I met my neighbor on the street today, and we both exclaimed how joyful we feel now that it’s spring.
We've just experienced the first days in New York City that broke 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
“I love the smell in the air,” Joe, a retired carpenter, shared gleefully.
Yes! Indeed. I agreed with him wholeheartedly.
Can you smell it too? Have you noticed any changes in your mind or body?
I sure have. I feel energy bubbling up from within that I did not have a week ago. There’s a spring (no pun intended) in my step, and a strong desire to get plants into the earth so I can watch them grow.
It is really incredible how the world transforms in springtime.
How Spring Energies Affect Body & Mind
It truly is like a new year is beginning. There is new hope, anticipation, and loads of growth happening everywhere you look.
As new shoots press upwards toward the light from within the dark earth, perhaps you also feel the urge to wake up earlier. Do it!
Maybe try taking an early morning walk, and being there to observe the first leaves on your favorite tree.
See if you can find the first flower, and the next, and the next.
According to Ayurveda, an ancient system of mind and body from India, the human body's internal environment changes alongside the changes in the external environment.
For example, Ayurvedic doctor John Douillard says that the trillions of microbes that live in our guts are undergoing a massive transformation at this time.
While these industrious microbes have been focused on keeping us warm by digesting heavier winter foods, they are now gearing up to facilitate the metabolization of fat.
Consuming more spring detox foods will help your body to adjust.
Along with a seasonal cleansing as you transition to lighter fare, you can also expect a lighter and more balanced mind.
The spring season presents an enormous opportunity to improve your health naturally by following nature’s own prescriptions.
To be more in tune with the spring season, consider the following three diet and lifestyle practices, which includes recommended recipes and a list of spring detox foods.
1. Choose Your Dinner Based on the Weather
I was outside last Saturday digging in the garden for the first time of the season wearing just a light sweater. It felt great!
My husband came out and saw me holding a shovel, and my mouth broadened into a cheshire cat-type grin. I was happy, and we both knew it.
I had intended (as part of my work) to fork out my finished compost onto my garden beds, but 10 inches into the pile, it was still frozen solid.
Oops! It wasn’t time yet, and nature knew it even if I didn’t.
I think this little anecdote says a lot. One day it’s warm, and the next, it’s freezing.
From one day to the next, you go from shivers to feeling comfortable, as if you’re in paradise.
Be sure to adjust your clothing and cover up when needed to protect against these extremes. And remove those layers when your feeling hot.
The same goes for the spring diet. The first bit of advice I can share is to eat according to how you feel that day.
When it’s cold outside and you are feeling cold, enjoy soups and stews, and turn on your oven while you still can.
Then, when its hot and sunny, reach for lightly cooked brothy soups, grain salads, rice bowls, and loads of fresh vegetables.
Recommended Spring Recipes
Cold Spring Recipes
Chewy Pasta With Succulent Arugula & Baby Turnips
Cream of Celery Soup, With Daikon Radish & Potato
Butternut Squash & Leeks Baked in Parchment
Warm Weather Recipes
Andrea’s Balanced Green Salad Formula
Quinoa Soup With Spring Greens & Radish
Braised Baby Turnips & Greens With Turmeric, Garlic & Lime Juice
Comforting Yellow Lentils
Seared Vegetable Trio of Carrot, Daikon & Collards
2. Seek Locally Harvested Spring Foods, & Eat Them Raw Or Cooked
Going with the theory that nature knows what is best, it makes sense that we should seek out locally harvested spring foods.
Yet in today’s cities, finding fresh, local food can be a challenge.
If possible, the easiest way is to visit your local farmer’s market. Seeing what is available is the best way to understand what grows in your area, and what’s fresh.
To obtain the greatest benefits from this season, buy as many spring vegetables as you can eat.
Eating foods like freshly sprouted greens, baby beets, and lettuces, delivers a healthy dose of nutrients and micronutrients from the soil.
If you eat these fresh foods raw, it will definitely assist in the transformation of your body’s microbes to spring energies.
This can all be a good thing, but raw food is exceptionally potent, and it can be overwhelming and unbalancing for some people. It can weaken digestion.
This has sometimes been a problem for me. To guard against unbalancing yourself, notice how you feel after eating potent spring foods.
If you start to feel shaky, choose more grounding cooked foods, such as whole grains, beans, and lentils.
When cooking fresh vegetables in the spring, emphasize the following three methods: 1) High heat sauté with minimal oil. 2) Light steaming. 3) Minimal simmering.
List Of Spring Detox Foods
In general, sweet and pungent flavors are best to consume in the spring. Most grains, root vegetables, and legumes are sweet. Foods such as onions and garlic are pungent.
