The month of March is a time of transition; days are getting longer, snow is melting and the Earth is filling with full moisture after the cold and dry winter. But, as this shift is happening, some days are warm like Spring and some feel like a return to Winter.
Liminal times like this remind me of tempering eggs; adding a little bit of a hot substance to eggs slowly so they do not curdle. At this time of year, we begin to slowly, often with two steps forward and one step back, transition our eating patterns from the comforting winter foods; high protein, high fat when it’s cold and blustery to eating lighter, cleansing foods when it’s warm and more spring-like.
Spring foods are lighter, clarifying and detoxifying, helping us shed excess fat that was necessary to thrive in winter. As the snow melts and the spring rains come, the Earth gets boggy and so can our bodies-holding excess congestion and mucus. Bitter roots, such as burdock root, dandelion, Oregon grape, chaparral and goldenseal, help clear the body of excess congestion and water. These roots cleanse the liver, rid the body of mucus and excess fat from the walls of the intestines.
Spring is nature’s fat burning season. The microbes within our body are geared to burn fat over carbohydrates in the Spring. Come summer, carbohydrate burning microbes will be ready and receptive. Your body naturally seeks lighter soups, lightly steamed leafy greens and less food overall. Attuning to this shift will help your body operate at its peak right now.
Here are some diet tips for more seasonally aligned eating and eating to repair and heal your body. Try a few and see what happens!
Slow down and take a moment every day to listen to your body; it may be naturally desiring lighter food, less often.
Try making lunch your biggest meal, eating less for breakfast and dinner, stimulating a slight intermittent fasting dynamic.
Follow a naturally occurring wheat and dairy free diet during this season by cutting back or eliminating these two for Spring.
Incorporate bitter roots such as dandelion, burdock root, oregon grape and chaparral into your diet by adding them to soups and drinking them in teas.
Incorporate foods with bitter tastes; Kale, cauliflower, cabbages, broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts, arugula, citrus fruits like lemon, lime, grapefruit and even a little dark chocolate (over 80% dark, if possible) Nettle is a great bitter herb to incorporate now. Turmeric is a bitter spice that is great to add in now.
Add some pungent foods and spice to your meals- cayenne, paprika, black pepper, mustard seed, cardamom. Onions, garlic, leeks.
Astringent foods like legumes, quinoa, apples and pears. Turmeric is an astringent spice.
Favor dry/light and warm foods such as steamed veggies, and brothy soups over heavy/wet and oily foods like fried foods, ice cream and heavy dairy.
My husband laughingly told me recently that should I write a cookbook, it would be called, “Onions, garlic, peppers, mushrooms and…..” because so many of our meals start here and it’s a great plan for March Cooking. Start with some onions, garlic, peppers and mushrooms, lightly sautéed and then toss in some bitter flavors like broccoli, kale, etc. to steam. Sprinkle them with turmeric, black pepper and maybe some mustard seed. Add in protein from lean meats, tofu or legumes and light grains like quinoa (cooked in bone broth) and you’ve made dinner!