It's Spring, It's New, It's Wonderful & Powerful
Spring is a truly glorious time and my most favourite season of the year. All that has been lying dormant during the winter months is now beginning to stir and wake up after a rest and burst forth with new life and colour. As we journey through the spring I do hope that you have found greater energy levels over these past winter months following our teaching of Living with the Seasons. It is such a wonderful way to live. Letting nature set us an example by showing us how to work with the extremes of the seasons keeps us strong and healthy.
Many of our students and clients tell us year after year that they have come through winter with no colds, flu, sore throats or chest infections. Need I say more? When we constantly discharge the excess from our bodies it rewards us with good health. Keeping our immune systems strong with the nourishing wholefood plant-based vegan food we eat allows us to live our lives to our full potential.
Spring Is In The Air
Longer days, rising temperatures, daffodils and new buds on the trees and bushes is an indication that spring has arrived. It is a time of new growth and seeing nature’s energy rising. In oriental medicine and Macrobiotics this is called the ‘wood or tree element’. I adore teaching the 5 elements and in my Spring classes the main theme of yoga will be meridian related paying special attention to the liver and gallbladder meridians. Spring is the ideal time to clean out not only your home but your body.
Seeing the rising energy outside motivates us to exercise as does revealing more skin in the encroaching season of summer. It is an ideal time to start a fitness campaign; boosting our metabolism and complimentary exercise classes would be low impact with intensity work. Outside power walking is a great way to give your metabolism a boost and help remove any winter pounds you may have gathered round the middle during the months that the kidneys required for more heat. My online Yoga sessions will be focused on stretching the liver and gallbladder meridians.
Hydrate & Replenish
When you rise in the morning it is important to ‘hydrate your cells with water’. We lose approximately half a cup of water each night when we sleep. The cells need hydrated when we awaken to start a new day. Remember that the brain is 80% water so you will feel more alert when you give the body what it needs. This is a wonderful way to clean out your liver which is the main organ responsible for processing toxins that enter your system. A cleaner lighter diet with stir fry or steamed vegetables, a detoxifying drink such as kombu/shitake tea and dried daikon soup are wonderful liver tonics. Cut back on alcohol and coffee as they overwhelm the liver. Drink filtered water kukicha or green sencha tea.
If you are eating heavy foods and drinking more than usual, your liver will start to get overburdened and you may experience: sluggishness, bloating, gas, diarrhoea, indigestion, depression, irregular menstruation, headaches, fits of anger, tense muscles, and believe it or not many more symptoms than those I just mentioned! My cleansing Mung Bean Soup below is a great way to give your liver a break and get you back on track.
Fruit and vegetables in season, sunflower, sesame seeds, vegetable soups, homemade green juice, your body loves the antioxidants and chlorophyll which is the life blood of the plant. Eat short grain brown rice, as well as lighter wholegrain like bulgur, and quinoa salads with loads of spring greens such as radicchio, endive, kale, dandelion and arugula, fresh herbs, (still keep up with your porridge) made from left over brown rice or make a fresh batch and take miso soup daily or try my delicious homemade breakfast granola with rice milk.
Green lentil soup on the side with a sandwich made with sourdough bread is a perfect plate for spring, using tempeh, rocket, sauerkraut and some vegan mayonnaise to make a delicious sandwich is one of Bill’s favourites. Eat foods as near to their natural state as possible. Have flaxseed or hemp seeds on salads or steamed vegetables daily.
This is the time to sprout seeds in abundance, particularly mung beans which aid in cleansing the liver. As always, sea vegetables should be a part of your daily diet using dishes like Wakame or Arame sauté and using kombu seaweed as the base for soup stocks. Incorporating fermented pickles into your diet will stimulate the liver and also feed the healthy gut flora. Aim for one tablespoon of fermented vegetables on your plate daily. Simple and easy to make, follow my instructions here in my video/blog.
Sweets, cakes and puddings, processed and canned foods. Please remove ALL DAIRY (milk, yoghurt, cheese), meat, sugar, fish and eggs.
Drink Your Greens
Barley Grass being (a green food) is the most perfect addition to your spring diet, it’s the best I know of as it delivers enzymes which helps to aid in absorption of your food. Chewing well is also of paramount importance. I cannot stress this enough. When most clients I see with digestive problems relearn the art of chewing many of their problems disappear.
Thinking as always about disease prevention and keeping your insides sparkling clean particularly at this time of year (liver) will put a ‘spring’ in your step. If we adhere to what nature is showing us about regeneration and take that on-board internally I guarantee you that your energy will soar to new heights. It is unnecessary to do ‘hard-core’ liver cleanses if you constantly discharge the excess. Our health is priceless so invest in your own health.
