If there is one thing you can do this Spring for your health and wellbeing, it is to eat seasonally. One of the things I talk about a lot is the importance of moving with the seasons; in terms of what we eat and drink, what time we get up, even in terms of colours we wear.
In ancient times, without access to apps, supermarkets and convenience food, everything we ate would have been seasonal, ensuring that immune systems remained healthy and strong; but in our busy, 24/7 lives this is no longer always possible.
Not to worry, there are simple changes you can make to your diet with the seasons to optimise your health. Chinese Medicine supports the notion that we should live in harmony with nature and the changing seasons as much as possible. So after a winter of building and consolidating energy, we arrive in Spring ready for growth and momentum.
Spring In Chinese Medicine
The Spring season is all about the Liver’s energy. The Liver controls the amount of blood you have circulating around your body – which supports a harmonious, unrestricted flow of Qi throughout the system. The mighty Liver also acts as the planner for all the functions of the body and when healthy it regulates sleeping rhythms, ensures proper vision and allows the emotions to be in harmony.
In Chinese wisdom, you can support your liver by eating certain foods, ingredients and flavours. The Liver resonates with sour flavours, which strengthen it, and pungent, which disperse it.
What To Eat In Spring
Spring, reflecting the changes in nature, requires lighter, vibrant, and fresh flavours. Coming out of winter, we don’t want to have anything lingering in our bodies, particularly any cold or pathogenic bacteria. It’s really good to expel coldness at this time of year, so you want to eat pungent foods like garlic, onion, ginger, coriander and radishes.
Spring is the optimal time to start anew and ‘spring clean’ the body, so we want to be eating green foods more than normal. The colour green and the direction of outward growth are associated with the liver, so add plenty of seasonal green vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, pak choi, asparagus and celery into your diet.
Spring onion is a really good food to eat at this time of year, as it’s an astringent flavour, which is good for strengthening and boosting your liver. It ticks every box as it’s both sour and pungent! Spring is all about boosting our yang energy, so bring the dynamic feeling of the season into your body with red fruit and vegetables like carrots, goji berries and tomatoes.
I am rarely seen without a cup of tea, and you can keep Liver qi smooth and free-flowing by drinking plenty of this, especially jasmine tea and rose tea.
What is my favourite Spring recipe? It has to be Spring Congee, a delicious and simple dish perfect for this time of year, as it supports your Liver Qi. Congee is a great nourishing food to eat all year round, as it is really, really good for you. It’s so easy to make and can be modified to accommodate the season and nurture your liver energy with greens, ginger and spring onion.
Chī hǎo hē hǎo! Bon Appétit! I look forward to seeing you in the kitchen!
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