Spring Your Health into Summer

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According to TCM practitioners we all have to live with the balance of how life and nature cycles around us. In order to live with full health and vitality one should eat with the seasons and pay close attention to how nature and all things around us are changing. This helps to build the necessary foundation we need for each coming season. Since Spring is here we, according to Chinese traditions should be eating foods that support the overall health of our liver. 

The Spring governs the wood element according to the Five Element Theory, it is also related to the Liver and Gallbladder. If we are mindful in supporting and balancing these organs during the spring, not only are we benefiting the whole body but we are building the necessary foundations for Summer. The liver's function is to store blood and support the heart, while creating and maintaining a smooth and calm flow of Qi throughout the mind and body. When the Liver is balanced and functioning well, the liver qi is active, smooth and floating; helping to get things done with little to no stress. Someone with a less than healthy liver, also known as a stagnant liver, operate on an emotional roller coaster with feelings of frustration, anger and resentment. 

 

 

The Five Elements show us that the Liver loves sour foods. Sour foods strengthen the liver and are cooling as well as yin building. They can help to strengthen the tendons and imprve badder control. But as with all things sour foods should be used sparingly, as too much can cause an "excited" Liver which can lead to emotional outbursts. A great quote describing sour foods and the Liver is, "Liver yang is like rain -- without rain nothing grows, with the right amount things thrive, but too much and everything." washes away." Some sour foods to incorporate into your meals are lemons, limes, pickles, hawthorne berries and rosehips. 

Some things to consider when dealing with Spring energy is the nature in which we dress. Although, with the warmer days that come with the transition from winter to spring there is large wind activity. As you may know from previous posts, wind is the cause of 100 dis-eases. Because of this it is important to always have a light scarf and sweater with you, to keep your upper body protected from the wind which can easily penetrate the head and neck area. 

Foods that should be added to your meals now that the spring is here are; sweet foods; those that come from the fullness of grains, vegetables as these can help to calm liver anger and impatience. Other foods to add are bay leafs, watercress, brown rice, coconut milk. black sesame seeds, celery, kelp as well as spring onions. It is also important to add gently warming and pungent foods such as fennel, oregano, rosemary, dill, legumes and seeds. Pungent foods help to stimulate Qi circulation and blood. Alway keep in mind that a little goes a long way when adding these to dishes. As with everything, eat with balance in mind and always remember have fun and smile!