Keep the liver and gall bladder active as they are prone to stagnation during spring. Cook veggies for less time on high flame. Drink hot lemon water in the morning and mint tea during the day. Avoid fried, processed foods and excess dairy. Eat fairly pungent foods (garlic, ginger, spring onions); bitters (dandelion, radish leaves, asparagus); and carrots, beet, and celery.
Springtime is the best time to start integrating changes if you are a seasonal allergy sufferer. Outside the green shoots and buds of the plants and trees are beginning to sprout up, and suddenly the color green is coloring the landscape. As an integrative nutritionist and acupuncturist, I stress with my clients the importance of eating with the seasons to maintain the health of our bodies in staying fundamentally balanced. Consuming foods that are rich in chlorophyll like parsley, blue-green algae, spirulina, wheat grass or other early green vegetables like asparagus, swiss chard, cilantro, baby lettuce, etc. – accelerate our detoxification from the heavier (meat/grain/oils) foods of the winter.
Why You Need A Change Of Foods In Spring
In spring, according to Chinese medicine, the liver and gall bladder are the organs that are most stressed. These organs are in charge of regulating a smooth flow of energy through the whole person (body, mind and spirit.) Unfortunately, they are prone to congestion-stagnation, because most people take in too many poor quality fats and denatured foods, chemicals, medications and intoxicants. What happens when the liver or gall bladder energy isn’t flowing properly in this system of acupuncture and meridian flow? We can experience the following:
- Anger and irritability (in women, PMS)
- Depression and insomnia
- Inability to lead or make decisions
- Susceptibility to muscle pulls and strains, joint pains
- Headaches (to name a few)
Think! What to do first?
Spring Clean Tips And Chinese Medicine Detox Foods
Help yourself by getting regular acupuncture treatments and possibly adding in some herbal medicine depending on the severity of your symptoms. In addition, here are a few tips you can do on your own:
- Cook your vegetables for a shorter time but at a higher temperature. This way the interior is “al dente” or slightly cooked. Steaming minimally or sautéing quickly at a high temperature.
- First thing in the morning before eating or drinking any tea or coffee, detox your body with a 1/2 a lemon squeezed into a cup of warm water. This helps the liver and gall bladder tremendously.
- Feeling frustrated in the day? Move the liver qi energy with a cup of mint tea.
- Avoid heavy foods that can exacerbate the stagnation in the liver. These include: fried foods, poorly sourced meats or processed meats, over-consumption of dairy or nut butters.
- Make sure to increase foods that are moderately pungent such as spring green onions, garlic, ginger, mustard greens, swiss chard, turmeric, basil, fennel and watercress in your daily/weekly diet.
- Eat more raw foods, sprouted grains, carrots, and celery as that helps to get rid of salty food cravings and neutralize and alkalize the body. Celery is very detoxifying and is high in potassium, magnesium, sodium and iron. Beets are great too and are an important detoxifying agent for the blood and increase the enzymatic antioxidants to protect the liver.
- Get bitter! The liver and gall bladder in Chinese medicine are prone to problematic heat and inflammation. Therefore, eating more bitters such as dandelion, chamomile, radish leaves, asparagus, milk thistle and romaine also cleanse the liver of stagnation.
Include these tips in your diet now to calm down your allergy symptoms.