Spring is a time of new beginning it is a time to raise early with the sun and “seize the day.” It is a good time to engage in yang activities, such as taking brisk walks that emulate the ascending and active nature of spring. In spring, we naturally eat less or even fast to cleanse the body of the fat and heavy foods of winter. Heavy foods taken in spring tend to clog the liver (the organ that correspond with Spring), resulting in fevers and allergies. Salty foods such as soy sauce or sodium rich and fatty meats are also best limited during the spring season. The spring diet should consist of a lighter diet of young plants, fresh greens, bean sprouts and other cereal grasses.
The thermal quality of sweet and pungent foods has an expansive and rising quality is harmonious with this time of year. Here is a partial list of Spring herbs and foods; Basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill and bay leaf. Most of the complex carbohydrates such as grains, legumes and seed primarily are sweet in flavor and increase in sweetness when sprouted.
Vegetables from the spring garden include young beets, carrots and other sweet starchy vegetables like snap peas and radishes.
In spring, it is best to cook foods for a shorter time but at higher temperatures. In this way, the food is not over- cooked and retains the thermal nature and healing properties of the food. Light steaming with water or minimal steaming is ideal.
The creation and arrangement of the Five Element is a unique system, produced by ancient Chinese sages, that helps us to understand the limitless connections that affect every aspect of life in man and his environment. To understand the five elements and the way they operate, helps us to be aware of how these boundless energies of nature relate to the human body and the person as a whole. Each of the five elements are linked with internal organs, body parts and emotions of the human body/soul. The elements in nature have further connection to us in terms of seasons and their influence, color, taste, direction and flavors of food. See the Five Element Chart
If we want to use food as medicine for dietary healing, we need only a working knowledge of a few but important principles of seasonal correspondences and the preparation of food according to the seasons.
The ancient Chinese believed that the seasons had a profound effect on human growth and well being over the cyclic effects of time. Knowing how to prepare foods according to the seasons keeps our bodies functioning better. Intuitively choosing foods that are both in harmony with the seasons and good for our particular body type can be easily done when the person is balanced. Unfortunately we tend to repressed our instinctual awareness and don’t always make the correct food choices. This is partially because people like to eat for pleasure and tend to choose the foods hey most enjoy.
Only when we develop practices that bring us in harmony with Nature do we begin to hear our inner voice more clearly. These practices gradually become “second nature “ so over time we can learn to trust our intuition again and confidently “know” what is correct for us at any given time.
To seasonally attune to summer, for example one must become more yang or expansive, like the summer energy, by using more (but not excessive amounts of) hot spices. This causes cooling through opening the pores and sweating. This is different from the specific therapeutic use of bitter herbs that cool over-heated conditions that can occur in the organs.
“The sages follow the laws of Nature and therefore their bodies are free o f strange diseases. They do not lose any of their natural functions and their spirit of life is never exhausted. “– Inner Classic
Nearly everything in the known world is composed of and affected by two antagonistic but complimentary energies. “Yin” and “yang” energies are two opposing forces found in everything from food to physics. Yang is an energy that is electric and active in nature and its opposite, Yin energy has a passive nature that has a magnetic quality. These two forces have been operating behind the scenes from the beginning of time and are always in constant ebb and flow, always moving and continuously transforming each other and us in a number of ways.
The two energies affect our physical bodies and are essential to all life in our natural world. But this duality can be a constant source of stress for us and our ability to balance the two energies can mean the difference between mental peace, physical health and spiritual harmony or spiritual disharmony, physical stress or mental anguish. When these two forces are balanced in the body there is little or no stress and the body is in a state of healing.
A life of balance is a life worth living
It may seem like an impossible task balancing the forces of the universe as if we don’t have enough to do already! But a life of balance is a life worth living because with a little effort it is possible to correct imbalances in your body by using whole foods and herbs as medicine which can lead to better physical health, mental focus and emotional calmness. The improper flow of yin and yang in the body leads to blocked energy in the organs which over time can lead to many health problems. Learning to correctly balance the body’s bio- energy or Chi with food and herbs will lead to a better functioning body and a peaceful mind.
Chi balancing and building principles can not only help you take control of the health but it can help you to manifest the positive flow of abundance from the universe which is always present and available to everyone and in your daily life. Our chi building information (as I have learned it from the orient) will help you understand how to balance the energies within the body and without. Blocked chi or energy in our environment can also affect us in a less than positive way. There are also easy but little known ways to correct the flow of energy or chi in your home, office, yard and help you to cultivate unobstructed energy and abundance flowing into your life. So please check back for all things chi.