Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Anticipating the Spring; adapting your food to the Environment

Hello Little Darlings, I have risen from my hibernation period! Just like many other warm blooded creatures who tuck themselves away in a cozy den for the Winter, I have been making a conscious effort to hide from the elements. Don’t get me wrong, I was outside in my snow pants and boots freeing my car from its icy shell at the first sign of sunshine. I also tried taking a few walks to adjust to the frigid environment, which was an adventure of its own; between the icy sidewalks and wind it was not much fun. Driving has also been interesting with snow covered side streets and potholes galore. It almost feels like being on a mogul ski course. I am thinking that Phildelphia could host the next 
Winter X Games featuring a brand new event!

As the weather begins to warm the last bit of snow gives way to cold rain, perhaps my least favorite element. Phildelphia is notorious for cold, damp rain in early spring. It is my theory that this is why the British were so invested in Phildelphia because it reminded them of their home country, with a little more sunshine. (I would also place Boston and NYC in this category! ) All kidding aside, this Winter has just not been great for my sense of creativity. Instead it was just a time for quiet, rest, gentle and restorative yoga, and self reflection.

Now that Spring is here we are experiencing a little more sunshine but it is still quite cold outside. 
All this inconsistency in the weather patterns makes it much more difficult for our bodies to adjust. 
We generally recommend preparing for the Spring before its arrival by emphasizing more light refreshing dishes and cutting back on the hearty, longer cooked dishes. But when it is cold outside, our bodies still crave warming rich food. While these foods are a great balance for cold, they can also create a bit of physical and emotional heaviness. By this I mean that heavier food makes our condition more inclined to be less active. Spring is a time of transition and it is natural to want to become more active. In order to become more active, we need to adjust our diet and start including lighter, more refreshing foods to align with the spring weather on its way. However, because this has been a particularly long winter, and it is still quite cold and damp outside, the changes we make to our diet for this year may need to be more subtle. Here are a few little adjustments that will help you feel lighter and more refreshed while still keeping you warm through this long seasonal transition.

*Barley is very helpful. You can cook barley together with brown rice or make a nice barley, bean, 
  vegetable stew.
*Longer steamed vegetables, such as sweet potato, green cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli offer a nice substantial choice. These vegetables are very satisfying because of their mild sweet taste. The longer cooking gives them a little more sustenance and is lighter than a longer cooked stew. An added bonus is that they are quick and easy to prepare. If you desire a little richness, it is fine to drizzle a little olive oil on the vegetables while they are cooking.
*Have quick steamed greens often or daily and add a little squeeze of fresh lemon immediately before consuming.
*Finally, don't get too carried away with sweets. The cold, damp weather can often contribute to hypoglycemic symptoms causing us to crave more sweets than usual. It is important to include good quality sweets daily but not just in the form of desserts. 
*For a list of "good quality sweets" and recipes please check out my previous posts from
 Spring 2012. Thank you!

Sunshine and snow on Rittenhouse Square