There are many reasons to look forward to Spring. Besides being able to spend more time outside our New York City apartments, the early Spring days bring the promise of Summer, and with that, a variety of fresh, local, and seasonal produce. Eating seasonally provides a range of health benefits. By purchasing produce during its peak season, you are enjoying food when it is at its best flavor and contains its highest nutritional value. Spring represents a time of renewal and growth. It is a time to refresh the body and mind and support our detoxification organs. Synergistically, Spring is also the time when bitter and astringent greens are available. These bitter greens, like dandelion, nettle, arugula, watercress, and mustard support the liver, purify and detoxify our tissues. Now that springtime is here, this is the perfect opportunity to naturally give your body a spring-cleaning!
HERE ARE 5 SPRINGTIME FOOD TIPS:
1. GO FOR THE GREENS: In spring, focus on the tender, leafy vegetables and fill you plate with an abundance of them. They are plentiful this time of year and their use has always been associated with freshening, cleaning, and building the body. Some local greens to include are dandelion arugula, parsley, chard, spinach, watercress, pea shoots, turnip greens, mache, endive, and kale. Other green spring vegetables include asparagus, artichoke, fiddleheads, nettles, and leeks. Greens are a nutritional powerhouse and are high in Vitamins A, C, K, folate and calcium.
2. SPEND LESS TIME IN THE KITCHEN: Spring is a time to use minimal cooking techniques, such as light steaming, minimal sautéing, or blending. This helps to seal in nutrients and enzymes. Add more raw foods or lightly cooked foods into your diet by tossing raw radishes or fresh herbs into your salads or whip out the blender for some seasonal soups. Hooray, less time spent in the kitchen!
3. LIGHTEN IT UP: After a long winter of eating heavy foods, spring is all about ridding your diet of heavy foods, so say goodbye to that truffle mac and cheese. Spring is the time to focus on fresh light foods. Your diet should include more raw foods, salads, live ferments, fruits, sprouts, green juices, and wild edibles.
4. ADD SOME SPICE: Pungent, warming and drying spices such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, cumin, fennel work to eliminate toxins from the body. These stimulating spices also help to release the dullness of Winter from our bodies and mind. Ginger and turmeric are some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods and are available during this time.
5. SHOP OUTDOORS: Farmers markets are finally beginning to look more colorful and diverse. This is the perfect time to venture away from Fresh Direct and take a trip to your local farmers market for the season’s best bounty. We recommend shopping the Union Square Market or using this guide to find a farmers market close to your home.
By Francesca Alfano, MS
Certified Holistic Health Coach, Cooking Instructor + Author of Sprouting From The Soul
Based in New York, Francesca has her M.S. in Clinical Nutrition and Integrative Health from Maryland University of Integrative Health. She prides herself on educating, inspiring, and empowering her clients. Francesca encourages clients to “start where they are“, and has a thorough understanding of the importance of food for nutrition, health, and pleasure. Francesca features a mix of her plant-based recipes, wellness and nutrition tips, and all things SOULful on her blog. Francesca is on a mission to bring more whole foods to your plate and nourishment to your soul by providing you with the right tools and knowledge to show that eating healthy can be simple and and satisfying. Find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where she shares tips and strategies for living a healthier lifestyle. Check out her full bio here.
Contact us to book your consultation with Francesca at KIMA.