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Spring is a time of renewal, regeneration, growth, and energy. The plants and animals awaken from the slumber of the cold winter months. The vital nutrients that have been stored in the roots of the plants and the bodies of the animals come to the surface, and life becomes more vibrant and fluid. Human beings are no different. Humans tend to stay indoors more during the winter months and sometimes pack on a little extra weight in the process. As the weather warms, humans become more gregarious and spend more time outside enjoying nature. This is just a natural process.

Therefore, it makes sense that what was observed by the ancient Chinese should still hold true today. Humans are supposed to take their cues from nature. As a species, humans should be more active during the warmer spring months. And to do this, we need proper nourishment. Qi (pronounced “chee”) is sometimes translated into energy. This Qi is the vital substance that keeps our bodies functioning until the day we die. To keep the Qi plentiful, we need to eat the proper foods at the proper times.

The spring season is the season of the wood element, the color green, and the liver's energetic pathway. When a tree is nourished properly, it will grow and expand. This is very similar to what happens with the body and spirit within every living being. Just like the wood that makes up the tree's trunk, we must be able to be flexible and bend, constantly changing and adapting to whatever comes our way. We need to remain solid and rooted yet able to give a little if needed.

The color green is beneficial to supporting the liver’s detoxification function and strengthening vision. Incorporating green foods will significantly improve the function of the liver and help keep the wood element personality balanced. And since spring is the time of year when there is an abundance of fresh greens available, it makes perfect sense to incorporate them into the daily diet more regularly.

We should be eating foods that have upward energies during the spring, such as sprouting vegetables. But we also need foods that will provide the extra nourishment needed for the increased amounts of activity that accompany the season of spring. This is where sweeter foods play a vital role. But be careful not to overdo it. Too many sweet foods can overload the body and make it sluggish.

Here are four foods to eat this spring.

1. Sprouts: High in protein, vitamins, and minerals, these little powerhouses are both easy to find and easy to use. Sprouts come in many varieties, all possessing the energetic and nutritional potential of the plant they would become.

2. Radishes: Pungent in flavor, radishes are perfect for the springtime. They help move liver Qi and open up the liver meridian.

3. Bitter Leafy Greens: Spring is the appropriate time for liver cleansing, which is what the bitter flavor does. So adding things like dandelion greens, arugula, radicchio, mustard greens, and spinach will help tremendously.

4. Sour Citrus Fruits: Foods like lemons, limes, and grapefruit are all good choices that help cut fats that may have been stored up in the body during the winter months, while also keeping the liver Qi moving smoothly.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, spring is the season of the liver and the gallbladder. These organs regulate a smooth flow of energy throughout the whole body. However, they are prone to stagnation because we do not properly care for ourselves. This can manifest as anger, irritability, depression, insomnia, and even pain. Stagnation can occur when people eat too many foods of poor quality that may be full of chemicals.

Contact us if you are curious about how to eat according to the seasons. We can guide you along your healing journey through the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine and nutritional counseling. Consider trying a different, more natural approach to health with Traditional Chinese Medicine. Click here to schedule your consultation, or contact our office at (772) 398-4550.

Wishing you the best of health,

Dr. Stuart Shipe, D.A.O.M., R.Ph.

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