Good bye winter stagnation and welcome to the refreshing spring time. Below are a couple of tips to help you during this creative period.
1. Wake up and stretch – Rising earlier and beginning a healthy morning routine of walking or stretching will help alert your brain that it’s time to wake up. As you set your internal clock to the sun, you will be better able to use your energy during the day and rest more soundly at night. In traditional chinese medicine they say the liver stores blood during periods of rest and then releases it to the tendons in times of activity, maintaining tendon health and flexibility. Try a gentle routine of yoga or tai chi moves.
2. Get outside and move – The liver is easy to stagnate in the spring. Fresh air, and outdoor activities of all kinds can keep liver Qi flowing. Especially if you have been feeling irritable, find tranquility in nature by taking a hike or walking through a park to smooth out that liver Qi and move stagnation.
3. Taste sour – Foods and drinks with sour tastes stimulate the liver Qi. Put lemon slices in your drinking water, use vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing or garnish your sandwich with a slice of dill pickle. It has a contracting, astringent effect and dries and firms. A small amount of the sour flavor is essential for a balanced liver, but be careful not to consume too much or it may cause dryness.
4. Breath easy – You can get into the habit of cleansing of the sinuses with a neti pot/inhalation therapy and consuming raw, local honey. Honey nourishes, moistens and lubricates the intestines. A warm glass of water with a tablespoon of honey is a soothing way to start your day, add some fresh squeezed lemon juice and it’s the perfect spring tonic.
5. Rest your digestion – A good way to cleanse and prepare for renewal is by reducing consumption. Our naturopath can guide you on the best way to do a balanced and healthy cleanse.
6. Eat green – Green is the color of the liver and of springtime. Eating young plants like fresh, leafy greens, sprouts, and immature cereal grasses can improve the liver’s overall functions and aid in the movement of Qi.
7. Try lymphatic massage – This gentle form of massage helps the body’s lymphatic system rev up while strengthening the immune system and increasing white blood cell count Dry brushing your skin is one easy way to slough off winter’s dead skin and stimulate lymph drainage revealing a more vibrant glow to your skin. Our body’s largest organ should look and feel good.
8. Plant some seeds – Activities for grounding and nurturing like planting in the spring can have a soothing effect on the mind and help anchor any rising Liver energy. Start planting seeds inside now or outside around the middle of May. Think you don’t have green thumb? Cultivating a windowsill herb garden requires little to no gardening skills and it’s a handy way to add fresh flavors to your meals. Veggies like kale, leafy greens and some flower bulbs actually prefer the cooler temperatures to early spring so don’t shy away from planting outside especially if there is no frost on the ground.
Makes 2 generous servings
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 bunch spinach or baby chard, rinsed and chopped
- 1 bunch asparagus, washed and chopped, with woody ends removed
- 10 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
Saute garlic in 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over high heat for 2 minutes or until tender. Add quinoa and another tablespoon of oil to coat the quinoa. Reduce heat to medium and toast, stirring constantly, until the quinoa turns brown (about 10 minutes).
Add the broth or water and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes (until liquid is absorbed).
While the quinoa is cooking, saute the mushrooms in remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until soft. Add asparagus and cook until just tender. Add the greens and cook until wilted. Remove bay leaf and add the mushroom and greens to the quinoa. Add the almonds, and stir well to combine. Season with the soy sauce.