Eating (and living) during Spring

“To everything, there is a season, including us.”

As grateful as we are for modern ways of living with electricity, running water, and such, as we’ve progressed, we’ve all but left Mother Nature behind; and doing so is wreaking havoc on our bodies and minds. 

Since I’ve had to learn that lesson the hard way, suffering from poor mental and physical health for years, adjusting my lifestyle to living and eating according to the seasons has become such a benefit to me and to my family.  

Why adjust our lifestyle to the changing seasons?  

As things around us in nature are changing throughout the seasons, adjusting our bodies and minds to each season will help us feel better and live better. (And who doesn’t want that?)  

Our Creator gave us this earth not only to live on, but to learn from, and so when we pattern our lives according to the seasons around us, our bodies and minds are more in-tune and at peace.

Eating and living seasonally ensures that we are providing just what our body and minds need, when they need it, so we can thrive and function at our best!

Spring has sprung

Like all seasons, springtime is rich in symbolism and meaning.  

It is a time of awakening, renewal, even rebirth.  It’s the perfect time of year to come out of our shells, laying aside those things we want to leave behind, to become better versions of ourselves. With each new spring comes new possibilities and opportunities. 

Just as we feel the impulse to throw open the windows and clean our homes after the long, cold days of winter, our bodies and minds crave similar treatment.  In fact, as the natural world around us comes back to life with the increasing sunlight, we can follow that lead to reap many benefits.  

Eating for Spring

In addition to making simple lifestyle changes throughout the year based on the season, we actually have a lot of control over our health and well-being just based on how, what, and when we eat. When we eat seasonally, we are also eating when flavors and nutrition content is at its peak.  Bonus!

During the springtime, it’s wise to lighten up our diets and cleanse from the inside out using foods that are naturally growing this time of year. Favoring foods that are warm, light, and well-spiced help us achieve this.  Also incorporating more bitter, astringent, and pungent flavors into our diets aids us in this cleansing and detoxifying endeavor. Think lots of berries, asparagus, onions, cilantro, parsley, greens such as lettuces, arugula, kale and spinach, and for the more adventurous, dandelion and wild greens.  

The flavors and tastes of bitter, astringent, and pungent are not as familiar or enjoyed, especially to those coming straight off the Standard American Diet of lots of refined and processed carbs with little fat and little produce, but incorporating them into our diets will have profound effects on our health, especially this time of year. 

In fact, eating well and allowing ourselves to cleanse and detox this time of year will help us feel good for the remainder of the year! 

You may notice a change in your appetite during the spring, not wanting to eat as much as the previous months, and you may also find yourself craving fruit, fresh vegetables, and salads galore. This is your body’s way of telling you that it’s ready for spring-cleaning!  Conversely, if you’re finding yourself craving lots of sweets and salts, that’s also a sign that it’s time for some inner spring-cleaning.

During the winter, we need to eat the heavy and dense foods to insulate our bodies, keeping us warm against the cold and wind.  But once spring hits, it’s time to purify and shift to a lighter diet to ensure the body has a chance to detox, naturally shedding the excess winter accumulations.   

Experiencing spring colds, allergies, weight gain and sadness during the spring months is a sign that you have winter excess that needs to be shed through diet, movement, and mindfulness. 

Living during Spring

As the days slowly get longer, our energy wants to mimic this with increased energy and vitality.  Many times, however, this is not accomplished easily.  

If our bodies and emotions have gotten comfortable with winter’s slower pace, we might need to enliven ourselves with diet, movement, and mindfulness to help get the juices flowing again, otherwise we risk being lethargic and depressed. Those slower emotions can even plague us for the remainder of the year if we don’t shake things up.

Spring is actually a great time for new goals and resolutions, so rather than trying to change everything in your life at New Year’s (only to fall back into old routines and rhythms a few weeks later), harness the power of the spring season to help you achieve your goals.  Spring is a great time to take up new, life-affirming habits such as exercising more, cutting out white sugar, eating more vegetables, going to bed earlier, and so on.

Spring is also a terrific time to take charge of your life and “spring cleaning” is the perfect place to start.  There is motivation and energy during the spring months to purge, clean, and organize. Decluttering is vital during these months as holding on to unnecessary things will weigh you down and reduce your energy and motivation later on during the year.  

Other tips for living during the Spring are:

  • Wake with the sun for the most energy throughout the day.  Allowing yourself to sleep in will only leave you feeling lethargic and mentally dull.
  • Watch the sunrise whenever possible.
  • Reduce napping during the spring months unless you are ill and slept poorly. You’re more likely to wake up groggy from a spring nap than at other times of the year.
  • Do not eat when you’re not hungry, and start having lighter breakfasts than you were accustomed to during the winter.
  • Exercise daily, preferably first in the morning, and make a point to break a sweat! This will energize the remainder of your day.
  • Drink tulsi, ginger, dandelion root, or detox/digestive hot teas to aid in detoxifying and strengthening your digestive system.
  • Go to bed by 10:00 P.M. at the latest.
  • Clean out your closets and your car, organize your desk and dresser drawers, declutter your purse, phone, and computer.  Spring cleanse your surroundings to make space for new people, projects, and opportunities. 

Spring is such a beautiful time of year and what a joy it is to watch the world around us come back to life. As we follow nature’s lead, mimicking nature within ourselves and our lifestyles, we can enjoy it all the more!

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