IT’S THE TIME OF THE LIVER!     In Chinese Medicine, spring corresponds to the Liver and the Gall Bladder and forms part of the Wood element.  This is the season to really pay attention to the Liver and Gall Bladder, and it’s the time of year where many people choose to detox and cleanse their systems.  In Spring, we naturally tend to eat less, and the Spring diet should be the lightest of the year.

EAT IN STEP WITH THE SEASON     In spring, nature wakes from its winter dormancy and life flourishes.  Tiny green shoots emerge, pushing up and out toward the sun and we begin to feel the fertility of the earth. Spring marks the beginning of the transformation from Yin to Yang.  Our Yang energy, and indeed the Yang energy of nature, is all about movement, expansiveness, ascendence.  This is quite a contrast to the Yin nature of winter which is about reflection, dormancy, waiting, and drawing our energy inwards.   In fact, it is the very act of drawing in our energy and preserving it over winter which enables us to let it rise up and outwards in the springtime!

So in the spring, it’s good to eat foods which reflect the Yang qualities of this season;  young plants, fresh greens, sprouts, immature wheat or other cereal grasses.  It is also beneficial to add ingredients that emphasise the expansive, rising quality of spring;  basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, cardamon, dill, bay leaf, as well as grains, legumes, and seeds (whose sweet flavour intensifies with sprouting).

PREPARING YOUR FOOD WITH SPRING IN MIND     Food preparation in spring is simpler; we can shift our emphasis to include a bit more raw and sprouted foods (although be careful about raw foods if your acupuncturist has diagnosed any phlegm or damp problems in your health).  In his wonderful book Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford tells us that raw and sprouted foods in Ayurvedic Medicine are termed ‘vatic’, meaning wind-like.  These foodstuffs encourage quickness, rapid movement and outward activity in general, the very  the essence of spring!

Spring cooking is all about cooking foods for a shorter period of time but with more heat.  Quick sauté vegetables or al dente spring greens are the order of the day.

When we eat according to the seasons, we really start to feel we are living with more balance and harmony, not just with our own bodies, but with the world around us.  Try it, you’ll see!

Happy Spring!