Spring Foods for the Chinese Solar Spring

On the Chinese solar calendar, Spring started on February 4th 2015, which is half way from the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The anxiously awaited arrival of spring signals the time of rebirth, renewal and growth, as the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen says “Spring grows.” What lay dormant and barren in the winter is now bursting forth with lush green growth. Fresh grass carpets the rolling hillsides and flowers are once again in bloom. In nature, this newly emerging life signals “new beginnings” which also applies to people. It is time for us to shake of the Yin energy of winter and its function of storage in the body changing to give expression to our Yang qi which leads to movement and growth. Spring awakens our senses; we feel rejuvenated, more alive and the urge to “get moving “is strong. The Neijing also says, “The Three Months of spring are called spring forth and display. Heaven and earth
together produce life.

Humans are considered to be a microcosm that imitates and goes along with the world around them. Thus, when it comes to Spring, it is not a coincidence that the seasonal dietary guidelines follow what is available in nature. Eating these readily available foods helps us stay healthy and balanced and helps prevent the onset of illness and disease. Green is the color of spring so eat a diet rich in green leafy vegetables and sprouts which help cleanse and refresh the body. To move qi and release the stagnation of winter it is best to eat lighter foods and smaller portions. When cooking, it is best to cook foods, especially vegetables, quickly over a high heat. By sautéing, blanching or lightly steaming the nutritional value of the food is retained.

Recommended Foods:

Drink Juices: These can include citrus fruit, pear, apple, and celery & carrot juice. Do this sparingly as to not damage the spleen and stomach.

Eat Acrid or Spicy Flavors: To control the liver and keep if from getting out of control as well as move qi and blood we want to eat some acrid flavors. These include onions, scallions, garlic, cilantro, ginger, basil, dill, mint, fennel, and bay leaf.

Eat Sour Foods: Sour flavors also stimulate the liver so add lemon to your water, eat dill pickles and use oil and vinegar on your salads.

Beneficial Foods: To nourish the liver eat applesauce, artichokes, lychees, avocados, blackberries, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, new potatoes, eggs, mung beans, plums, sesame seeds, green lentils, liver, coconut milk, beef, beets and celery.

Foods to Avoid: Alcohol, bacon, barbequed foods, nuts, potato chips, canned soup, fatty foods, canned vegetables, coffee, pretzels and frozen dinners. These foods can have a negative effect on our liver and gall bladder.

These few tips can help us to avoid Spring related diseases and maximize our health.

by Jack Schaefer
Priest-in-Training

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