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Yi Song, L.Ac View Entire Blog

Spring Cleanse

2/19/2016
Spring is here…and as we begin to notice buds pushing up and out and beginning to bloom, the yang energy of all things begins to take on this same vital force. Yang energy is ascending and expanding in nature. Chinese Medical Texts such as the ”Inner Classic” remind us that it is time to begin to wake early with the sun and be more active. It is important to move our Qi at this time. Even what may seem like small activities like taking a brisk walk or beginning the day with 10 minutes of yoga can have profound influences on our health and well being.

As we transition into Spring, we notice that our appetites decrease. This is a natural and healthy way to begin natural cleanses that our bodies (and livers) need at this time. In TCM, each season relates to its own organ network, and so Spring relates the the Liver and Gallbladder. During this time we emphasize food that have the same yang energy that we see around us. Sprouts, young plants and fresh greens are all great examples. We stay away from the heavy foods that are descending in nature and were a big part of our winter diets. Things like dark miso, heavy soy sauces, fatty foods, sodium laden meats, are all sinking in nature. We should try to avoid these now during the rebirth of Spring.

Pungent foods, because they are expansive in nature are recommended by the classics. These foods are thought to create a ”Spring within”. An example of how to do this is have fresh mint tea with a little concentrated sweetener inside, such as honey. It is refreshing and invigorating.

Herbs like: basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill, bay leaf are all great for this time of year. Consider seeds, young grains and legume which are all sprouting in nature. Young beets, carrots and other sweet starchy veggies are all good to have now.

Even cooking and food prep methods should be reflected with the change of season. We can consider cooking foods for shorter periods of time at higher temps in order to not cook food quite as thoroughly especially on the inside.

Our primary focus should be on detoxing the liver at this time. One powerful and ridiculously simple routine to add to one’s morning is a glass of either warm or room temperature water with half a lemon squeezed into it. This is an incredible tonic for cleansing the liver and other organs and maintaining weight management.

Bitter and sour foods tend to reduce excess in the liver. Having a tablespoon of raw organic apple cider vinegar can aid in digestion, reduce stagnation in the stomach, and can reduce or eliminate acid reflux. Rye, romaine lettuce, asparagus, amaranth, dandelion root are all examples of bitter foods that support liver health.

In closing keeping, Spring is the time to keep a diet full a fresh green veggies either steamed (to retain moisture) or lightly cooked, fresh fruit and young grains. Remember to make time to take brisk walks and get whatever exercise suits you to move the liver Qi. Get to bed early and rise early with the sun. May the ascending, growing and outward movement of the creative yang energy grow within you!