Well hellooooo Spring!
I LOVE spring. Longer days, milder weather, beautiful spring flowers in the hedgerows and the lush greenness of the fields and woodlands returning. Beautiful.
It also marks an exciting shift in foodie creations. My slow cooker can finally rest her weary body whilst my juicer and sprouter get a good dusting off!
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Spring is associated with the Wood Element. Spring is synonymous with new beginnings, new creations, and the rebirth of nature after its long hibernation in winter. New shoots emerge and buds begin to form and flower. This feeling of new energy has a cleansing effect on the body-mind as the anticipation of the season ahead floods the brain with a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm.
Spring is the time for nourishing and kick starting our Liver and Gallbladder, organs which are essential for detoxification, blood sugar regulation, hormone balance, and fat and protein breakdown. We therefore look towards cleansing foods, styles of cooking and food prep that will be kind to the liver, waking it from its slumber if it has become toxic and sluggish from heavily processed foods, medications, polluted water and chemical treated fruits and veggies.
When the liver becomes overloaded in this way, it is not long before digestion is impaired as the spleen, pancreas and stomach start to feel the strain. Leading to bloating and gas, blood sugar handling issues and inflammation, which can result in diabetes, metabolic syndrome, colitis, and IBS.
Raw and detoxifying foods are some of the best ways to reduce internal heat in the liver whilst pumping the body full of live enzymes (essential for digestion and assimilation of nutrients), vitamins and trace minerals.
Liver Boosting Raw Foods:
- Green beans
- Sweet potato
- Lemon and limes
- Pumpkin and sunflower seeds
I love to get my raw foodie hit from a mixture of sprouting and juicing.
Sprouting is the process of germinating seeds and eating them whilst they are still in there growth state. When we eat sprouted foods such as sprouted seeds, grains and legumes their nutrients become more bioavailable, they are easier digest and more densely packed in nutrition.
Best, sprouting is so easy. You can purchase a terracotta multi layered sprouter, then all you need are sprout seeds or your own seeds, legumes and grains. Add water and watch them sprout! This usually takes 3-5 days, at which point they are ready to be transferred to the fridge for storing and eating. Or popped in a dehydrator (grains and seeds) for storing in the cupboard.
Juicing is the process of extracting the juice of vegetables and fruits with the help of an electric juicer. There are many on the market but my favourite ones are Centrifugal juicers which extract much more juice without damaging the nutrients.
For people suffering with IBD or chronic digestive issues, juicing means you can enjoy the benefits of raw food nutrition without the discomfort of trying to break down the fibre in raw foods. I always encourage my clients to enjoy their juice as part of a meal, preferably breakfast to avoid blood sugar handling issues brought on by an imbalanced macronutrient meal. Remember we need a mix of carbs, fats and protein at every meal for optimal health and wellbeing.
There has been an explosion of Raw Food enthusiasts over the last few years. Many of whom profess that a RAW plant based diet is the ONLY way to eat.
In fact following this diet 100% of the time is hugely damaging on the body. For those with a weak digestive system it can cause gas and bloating. It can cause metabolic issues and blood sugar handling issues not to mention mood and hormone disorders due to the lack of saturated fats and animal protein, essential for our hormone cascade and brain function.
From a TCM perspective it is also completely at odds with the ebb and flow of Mother Nature. Our body naturally craves heavier fats and proteins in autumn and winter to carry us through the cold dark months, whilst in summer it needs lighter, raw foods to sit with the longer days and warmer climate.
Step 1 – start your day with hot water, lemon, ginger and root turmeric.
Step 2 – Add an organic green juice to your breakfast. Balance it with fats and proteins to ensure you maintain health metabolic function, avoiding blood sugar crashes and hormone dysregulation!
Step 3 – Include fresh organic sprouts with every meal, enjoy them first to supply a burst of live enzymes. This will aid in the digestion of the other foods that follow.
Wake Up & Flow Green Juice Recipe
[/dt_cell][dt_cell width=”2/3″]Ingredients (serves 2):
- 1 – 2 organic apples (depending on desired sweetness)
- ½ organic cucumber
- 1 large handful organic parsley
- 1 large handful organic kale
- 1 large handful organic spinach or chard
- Thumb sized piece of organic ginger
- 1 organic lemon, skin removed