I love watching the transition from Winter into Spring. Out of the darkness of winter, the light finally returns. While the transition can sometimes seem slow, other times we go from cold & rainy to hot & sunny within a matter of hours. We are even expecting another snow tomorrow! We continue to travel through the Kapha season of Water and Earth. You see the perfect example of Water and Earth in the mud that defines this season characterized by wet, cold & dense.
As we learned in our last seasonal retreat, we have to counterbalance the cold, damp, heaviness of winter with movement, warmth and drying. My husband and I have had a great deal of success this winter, following a diet called, Whole30. This diet is defined primarily by removing the common allergens and congesting foods in our diet, namely, dairy, grains, sugar and legumes. This has had a profound effect on our bodies and our health. I believe it is the main reason why we have escaped the influenza virus that has plagued almost everyone we know this Winter.
Nature has it’s own cleansing process each year. After the heavy dark winter, spring offers us a way to naturally cleanse with the ubiquitous green shoots of spring’s vibrant edible greens. Herbs like chickweed, dandelion and violets provide us with nutrients, fiber and support for our livers and gallbladders, the organs of this time of year, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Chickweed helps us to absorb nutrients, like minerals and also helps dissolve and break down things like cysts, mucus and excess fat cells. Chickweed, itself, is rich in nutrients like calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, and vitamins A & C, and B factors such as folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine.
Dandelion and other bitter greens assist digestion. Ingesting the leaves increases hydrochloric acid in the stomach, sends messages to the liver to prepare for digestion, increases the appetite and prepares the liver to break down fats. Dandelion is also high in vitamin C, potassium, calcium, Iron, B vitamins, and protein. Dandelion increases circulation and fluid waste elimination in the body, without depleting the body of important nutrients.
Violets are alterative, which means they help the body restore optimal functioning by aiding metabolic processes, especially the elimination of waste products. Violet stimulates the lymphatic glands, helping the body get rid of bacteria and other toxins. It is especially useful for swollen glands. Taking Violet after a long winter is a wonderful way to get our bodies ready for a healthy and energetic spring.
Celebrate the new season and add some of these fresh greens to a spring salad. Simply add a bit of olive oil and apple cider vinegar or lemon juice as a dressing. Keep it simple as you savor the bitter, pungent, and salty flavor inherent in spring’s bounty.
For more information on how the change in seasons effects us and some recommendations for how to respond, as well as a luxurious restorative yoga class to support you during this time of year, consider attending one of our next seasonal retreats.