Sweet Spring Detox Foods
Sugar snap peas
Pungent Spring Detox Foods
The liver is the main organ of the season, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Most of us who live in countries filled with abundance tend to have liver sensitivities. After all, the liver is the organ that has to process all the fats and sugars we consume.
If you feel that your liver is congested, or you generally feel congested, consider adding sour and bitter foods to your diet.
For the last few weeks I’ve had an unusual craving for pickles. Luckily, we had a few containers of incredibly fresh pickles we’d picked up from a farmer’s market.
Since I wasn’t pregnant, I figured it had something to do with the changing weather.
It turns out that sour foods, such as pickle—of any type—or vinegars, can help to flush out stagnation in the liver.
As you prepare for a new season of growth, it is a good time to use up those pickles and preserves that have been hanging out in your fridge.
Sour Spring Detox Foods
Olives (in moderation)
Vinegar of any type
Bitter Spring Detox Foods
Bitter foods are naturally abundant in spring, such as the following beauties.
Best Herbs & Spices To Consume In The Spring
Basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill, oregano, turmeric, and bay leaf.
Best Teas To Consume In The Spring
Mint tea with honey
3. Mind Your Liver & Choose Lighter Fare
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is the season to mind your liver and gall bladder.
This means avoiding foods high in fat, which are heavy and can be congesting.
This includes dairy. It is advised to avoid it, or eat less of it.
Early practitioners of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of life, observed that cows give birth in the spring and need their milk to nurse their young.
Despite the fact that we have year-round access to dairy in most parts of the world, it is important not to forget this simple fact of nature.
It is also advised to avoid overly salty foods, such as soy sauce, miso, canned soups, instant soups, and potato chips. The reason is that salt contains heavy, sinking qualities.
It is also a good practice to follow our natural inclination and eat less during the spring, perhaps enjoying more time outdoors instead.
You could also consider eating smaller portions.
Finally, if fasting is your thing, spring is the best time to fast.
Fasting helps to clear out excess from the liver at a time when the energy of spring supports it the most.
And if fasting isn’t for you, simply following the best spring detox food suggestions in this post lighten your mind and body without your even trying, especially if these seasonal practices are new to you.
Best Overall Recipe For Spring Detox
I’d like to recommend a wonderful spring recipe that is also very good for fasting.
It is called khichdi, which is a porridge of basmati rice and mung beans, seasoned with ghee and spices.
Not only does it taste delicious, it is considered in Ayurveda to be highly digestible, and therefore healthy.
You can eat this as much as you want, especially during spring, or at any time of the year.
In honor of eating lighter spring detox foods, you might want to reduce the amount of ghee in this particular recipe, but try it first WITH all the ghee so you can choose your preference.
As an ode to spring, I would also encourage you to top your khichdi with spring vegetables.
Almost anything will go with this, from baby beets and carrots, to lightly sautéed radishes with their leaves.
A quick thought about the ghee thing. Earlier I suggested avoiding dairy since calves need their milk.
However, ghee, a form of clarified butter, can be made months ahead and it doesn’t spoil. So technically it does accord with the seasons right?
Now, I understand that not everyone stocks the ingredients in their pantry to make khichdi, or they might be unfamiliar to you, so I am happy to recommend this Certified Organic Kitchari Kit from Pure Indian Foods, a family-owned New Jersey-based company.
I am an affiliate with Pure Indian Foods, which means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you), if you buy after clicking through from my link.
The kit contains 2 pounds of kitchari rice and dal, along with 7.8 ounces of 100 percent organic grassfed ghee, and an organic spice mix.
For just $23.90, it could be just the thing to get you started eating a new (and very tasty) way.
And hurray! The Kitchari Kit comes with your very own jar of ghee.
If you are curious about ghee, check out my post on its 10 Healing Benefits and learn why it’s the next big thing in food.
Balance Mind & Body
Both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda are traditional systems of medicine based on the idea of balance.
With Chinese medicine, one seeks balance according to the Five Elements of metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.
Each element has a corresponding organ, color, emotion, energy, activities, sound, taste, season, etc.
One has an opportunity to support their health by tuning into the wisdom of the seasons. The idea is that during the particular season, you can leverage its energies to facilitate helpful changes in your body and mind.
For example, during this spring season, it is the time for creating, cleansing, movement, growth, and renewal.
It is the perfect time to harness the power of spring to let go of deeply held emotions and beliefs that may be holding you back.
By the way, the liver is also the organ most affected by stagnancy and stress.
With Ayurveda, balance is also achieved by harmonizing the elements.
One of the most powerful ways of achieving balance according to this system is through what you eat, since food is considered to also have corresponding energies and qualities that affect the mind and body.
I have a post that talks more about cooking for mind and body in a general sense.
Although choosing the best spring detox foods might come across as common sense, there are profound reasons for doing so.
Try following some of the advice in this post, and see how it changes the way you think, and the way you feel.