Lots of helpful tips in this article by The Organic Beauty!
Imagine these two scenarios: in the first, you enjoy a lovely, happy spring with increased energy, a sunnier mood, and a leaner body. You naturally shed that insulating winter weight, don’t experience so much as a sniffle, and feel like a confident goddess heading into bikini season.
In the second scenario, your seasonal allergies start acting up as soon as the weather starts to warm, and you get one (or more) of those horrible springtime colds. You seem to always be sniffling and you just feel puffy. Those pounds you put on over the winter don’t seem to be going anywhere, and, is it your imagination, or are you actually gaining weight? You’re tired and sluggish and dread the summer when you’ll have to pull that bathing suit out of the back of your drawer.
A pretty stark contrast, right? Well guess what, the difference between the two isn’t a drastic juice cleanse or a crazy workout schedule. It is simply a seasonal, springtime diet!
In Ayurvedic medicine, springtime is characterized by the elements of water and earth, and it is a time when congestion (lymphatic and nasal), retention (of water and body fat), and allergies can run rampant. As the temperature warms and the body resets from the fat-storing, slower metabolism mode of winter to the rejuvenating, fat-burning mode of spring, eating the wrong foods for the season can cause the body to go into a mucus-producing frenzy. This can lead to:
- Seasonal allergies
- Weight gain, or trouble losing “winter weight”
- Chronic congestion
- Feeling sluggish
- Poor immunity
The springtime offers us a natural bounty of gut-scrubbing, immune boosting bitter roots, weight-balancing and good microbe-rich micro greens, and antioxidant, lymphatic-moving fruit. If you stick to a seasonal springtime diet for April-June, and eliminate (or at least, drastically reduce) the most congesting, fatty foods that did your body good in the winter, you will feel like a whole new person, while avoiding all that Claritin and juice cleansing nonsense.
Though doing targeted eliminations throughout the year can be a really wonderful reset for your health, spring is the best time of the year to make it happen. Eliminating congesting foods from your diet in the spring gives you the most bang for your buck, as it’s the time of the year when your body actually thrives without those foods.
The top foods to avoid in the springtime are:
- Dairy (the most congesting of all foods)
- Meat (especially red meat and pork)
- Gluten (especially wheat)
I know it can be hard to eliminate or decrease these common foods, especially if your typical diet tends to center around them. But the good news is, it’s not permanent! Going dairy and gluten free, and sticking to beans, fish, and organic, free-range chicken as your primary protein sources for a few months is really much easier than you think, if you know what to eat!
As we eliminate the heavy, hard-to-digest, congesting and mucous producing foods, we get to increase the seasonal bounty and springtime naturally brings. Spring provides the most dramatic example of how eating seasonally is one of the best things we can do for our bodies!
The top spring seasonal foods to increase are:
- Bitter roots like ginger, turmeric, dandelion, burdock, and fennel— teas are a great way to enjoy some of the more esoteric of the bitter roots. These foods strengthen immunity, scrub the intestinal villi, and help to detoxify the liver from a heavier winter diet. They also kickstart weight loss for the season!
- Astringent greens, microgreens and sprouts — these should make up the base of your meals in the springtime. Baby greens, bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts and any and all microgreens are LOADED with nutrients, so much more so than their fully grown versions. They repopulate your gut with beneficial microbes that boost immunity, weight loss, and decrease mucous.
- Seasonal fruit like berries, cherries, and grapefruit — these antioxidant powerhouses move your lymphatic systems, clearing mucous and water retention, and promoting healthy weight loss.
One of the best ways to make seasonal eating super easy is to sign up for a CSA or seasonal grocery delivery service like Milk & Eggs. An organic farm-fresh produce box like the M&E Organic Farm Sampler gets you the best of local, seasonal basics, to which you can add on some spring superfoods. I like to add a la carte extras like organic berries and perfect spring foods like organic sprouts, ginger root, and dandelion greens to really amp up seasonal eating.
Spring is also the best time of the year to throw a couple cold-pressed juices into your day — you can even have one for dinner on a warm night for an even deeper detox! Milk & Eggs carries The Juice, which is a great LA cold-pressed organic juice company. Or better yet, you can make your own (M&E has an awesome Organic Cleanse Fruit & Veggie box that gives you everything you need to make your own juices all week long!)
Milk & Eggs also has a ton of great dairy alternatives to help you go dairy-free for a few months with minimal drama. Kite Hill makes nut cheeses and almond milk yogurts that are as good as their dairy alternatives, and though seeds are more aligned with the springtime seasonal diet, some almond milk ricotta is certainly better than the real deal. New Barn Organic Almond Milk is delicious, and is the only carrageenan-free organic almond milk I’ve found. And they also carry 100% grain-free breads by Barely Bread to make going gluten-free that much easier!
So are you ready to spring clean your eating? As always, you’ll get the best results this spring (and always) by following these 4 key Ayurvedic lifestyle principles:
- Eat your biggest meal of the day at lunch, with breakfast and dinner being lighter. Lunch is when you should consume the most protein and healthy carbs to fuel your day and stabilize your blood sugar. Dinner should be nice and light, and vegetarian!
- Early to bed, early to rise. We get our most restorative, regenerating, and detoxifying sleep before midnight, so you want to maximize those hours. 10pm-6am (or earlier) is ideal for weight loss, mood, and energy.
- Move your body daily. I’m not talking about an hour long workout here, though those are great too. But some form of movement every day keeps things flowing in your body, and aids in the functioning of all your systems. Do some yoga when you wake up, take a long walk after lunch, ride your bike in the evening… whatever floats your boat!
- Water water water water… Drink a cup of warm water with lemon within minutes of waking up, and keep the water going all day. Shoot for half of your ideal body weight in ounces. Herbal tea counts towards your water consumption, but nothing else does.
Original article by The Organic Beauty