The seasons are changing and our bodies are changing along with the nature. I can usually tell when the seasons are about to change because my body is starting to ask for a different kind of nourishment. As of last week, my belly is predicting the coming of Spring! Every Thursday I try to stop by Lifethyme to get lunch. The entire winter I kept choosing the same dish: a rich medley of roasted squash, zucchini, and onions with a bean casserole. It was nourishing, warm, and very hearty – a perfect meal for a dry cold Vata season. Last week, when the weather changed from freezing cold to a slightly warmer breeze my regular lunch didn’t seem so appetizing anymore. Instead I was craving something bitter and spicy. According to Ayurveda such shift in cravings is normal during Spring time. Both ancient Ayurvedic text such as Charaka Samhita, and modern ayurvedic practitioners including Dr Vassant Lad agree that it is natural to crave foods that have bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes during the cold wet Kapha season (Spring). All the foods that are warm, light, dry, and spicy help to counter balance the heavy dull qualities of Kapha.
Since our needs are changing, so should our grocery list! To make it easier for you I created a short Springtime shopping list. Use it to stock up on seasonal goodies, to cleanse your body from the heavy winter pounds, rejuvenate your digestion, and prevent the onset of a seasonal depression. The Spring is coming!!!
Note: Always buy fresh, organic and local if you can. Herbs can be dried. Please don’t buy frozen or canned food!!! It is considered dead according by all ayurvedic principles.
Springtime Shopping List
Vegetables: Arugula, asparagus, beets, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, chili peppers, daikon radish, dandelion greens, endive, garlic, green beans, spinach, jicama, onions, kale, parsley, green peas, sprouts, watercress. Cut back on sweet and watery veggies such as cucumbers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini.
Fruits: Lemons, apples, applesauce, dried apricots, dried cherries, pears, persimmon, pomegranate, prunes, raisins. Fruits to cut back on: Out of season fruits and high pesticide fruits like non-organic grapes and berries. In general avoid very sweet or very sour or very juicy or very watery fruits: avocado, bananas, melons.
Grains: Barley, bran, buckwheat, dry cereals, granola (dry with NO milk or added sugar) or muesli, millet, oats, spelt, sprouted bread Grains to cut back on: Bread (containing yeast), pasta, rice flour, wheat (tamasic dull mind), whole wheat flour.
Protein (Beans, Legumes, Meat): Adzuki beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, chick peas, lentils—red and brown, lima beans, mung beans, navy beans, pinto beans, split peas,white beans; chicken—white, eggs, fish—freshwater, pheasant, rabbit, shrimp, turkey—white, venison. Avoid: Red meat, tofu, and kidney beans
Seeds: chia, flax, popcorn, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.
Beverages: aloe vera juice, spiced apple cider (drink hot with a stick of cinnamon), apple juice, bancha tea, cinnamon tea, dandelion tea, hibiscus tea, jasmine tea, lemon balm lemon grass tea, peppermint tea, yerba mate. If you crave alcohol, dry wines are best. Avoid: Milk shakes, cold drinks, iced smoothies, carbonated drinks, and hard alcohol
Oils: ghee, olive oil, mustard oil, almond oil, sunflower oil
Dairy: buttermilk, goat’s cheese—unsalted and not aged (try Queso Blanc from the Patches of Star farm on Union Square Farmers Market), ghee, non-fat milk, goat’s milk (avoid homogenized if possible) Avoid: Sweetened yogurts, aged cheese, blue cheese, cream, butter, and ice cream :(. (Hold on until summer)
Sweeteners: honey (raw, uncooked only)
Spices: Ginger, Cumin, Cilantro, Black Pepper, Sesame Seeds, Mustard without vinegar.
Have fun food shopping and let me know in the comments section what your favorite ingredient is from this list and I will create a Spring detox recipe just for your taste!