Today is the first day of Spring, the Vernal Equinox. Spring happens to be my favorite season - it brings to mind bright flowers, warmer days and baby animals (and my birthday!). Here in Southern California we don't get extreme differences between the seasons, but the subtle changes that do happen are worth paying attention to. By using nature as a guide we can keep our diet and activity levels in sync with our environment, helping to maintain balance and feel more at ease. For example, as the weather warms and the days become longer, our energy levels may increase and we can enjoy a walk or run after work, whereas during the winter it may have felt better to stay warm inside and rest.
For many people, spring means allergies. The great news is that allergies can often be reduced with diet and targeted nutrition! By supporting and balancing the immune system it will be less reactive to harmless foreign invaders like pollen. Often by determining trigger foods and removing them from the diet your immune response can calm down, reducing inflammation and improving your allergies.
Eating with the seasons is a great way to support your health. Traditionally, spring is a time to shift the diet from the warming, heavier foods of winter to lighter, more cleansing foods. This means more fruits and vegetables, and less heavy or oily foods. According to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of maintaing a healthy body and mind, spring is a great time to cleanse, allowing the body to release some of the heaviness of winter. This doesn't have to be an extreme fast, but can be accomplished by eating simply with vegetables, grains and legumes, allowing the digestion to rest a bit. Foods with bitter or astringent properties are also recommended, such as onions, garlic and bitter greens like arugula or dandelion greens. Spicy foods like chiles, and spices like turmeric and ginger are great too, and provide a number of anti-inflammatory benefits.
Especially in the spring, eating organic, local and seasonal food is one of the best ways to hit the reset button on your digestion and support your health. That means shopping at one of my favorite places - the farmer's market. If you visit a farmer's market at this time of year, you'll notice new produce coming into season. Check out this great guide to the seasonal produce in Los Angeles. Asparagus, artichokes, avocados and grapefruit are some examples of what we'll be seeing now, and can help serve as inspiration for your spring meals.
If you're curious about a spring cleanse, seasonal recipes, or how to improve your allergies with diet and nutrition, let's talk! Now is the perfect time to set some healthy intentions and take control of your health!
Here is a quick and easy asparagus salad, perfect for spring. Asparagus is anti-inflammatory, fights oxidation in the body, and is really high in folate, a B vitamin important for brain, nervous system and cardiac support.
I love to get feedback, so if you try it let me know what you think!
Chop asparagus spears in half and boil asparagus in a large pot of salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water, allowing to cool.
Halve cherry tomatoes, slice basil leaves, chop avocado into bite size pieces. Toast pine nuts for about a minute. Add all together into a bowl with asparagus.
Mix vinaigrette ingredients together in a bowl and add to vegetables, mixing well before serving.
Serves 4- 6 as a side dish.
Optional add in: Add quinoa, hard-boiled egg, feta cheese, or grilled chicken.
1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed
4 cups cherry tomatoes
1 large avocado
1 cup basil leaves
2 tbsp. pine nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. each black pepper and sea salt