By Erica Favela
When the seasons shift, it’s a great time to see where else in our lives we can make some adjustments or take on a new frame of mind for the next few months. Spring represents newness, birthing, and laying the seeds that will sprout into future crops. We also get to welcome lighter days, and after a restful winter, you may be experiencing more energy, or an urge to move swiftly forward with goals and projects. This is a great time of year to see where you can initiate or even trailblaze. We can use food as a helpful tool for shedding both the physical and mental/emotional/spiritual heaviness of winter, and as a way to initiate feeling fresh and enlivened for the next season.
Spring is also a time when people cleanse and detoxify. In fact, you’ve probably seen plenty of marketing going on for juice cleanses or detoxes. If you’re pregnant or nursing, remember that programs like these may not be ideal for you and your baby’s needs, so always speak to your midwife or other partner in natural healthcare before jumping on the “cleansing” bandwagon. If breastfeeding, resist the urge to do something drastic to get back to pre-baby weight; significantly dropping calories and consuming simple sugars from a juice cleanse will not be healthful for breast milk production.
In general, the best foods for spring include foods that will disperse waste (support the liver’s detoxifying abilities), reduce heat and move stagnation (more raw foods), reduce weight (which will naturally come as you move more with longer, lighter days), and cool or refresh (think seasonal fruits like grapefruit and Valencia oranges).
Here’s an example of what a few days of Spring-inspired eating might light look (no juice fasting required!). Start each morning with tongue scraping, and 1 cup warm lemon water upon waking.
Breakfast: 1 cup plain yogurt with 1/2 cup berries with 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds and generous sprinkle of cinnamon
Lunch: Kale salad (4 cups kale), 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, dulse flakes, plus a few slices of chicken breast
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
Dinner: Vegetable mineral broth or bone broth and Quinoa Tabbouleh (recipe)
Breakfast: Smoothie with greens (kale, spinach) 1 cup berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries), with boosters such as green powders or maca, coconut or almond milk base, 1 tablespoon almond butter, and plant-based protein such as pea protein.
Lunch: Pineapple avocado gazpacho with large mixed green salad with 1/2 cup garbanzo beans or sprouts. Dressing for the salad: lemon, garlic, dulse, and basil
Dinner: Asparagus and veggie tempeh (or other preferred protein) stir-fry over kelp noodles. Try this recipe from Dr. Mark Hyman.
Breakfast: 1 cup fresh mixed berries with coconut chips, 1-2 tbsp hemp seeds, in 1 cup nut milk
Lunch: Red Leaf Lettuce salad, thinly sliced basil (or other fresh herbs), black olives, and thinly-shaved red onion. Add protein such as sliced chicken breast or cooked salmon. Dress with 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2-3 parts olive oil and crushed garlic
Dinner: Miso soup with 1/4 cup Adzuki beans and 1/2 cup brown rice with steamed broccoli
Other foods to incorporate or use as snacks:
nuts/seeds & their milks
vegetable juices (no carrots or beets)
moderate amounts non-gluten grains like quinoa or brown rice
leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables
algae, seaweeds, fermented veggies
water and herb teas
Easy Pineapple Avocado Gazpacho
Makes 1 large, or 2 small servings
2 cups pineapple, diced small
1 avocado, diced small
1/2 tsp sea salt
juice of 1 lime
fresh sprouts or cilantro (garnish)
Set aside about 1/4 cup pineapple and 1/4 of the avocado
Add rest of the ingredients except garnish to blender
Blend just until smooth
Pour into a bowl and fold in pineapple and avocado pieces (to chew!)
Garnish with sprouts or cilantro
makes 3-4 servings
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 tsp chopped parsley
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup chopped raw almonds
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup scallions diagonally cut, thin
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and let sit for 20 minutes (to allow flavors to blend) before serving.
Enjoy with zucchini hummus and raw vegetables! (celery, cucumber, carrots, red bell pepper, etc.)