When I think of spring a few things that come to mind are rain, flowing rivers, pollen, budding flowers and variable temperatures. According to Ayurveda the qualities of spring include liquid (rain/water), cold (cool temps), heavy (think heavy, saturated soil) and oily (think of that not so awesome oily sheen on poison ivy leaves!). To stay healthy, balanced and free from congestion during the spring season it’s important to incorporate diet and lifestyle choices that are the opposites of spring qualities. Here are some tips to help keep you healthy, happy and on the water this spring season:
- Drink warm water with lemon first thing in the morning. The warm water helps to stimulate digestion and the sour taste of lemon also stimulates digestion and has a scrapping effect on fat and toxins (undigested metabolic waste) in the body.
- Keep warm and dry. This means wear your drysuit when you’re out paddling so that you stay warm. Don’t underdress just because some days/weeks are warm. Pay attention to the weather and wear enough clothing, including socks and shoes to keep you warm and dry.
- Drink warming teas that include cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and clove.
- Avoid eating a large breakfast (Ayurveda does not subscribe to the idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In fact, skipping breakfast can be a gentle cleanse that boosts your digestion and immunity).
- Exercise everyday – walking in nature is considered by Ayurveda to be one of the best exercises you can do for you body, mind, spirit.
- Eat lots of bitter greens and leafy greens (they’re in season!).
- Avoid cold foods and drinks (yes, that means ice water – or ice in anything).
- Avoid dairy, sugar and wheat. Honey is the best sweetener for spring time because it has a heating quality (but don’t cook with it or put it into boiling water). Avoiding dairy will go a long way in clearing up congestion in the head, throat and chest. In Ayurveda sugar, dairy and wheat are considered heavy so we want to stay away from these foods during spring season.
- Eat dried fruit, apples, pomegranates and pears
- Cook with warming spices including cumin, turmeric, coriander, fennel, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and clove.
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