Growing up in an Indian household in the suburbs of New York, I can recall many cold winter nights, staring out the window at all the snow, praying for the arrival of spring!
As spring arrived, my Mom used to encourage my sister and I to pay special attention to our diet. She used to remind us that we should take time to cleanse our bodies in the spring, so that the summer heat would not affect us in a negative way. (I’ve never been a fan of intense heat). She emphasized bitter tastes found in many greens that are very detoxifying and cooling, according to Ayurveda.
What to Eat During Spring:
Go for the Green: Dandelion greens, chicory, escarole, mache, nettles, frisee, mustard greens, spinach, kale. These greens help your body to detox and provide a really good cleanse. Favor those dark leafy greens, as they’re full of chlorophyll, a detox agent that helps release toxins from your body, while also improving your energy.
Legumes: Go ahead and add that helping of hummus! Beans are packed with protein. Adding legumes, like dhal or hummus to your diet will help you to maintain a steady flow of energy and feel full longer.
Good fats – yes there is such a thing, (including avocados, extra virgin olive oil, ghee and coconut). Enjoy these in moderation, as these high quality fats are stored in the body as energy, not fat, and help you lose weight in the long run.
Warming spices: Strengthen digestive fire, (Agni), with the help of pungent spices that help to break down foods, and eliminate waste. In the Spring, favor Ayurvedic spices such as: turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, asafetida (hing), cloves and fenugreek.
Two Purifying Teas to Enjoy:
Dandelion Tea made by washing the leaves of the dandelion plant thoroughly, then boiling the dandelion leaves until the water is reduced by one-fourth. If dandelion isn’t easy for you to come by, try using ginger root as described above to prepare Ginger Tea. Both of these teas are good cleansers for the body.
If you like condiments, try the below mint-cilantro chutney recipe, a great accompaniment to lunch or dinner.
- 1 cup mint leaves
- 2 cups chopped cilantro leaves
- Sea salt to taste
- Fresh lemon or lime juice, as needed
Wash and chop the mint and cilantro leaves. Blend ingredients on high, adding enough lemon or lime juice so that everything blends together nicely into a paste.
Enjoy this chutney with lunch or dinner. Feel free to add it to sandwiches or wraps for that extra kick. If you like it spicy, try adding a few jalapeño peppers to the mix before you blend.
Another really nice way to enjoy this tasty chutney is to dilute it by adding a little water, adding some extra virgin olive oil, using it as a salad dressing.
NOTE: Since this chutney is not cooked, it needs to be consumed within a couple of days. Be sure and make small batches to enjoy it fresh. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.