Spring is in the Air!
“Like increases like, opposites cure,” is the science of Ayurveda, as well as “we prepare for the next season in the current season.” As we move out of the cold, damp winter months incorporating food and drinks with hot, dry, light qualities help to counter the cold, moist and heavy qualities of the Kapha season, we want to be sure we not holding onto heat in the body when summer arrives. We begin to incorporate the tastes of:
Pungent: taste is stimulant and promotes sweating, promoting heat and digestion and counters cold sensations, improving circulation and gets the blood flowing; ginger, cayenne, cardamom, mint, chiles, onions, etc.
Bitter: taste is blood purifying and detoxifying, increasing lightness in mind and body. It helps to digest sugar and fat; alfalfa sprouts, asparagus, artichokes, beans, broccolis, brussel sprouts, endive, etc.
Astringent: taste promotes healing of the skin and mucus membranes, it is an expectorant and diuretic; Leafy and green vegetables are lighter and drying, possessing blood-cleansing properties as well as celery, carrots which stimulate the flow of blood, kale and kohlrabi, etc.
Most beans are astringent and this is the time to incorporate barely which is a diuretic, nourishing the skin, clears edema and strengthens the kidneys.
Barley Mint Salad
3 1/ 2 cups of water
1 cup pearled barley
1 ear of fresh corn
1 tbsp of grapeseed oil
1 tsp of cumin seeds
½ tsp ajwain seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
½ lemon, freshly juiced
¼ cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
¼ cup fresh dill, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp organic non dairy yogurt
Bring Water to a boil in a medium-size pan. Rinse Barely and add to boiling water. Cover and boil over medium heat for 30 minutes. Strain barley, but retain the cooking water. Bring this water to a boil in a separate saucepan. Husk corn and use a paring knife to remove corn from the cob. Blanch the corn in boiling water for 3 minutes, strain and retain the corn water. Heat grapeseed oil in a large skillet and lightly roast the cumin and ajwain seeds over medium heat until they turn a dark golden color. Stir in coriander powder, add the lemon juice. Turn off heat and blend in fresh mint and dill. Pour the water into skillet, add yogurt and whisk mixture gently to mix the dressing.
With literally hundreds of greens to choose from, why limit your pesto to basil? In this pesto, parsley drains excess spring moisture and purifies the blood. Apple cider vinegar is a cholagogue that drains excess bile from the liver, effectively draining the blood of fats. Raw garlic pushes heat to the exterior, helpful to move winter blood stagnation and refresh your skin for spring. Raw garlic also purges and cleanses the bowels, and the gall bladder. Black pepper is a cardiac stimulant to get your ticker pumping.
2 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
¼ tsp of Chipotle Chili
½ cup cilantro
2 cloves of garlic
½ cup olive oil
½ cup of fresh parsley
1 tsp of mineral salt
Pulverize half of a chipotle chili in a coffee grinder. Mix in 5 drops of water to form a paste. Let sit 5 minutes to release flavor. Coarsely chop parsley and cilantro. Add all ingredients to food processor and blend. Serve immediately, refrigerate for 1-2 days or freeze for longer term storage.
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cardamon seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Grind all seeds and peppercorns in a hand grinder or mortar and pestle to fine powder. Store in an airtight glass jar.
Sublime Spinach Masala
2 bunches of spinach
1 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp Spring Masala
1 tsp tamarind paste
¼ cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp rock salt
Wash the spinach and trim stems. Melt ghee in a large skillet, and roast the spring masala for 30 seconds over medium heat until the ghee starts to bubble. Add the wet spinach. Stir, cover and let simmer for 3 minutes until the leaves turn limp. Dilute the tamarind paste in warm water and add to the spinach mixture, along with the sugar and salt. Stir, cover and simmer for 3 minutes more. Serve over rice, tofu, etc.
Big Fig Smoothie (meal for 2 or 4 snacks)
*5 dried figs, soaked or fresh figs
Water for soaking
Either: 4 cups of the following; unpasteurized apple juice or any raw juice, almond milk
1 pear or apple
½ avocado or 1 mango
¼ cup ground flax meal
2 tablespoons flax seed oil
1-2 tsp raw honey
Add all ingredients to blender and blend on high.
*If using dried figs, soak for about ½ hour. Add your favorite protein powder or other nutritional supplements.
Warm Ginger Cider
4 cups fresh raw apple cider
Cinnamon powder or ½ cinnamon stick
Slices of lemon
Fresh ground ginger root
1 tablespoon cloves, whole
Mix all ingredients together in a pan and bring to a slow simmer. Strain and enjoy. This is one of my favorites at night.
Herbs for Spring....
Triphala: In treating any type of digestion imbalance, I have found that the best medicine is the Ayurvedic formula Triphala, consisting of 3 tropical fruits, haritaki, amalaka and bibhitaki, creating not only an herbal laxative but also works to correct the absorption of Prana in the colon. Triphala is a rejuvenative for the large intestine and for the life force. Normalizing the absorption of Prana, it can aid in strengthening the life-force as a whole, which helps with many health issues. Taking 1-2 tablets 15-30 minutes before a meal helps start your digestions.
Tulisi (Holy Basil)
Next to the Lotus, Tulisi is perhaps the most sacred plant of India, its quality is pure Sattva opening the mind and heart. It is an effective diaphoretic in most colds, flus and lung issues, removing excess phlegm from the nasal passages and lungs and increasing prana and strengthens the nerve tissues. Enjoy it as a tea with honey.
Another great diaphoretic is the Elder Berry/Flower which helps cleanse the lymphatics and plasma along with subtle channels and capillaries, working primarily on the lungs and respiratory system. Elder Berry is a cooling diaphoretic which have additional cleansing action on the liver and blood. Enjoy as a tea or syrup!