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Welcoming Spring With Our Diet

It’s the quintessential spring day. It’s sixty degrees in the bright, clear sunshine while in the shade winter lingers. The magnolia outside my window is covered in fat, hopeful buds ready to burst into flower. All winter she has been saving her energy in anticipation of her blooming. If you’ve been following the rhythms of nature, you too have been turned inward, conserving energy, nourishing your body and keeping warm.

And now it’s time for us to bloom!

What Happens in Our Bodies During Spring

As the sun comes closer and the days grow long, you may be feeling a surge of motivation to clean out closets and declutter drawers. After the long dark winter we feel ready to shake it off and shake things up! We feel inspired to get our bodies moving and lighten up the menu. These are the rhythms of nature.

Much like the moon, we wax and wane. Half the year we build and nourish, and the other half of the year we cleanse and clear.

Spring is ruled by the elements of Earth + Water (kapha in Ayurveda). Together these elements are strong, steady, solid and sturdy. However, in excess, these energies can become stagnant, stuck and heavy.

In the body, these same elements govern the bodily fluids (water) and physical structure (earth). When in balance they give us strength, immunity and a sense of well being.

When in excess they can cause lethargy, weight gain, congestion, and pain. Think post nasal drip, watery eyes and water retention. We can literally “overflow” as the water element increases. Excess earth can cause blockages such as clogged arteries or excess tissue formation, as in cysts and tumors. It can manifest as stiff or painful joints as it settles into empty spaces.

Foods To Keep Us in Balance Now

While winter has us consuming deeply nourishing (augmenting) foods, in spring we shift to more cleansing (extracting) foods. And that’s just what grows in springtime!

Ayurvedic cleansing has a dramatic effect on many chronic conditions. While it is best done with the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner, you can still benefit just by incorporating more cleansing foods into your spring menu.

To shift into spring, begin to move away from heavier and animal-based foods, and begin to include more dark leafy greens, beans and lentils.

The best way to reduce excess kapha is by including foods that have bitter, pungent and astringent qualities. Things like broccoli, asparagus, kale, spinach, swiss chard and dandelion have the bitter and astringent taste needed to break up excess kapha. Pungent foods like garlic, onion and ginger also show up just in time for spring cleansing.

Carrot + Celery Soup is an Ayurvedic classic that offers the cleansing action of celery, great for cleansing the blood, with the nourishing quality of carrots, which support the nervous system. Ajwain seeds ensure that your digestive fire is stoked (it can be dampened by all that kapha), unlocking the nutrients of the vegetables.

And best of all, it’s tasty! Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and enjoy with a slice of sourdough bread and ghee for a perfect spring meal!

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