In Ayurveda, it’s all about the seasons! Seasonal foods are the antidote of the season and one should eat more of the seasonal foods to balance one’s health. In the Spring, the environment is cool as it emerges from winter, but now winter’s dryness gives way to damp. As the thaw begins and the rains come, the body no longer needs thick mucus to protect it, and the mucus begins to melt. The body produces an unctuous, slow, cloudy liquid in need of reduction.
Reactions to this cool, damp season and the release of excess Kapha (Sanskrit for “mucus” and also refers to the Spring Ayurvedic body type which tends to get out of whack at this time of year) into the body can disturb the power of digestion and generate various imbalances like hay fever, spring flu and cold, sinus and chest congestion, loss of appetite, sluggish digestion, lethargy and/or sadness. In the Spring, Kapha is aggravated and the digestive fire becomes weak.
The tastes that balance Spring are pungent, bitter and astringent. Pungency warms, melts, and mobilizes; bitter and astringent tastes lighten and reduce excess moisture. Reduce building foods that produce mucus (sweet, salty, sour), foods that have a cooling effect (potatoes, yogurt, etc.) and salt should be used as little as possible. Exercise, do not oversleep and eat only when hungry.
To reduce Kapha, choose light bitter fresh foods. The classic “Spring Tonic” of dark leafy greens is ideal. Dark leafy greens like nettles and dandelion (respectively good for the kidneys and liver) give light bitter dry and pungent action to the soggy weather. Ginger tea provides an excellent beverage for Spring. Avoid heavy, oily, salty, sweet and sour foods.
The vital organ associated with Spring is the liver and the gallblader, which are both supported by Spring foods that have rising and upward energy, like sprouts and upward growing plants.
Here’s a non-exhaustive, short list of Spring foods to enjoy abundantly:
PUNGENT, WARMING SPICES:
Spring is a season of purification, a time to purify the system of the many toxins accumulated in the winter. In India, this coming of the new year, is the time to plant the seeds of health for the coming year, It is celebrated with a 9-day fast called the Vasant (Spring) Nav-ratra. One may fast on two cloves a day, on lemon water or fruit, or on non-salty foods for nine days. The type of purification depends on the individual. I will be leading a very simple SPRING HORMONIZE CLEANSE centered on a seasonal plant-based diet starting between April 15-21. Check it out HERE!
What are your favorite Spring food?