Springtime Eating – Nutrition for Recovery
Eating with the seasons is healing to the body, to our community and the planet. When we eat according to nature’s cycles, we reconnect with its rhythms and patterns. At the same time, we nourish and nurture the body with high-octane, super nutritious foods that require less energy to grow and transport. For millennia, we have been eating in sync with the earth’s natural rotation, which has meant eating what is growing at the moment within our reach.
For those of us in recovery, it is particularly important to align ourselves with the earth and its natural rhythms. As creatures of the earth, we’re meant to live in connection to it. The life of addiction takes us away from this connection. The life of recovery is about reconnecting with our true nature.
Eating with the Earth’s Rhythms – Grounding and Centering
As the earth warms, flora and fauna wake up and begin to show off. It’s a perfect time to cleanse the body by taking advantage of gorgeous greens that are in season.
For centuries, Ayurvedic practitioners, as well as ancient Chinese herbal doctors, have subscribed to a diet that honors the season. Eating what is harvested in the present season, aligning ourselves with the rhythms of nature.
Spring is a time of renewal as flowers and trees sprout and bring new life to the planet. This is the perfect time to honor your body with seasonal greens and fruit. In our western culture, industrialization has made it possible to have all foods at all times of the year. We can obtain most any food from anywhere.
Many of us live by a routine. Rituals and habits can be a healthy thing. When it comes to food, the more diverse, the better. Often, however, many of us eat the same foods over and over again.
Eating in line with the seasons is a centering ritual. It connects us to the earth, to the ground of our being. It is how we’ve eaten for most of our life on the planet – eating what we could forage or plant.
Eating Locally and Seasonally Heals and Supports Your Liver
The liver is one of the hardest working organs in the body. It cleanses and purifies the body, while deciphering what foods are nourishing and what foods need to be detoxed out of the body. It is the only organ that can regenerate itself from a few cells.
Eating a seasonal diet for recovery means eating mostly vegetables, fruits nuts, and seeds and, occasionally, whole grains and legumes (if your body can handle them.) Some of us prefer meat in our diet. If so, take it slowly, eating only free-range, grass-fed, organic meat and fish.
When we eat a mostly vegetarian diet our bodies get a chance to relax. Digesting vegetables is markedly different from digesting meat and dairy. Vegetables take a lot less time and energy to digest than meat and dairy. Green leafy vegetables and some fruits are full of vitamins and minerals the body needs to function at its optimal levels and to protect itself from disease.
Eating Locally and Seasonally is Delicious
While eating local vegetables and fruits in their proper season has a variety of benefits for our health, it also supports local farmers and has less impact on the environment.
This spring, support your body by eating from your local farmers’ market and co-op. They will have what is seasonal and local.
Organic, green leafy vegetables, such as arugula, kale, chard, dandelion, lettuce, and spinach are a great way to add chlorophyll and oxygen into your diet. Stalk greens, such as asparagus and rhubarb are glorious in the spring. You can eat leafy greens and stalk vegetables raw, blended in a smootie, steamed, roasted, or sauteed in coconut oil, avocado oil or ghee to give you plant foods that are full of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
You can complement these greens with some sweet spring vegetables like beets, onions and parsnips. These root vegetables are delicious, tossed with coconut oil, avocado oil, or ghee and roasted in the oven at 400 degrees until crispy.
Another great way to bring spring into your diet is with seasonings. Cilantro, basil, dill, parsley all add flavor and provide a detoxing effect on the liver.
Health Benefits of Local and Organic
You can start eating seasonally by visiting your local farmer’s market. As vegetables are shipped from around the world to our local supermarkets, they lose nutrients along the way. Produce that is grown and harvested in our local communities provides a higher nutrient content than foods that are imported from other parts of the world.
Organic farmers do not use any pesticides or chemicals in growing their crops, making the crops taste, smell and feel different. The pesticides and chemicals used on larger farms can leave a residue on the produce and can also be found within the fruit or vegetable, making it toxic. These toxins can build up in our bodies causing health issues from headaches to cancers. By choosing to eat local and organic foods you are choosing to eat poison-free food, protecting your body from premature aging and potential disease.
Eating Locally and Seasonally Creates Mindfulness
Eating in line with the seasons leads to a heightened sense of awareness and excitement as the season for your favorite local produce arrives. This spring, give yourself the gift of visiting your local farmer’s market. You will delight your senses and heal your body with life-giving food from the earth.