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Food as Medicine: Nutrition in Spring

September 15, 2018

SPRING time, the element of Wood… 

 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season is represented by an element in nature. Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. Spring / Wood is the season for new birth and growth, and is the colour of green. It controls the liver function of processing, detoxification and storing blood as well as supporting the Gall Bladder, assisting in smooth Qi (energy) flow. The energy of wood moves upwards and outwards like that of a flower in bloom, a tree standing tall with extending branches, full of life. Wood embodies the emotions of positivity, will power and assertiveness. It’s a very empowering time to make big decisions and plan for a brighter future. With spring comes creativity, vision and perspective. However, wood energy out of balance can easily turn into anger and irritability and can manifest as digestive issues, PMS, migraines and feelings of being ‘stuck’.  Spring is also a the time when colds and flus attack, hay fever strikes and sinuses play up.

 

Spring is the perfect time to clean out and detox your home (the best way to do this is to go #NOTOX - ditch the chemicals, fragrances, toxic products and switch to natural. I use these essential oils in my home A LOT!) as well as detox your body using food as medicine. Chinese Medicine is all about eating with the seasons and practicing sensible food therapy. The wood element is about purification so during spring, it’s important to eat foods that strengthen and cleanse the liver. Wood foods are generally slightly cooling (yin) in nature and encourage energy to collect and contract. During the cold winter, we tend to stay indoors and eat too much heavy food, which can in turn cause excessive heat in our body come springtime. It is important to eat some cooling foods to clear any lingering excess heat. Springs positive energy may even help you let go of unhealthy addictions to stimulants. No doubt your body will be craving lighter, greener, healthier foods but if you need some guidance, I've put together a few tips to help you on your way.... 

 

 

 

TCM Food therapy for SPRING:

  • Support that liver and bodily detoxification with a big glass of warm lemon water in the morning before you eat anything.
     

  • Green tea, Peppermint tea and dandelion root tea are great for their liver cleansing actions so drink up regularly.
     

  • Eat foods like broccoli, string beans, zucchini, artichokes and leafy greens, sprouts, parsley, melons, lemons and limes - these also support liver/wood. 
     

  • Enjoy foods with sweet and pungent flavours, limiting sour and overly spicy and greasy foods that weaken the livers function.
     

  • Cooling foods to clear excess this heat should be included such as bananas, pears, water chestnuts, celery and cucumber.
     

  • Avoid dairy as it causes ‘dampness’ and makes digestion sluggish, causing further internal heat. Tofu, tempeh, miso and other soy products are GREAT alternatives (also great sources of protein and calcium so there is no need for dairy)
     

  • Because your liver is working extra hard already this time of year, it’s best to limit toxins like caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. Maybe try NOTOX OCTOBER (I just made that up, but it has a ring to it, doesn't it? Maybe?)
     

  • Take your super-greens powder! Chlorophyll rich foods encourage liver activity and support your wood element within.
     

  • Get help! Try acupuncture to help with colds and flus and reduce the symptoms of sinusitis and hay fever. Traditional Chinese Herbal medicine can also help with allergies, excess mucus and inflammation.
     

Don’t forget to live a little and express your feelings. Allow yourself to acknowledged and feel your inner 'wood anger' if it arises, and let it pass, because unexpressed emotions can lead to imbalance and illness. Wood energy is the best time to flourish and grow.

 

Love & Light,
Carla   
XO

 

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