Reduce Spring Congestion with These 3 Foods

Reduce Spring Congestion with These 3 Foods

Spring is around the corner, and now is a good time to start prepping to feel healthy and full of energy when the warm weather shows up, everything starts to thaw, and the blooms pop up!

When you don’t have an awareness of the qualities of spring season it can be easy to eat the wrong things and exacerbate allergies and congestion.

Instead, learn what to eat in spring to feel clear in body and mind.

First, let’s take a look at spring season through the lens of Ayurveda, the 5000 year old sister science to yoga.

According to Ayurveda, spring season is associated with Kapha constitution (Earth/Water). The qualities of Kapha are: Heavy, cold, oily, slow, slimy, soft, static, dense, liquid.

Think rain that brings the rivers up, cool weather, heavy mud and soft blooms. Sound like spring?!

At first glance, Kapha may seem to have ‘negative’ qualities – at least according to our modern culture. When in balance though, Kapha has many positive qualities such as: Solid bone structure, lustrous eyes and hair, and joints that are healthy, flexible and well lubricated. Kapha types may move slowly, but they have great endurance and stamina.

When out of balance, Kapha types, or someone who has too much Kapha accumulation in the body due to poor diet and lifestyle, will experience  mucous buildup, congestion, extra weight, lethargy, sluggishness and persistent allergies. 

It’s most important to tailor your diet to incorporate foods that have the opposite qualities of Kapha in spring season. Like builds up like so if you continue eating heavy foods in spring/Kapha season, you bring more heaviness to your body and mind.

Instead, here are 3 foods to add to your diet to lighten up for spring season:
Dandelion Greens

Yes, I’m talking about the leaves of the lawn weed! Dandelion greens have been used for thousands of years to support the liver and help the body cleanse. They have a bitter taste that helps the body and the mind lighten up. You can add them to salads, smoothies or steam them. Another way to reap the benefits of dandelion is to enjoy dandelion tea. If you want to feel great this spring, incorporate dandelion

greens as a staple veggie.

Quinoa

Quinoa is low on the glycemic index, high in fiber and protein, and gluten free. It’s a lot lighter than rice or pasta, and it tastes great, especially when cooked with yummy digestive spices likeginger,coriander, cumin and turmeric. I’ve included my favorite recipe for curried quinoa below 🙂

 

Chai tea – black or with vegan milk

The spices in chai tea are warming, light and digestive – the opposite of the qualities of Kapha. In fact, any tea that contains ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise and/or clove, is good for spring season. I highly recommend cooking with these spices as well. They all promote circulation (the antidote to congestion and stagnation) and ginger especially has anti-inflammatory properties.

And, here are 3 foods to eliminate from your diet (just for spring) to help reduce congestion and increase clarity and lightness.
Wheat

Wheat is heavy and considered to be sweet taste according to Ayurveda. In spring season it’s important to reduce sweet and heavy qualities in diet and lifestyle as much as possible. Avoid pasta, bread and flour tortillas. Don’t worry, you can come back to them in summer season! It’s good to give your body a break and allow it to lighten up.

Dairy

This is probably the most important food group to give up during spring season. Dairy creates phlegm in the body. Skeptical? Next time you drink a glass of milk, eat cheese or ice cream, notice the after affects. Your throat and sinuses will get a little congested and phlegmy. I notice it most in my throat.

As I mentioned above, Kapha qualities include wet, heavy and stagnant. That means that those qualities are already present in your environment during spring season, and your body is more susceptible to them during this time. Help your body and mind out by avoiding dairy until the heat of summer season. You’ll feel a lot lighter and clearer.

Sugar

Sweet taste is considered a heavy, grounding taste according to Ayurveda. Spring season already has plenty of heavy and grounding quality. Reduce your sugar intake in spring to lighten up and give yourself more sustained energy. As with wheat and dairy, you can enjoy more sweet taste in summer and fall.

The overall idea is to eat bitter and pungent tasting foods in spring season that will support circulation, digestion and cleansing, and reduce congestion, stagnation and heaviness.

If you want help optimizing your diet your for spring season, join my Guided Spring Cleanse coming up March 22nd. Join a group of like-minded and supportive women to lighten and clear your body for your healthiest spring season yet! Click Here to learn more and register.

Anna’s Curried Quinoa Recipe with Steamed Veggies

You’ll learn to prepare and cook this in my Guided Spring Cleanse!

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • Veggies of your choice (if you choose sweet potato as a veggie then also choose broccoli or brussel  sprouts – something green).
  • Slice of lime
  • 1 tsp ghee or coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped
  • handful of sunflower seeds
  • handful of cilantro
  • wedge of lime
Soak the quinoa in water for 5-10 min and rinse with a fine strainer. Heat the ghee in a saucepan on medium heat. Add Ginger, Cumin, Coriander and Turmeric. Mix in with ghee. Add the quinoa, the cup of water and the salt. Bring to a boil, turn down to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit a few minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking, wash and chop your veggies and place in the steamer. Put a cup of water in the bottom of the pot with a pinch of salt, place the steamer inside the pot, cover and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling and steaming you can turn it down to 8 ish on the stove and let it simmer/boil. Keep an eye on the veggies, you don’t want them to be limp. You want to be able to stick a fork in them, but they still hold firm. This should take 10 min. or maybe less.
Place the quinoa in a bowl, put the steamed veggies on top, add a handful of cilantro, sunflower seeds, and squeeze the slice of lime over it all. Enjoy mindfully.

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