With global change and unpredictable weather patterns, it can be difficult to recognize when there is an end of one season and the beginning of another. According to Oriental medicine, man is an integral part of nature and must stay in tune with its natural rhythms and cycles throughout the year. Listening to the body and its needs becomes especially important during times of transition. Corresponding physiological and pathological reactions need to be made in response to changes in the weather. As the season changes, so does the pattern of diseases. Warm symptoms occur more frequently in spring, sunstrokes in summer, dryness in fall and cold symptoms in winter. The human pulse tends to vary from taut in spring, full in summer, floating in fall, to sunken in winter.
As TCM dictates that we are what we eat and our food is our medicine, our daily diet should start to change as we approach a new season. Spring is the time for growth and renewal when yang qi begins to move upward and outward in the body, like sap rising in a tree. Thus, the foods we eat now should replenish yang qi in our organs. In the Five Element Theory, wood rules the liver and the spring season. The sour taste associated with the liver should be reduced and sweet and spicy flavors increased to allow qi to be regulated by the liver throughout the body. Foods such as spring onions, leeks, dill mustard, mushrooms, mint and other fresh spring herbs are ideal. To help restore balance after too much time in winter spent indoors and eating too much, consume foods that will reduce toxins and cleanse the liver in preparation for the heat of summer. Sprouts from seeds can be useful but avoid raw, cold, frozen or fried foods, all of which are upsetting to the stomach and spleen. If there are symptoms of dry throat, constipation, bad breath, thick tongue coating and yellowish urine, eat bananas, celery, cucumber, pears and water chestnuts to clear excess heat accumulated over the winter months. In general, choose fresh young vegetables and lightly cooked stir-fries rather than roasts or heavy casseroles. For something different, try one or more of the following:
Nettle soup – nettles have been used traditionally in Europe as a blood cleanser and purifier. They lower blood pressure and act as a diuretic to flush away toxins. Use only the young shoots, which do not sting in the early spring.
Asparagus quiche – Wild asparagus roots are used in both ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to stimulate qi, strengthen lungs, kidneys and reproductive organs. Eating plenty of fresh asparagus in late spring helps nourish and cleanse the system. Note – the roots of cultivated asparagus that we have in the West have a more diuretic action and will make your urine smell strongly!
Rice with herbs – Rice is sweet and neutral in properties and beneficial for spleen and stomach. With the addition of spring onions, parsley, coriander and mint it helps the body readjust to the changeable weather of spring.Leave a reply →