Green juices, made from a variety of green vegetables have a rejuvenating effect on the body because they are rich in chlorophyll (the life blood of the plant), which helps to purify the blood, build red blood cells, detoxify the body and provide fast energy. Green juice is the perfect fuel for your body. Its high water content means it is easily assimilated and it contains the whole vegetable except for the fibre, which is the indigestible part of the plant.
My Green Tonics
Green juice therefore provides all the healthful ingredients in a form that is easy to absorb and digest. Here is just one option, feel free to experiment with your own ideas – I recommend this simple juice for the first two weeks of spring to all my clients.
4 celery stalks
1 fennel stalk
Some spinach leave
Tiny piece of root ginger
A handful of alfalfa sprouts (optional)
Put all the ingredients through a juicer and add the alfalfa sprouts before drinking
Step Into Spring with Marlene’s Mung Bean Soup
1 sachet umami instant stock paste
3 cups warm water
1 cup mung beans, soaked overnight
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small bunch spring onions, thinly sliced on the bias
1 carrot cut lengthwise, sliced into half-moon shapes
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp, ground ginger
1 tbsp tamari or shoyu
1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped
Dissolve the umami stock paste with the water. Drain the beans and transfer them into a saucepan. Cover with the stock and bring to a boil. Simmer until the beans are cooked. Meanwhile sauté the onion, spring onion and garlic in a little water for about 5 minutes and then add the carrots and celery and cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Add the seasonings stir well then transfer into the pan with the cooked beans. Bring to a low simmer for 5 minutes adding more water if necessary, stir in the fresh coriander and serve.
A note on this miraculous cleansing food
Mung beans are originally from India but long ago became a part of Chinese cuisine and medicine; this is a cleansing food which falls into Chinese medicine traditions. Mung beans are cooling, sweet, beneficial to the liver and gallbladder, and nourish yin (the fluids of the body). Usually, mung beans are used in the summertime to cool hot conditions and keep the body regulated, but they can also be used to cool hot conditions or liver-related toxicity during other times of the year.
As we still many have cold days in the spring, the best way to use mung beans is in soups or by sprouting them. Leave the mung bean juice for summer time. As you all know cold foods and raw foods in the colder weather can overburden your digestive system.
Spring Quinoa Salad with Zesty lemon dressing
1 cup quinoa
1 1/3 cup water
1 cup corn kernels (canned organic corn)
1/2 cup chopped spring onions
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
2 tbsp fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup pitted black or green olives
Wash the quinoa and drain, place in a heavy-based pan with the water and sea salt. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low so that the contents simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep covered for a further 15 minutes.
Transfer the quinoa to a large mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Drizzle the lemon dressing over the salad and stir in. Allow the salad to sit for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to develop before serving.
Zesty Lemon Dressing
1 tsp umeboshio plum vinegar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of half a lemon
¼ cup ground almonds
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup filtered water
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. tamari
Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender, adding more water if required. Serve over spring quinoa salad.
Spring Tonic Tea
Daikon, Shiitake & Kombu
Helps to de-stress, unwind and leave you feeling soothed yet uplifted. This is a wonderful spring tonic as it helps the liver to open up and discharge smoothly. Good for relaxing the body.
1 dried shiitake mushroom
1/2 cup dried daikon
1 inch strip Kombu seaweed
3 cups spring water
Place the shiitake, dried daikon and Kombu in a small pan and then cover with the water. Leave to soak for about 10 minutes. Slice the shiitake and place back into the pan. Cover and bring to a boil on a medium flame. Reduce the flame and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Remove and discard the ingredients. Drink the tea whilst hot.
Note: you can also add half cup of leafy green vegetables such as kale, cabbage or watercress and make this a light cleansing soup. Add the chopped leafy greens at the end and simmer for a further 2 or 3minutes.
Start sprouting your seeds, mung beans, alfalfa and chickpeas. No ice with the water. Drink your water as close to room temperature as possible. Try dry skin brushing before having a shower, it is wonderful, you will have skin so smooth and at the same time remove the mucus from your body.
How To Keep In Balance
Alleviate stress by exercising regularly and making time to take enough rest and relaxation. Try and not hold on to anger, the corresponding emotion for imbalance in the Liver. Remain in control and focus on your breathing exercises that brings calm. Have a healthy and enjoyable spring clean and keep smiling. Remember it takes 42 muscles to frown ONLY 4 to smile.
In good health