas, leafy greens and root vegetables, will cleanse and detoxify. Echinacea, dandelion, golden seal, burdock root and Oregon grape all provide medicinal benefits during this wet season. Chlorophyll, the pigment that gives plants their green color is a potent internal cleanser. Mix a tablespoon in a glass of water and drink before breakfast. It works as a deodorizer and will freshen breath.
As the season of winter slowly fades, giving way to warmer days, so too should your shift in food. Introduce changes slowly and begin by decreasing the amount of oils, red meats, nuts and sweets. Introduce more bitter, astringent greens and move toward lighter, spicy foods. Dairy is best avoided in the spring—substitute with rice or hemp milk. Cherries, berries and dried fruit such as raisins, prunes and mulberries are readily available. Heavy and sour fruits like oranges, bananas, pineapples, figs, dates, avocado, coconuts and melons should be avoided as they increase heaviness and moisture. White meat is encouraged and all beans are beneficial during this season. Grains should be limited to barley, buckwheat, corn, rye and millet. Wheat and rice should be avoided; they increase the qualities of spring.
Eating seasonally will help you connect with your body, live in the present and gain an understanding of each season’s impact on your health.
Melissa Windsor, DC, is a chiropractor and nutrition and lifestyle coach at Restorative Health in NW Washington.
For more information, visit RestorativeHealth.org.