Monthly Archives: May 2016

Eat For the Season: A Spring Recipe to Soothe the Liver and Keep the Qi Flowing

asparagus“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos – the trees, the clouds, everything.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

There is a symbiotic relationship between man and nature, both of which can thrive when we choose to live in harmony with the space that we occupy. Eating seasonally and locally is about much more than just being socially and environmentally conscious. The health implications can be quite profound.

In every season the foods that grow in our region have the added bonus of providing us with the taste and temperature properties that help our bodies adjust to the season. The cycle in which plants flower, and fruits and vegetables grow and ripen, corresponds with the changing needs of our bodies from season to season.

In Chinese Medicine theory, Spring is the season of the Liver meridan, who’s function is strongly associated with nourishment, movement, and the smooth flow of qi. When the channel is out of balance, symptoms such as anger, irritability, muscle aches and pain, stiff joints, spasms, headaches, red itchy eyes, constipation, and feelings of heat or agitation appear.

Foods that help to keep this channel system functioning well tend to be sour in flavor and green in color. Examples include citrus, berries, leeks, leafy greens, and vinegar. Conversely, greasy or spicy foods, alcohol, and amphetamines can have a negative impact on this channel system.

If you’re feeling irritable or stuck, or allergies are stalling your momentum, try this simple but delicious spring recipe to help get your body back on track!

QUINOA SALAD WITH SPRING GREENS & LEMON BASIL DRESSING

Serves: 4-6, Prep Time: 5 min, Cook Time: 30 min, Total Time: 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

For the Dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad:

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small bunch asparagus, about 15 spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar snap peas, remove stem and string and cut in halves or thirds (original recipe calls for frozen peas)
2 cups fresh arugula (original recipe calls for 1 avocado, chopped)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped basil

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a small bowl or medium jar, combine the dressing ingredients. Whisk to combine or shake with the jar lid on tight. Set aside.
2. Add water, quinoa, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
3. While the quinoa is cooking, cook the asparagus and sugar snap peas. In a large
skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the asparagus, peas, and fresh
lemon juice. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, asparagus, sugar snap peas, and arugula. Pour
the dressing over the salad and stir until well coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the fresh basil and serve.

I found this recipe on: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/

Modifications to the original recipe are indicated in parentheses. Enjoy!

Leave Comments to this post

Go with the Flow: Find Your Spring Groove in the Year of the Red Fire Monkey

monkey“The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
– Alan W. Watts

February 8, 2016 marked the beginning of the year of the Red Fire Monkey. As the explosive nature of the fire element meets the capricious trickery of the monkey, expect a lot of swift change and unpredictable outcomes.

Monkeys are playful and mischievous, full of both creativity and ingenuity. These attributes will come in especially handy in a red, fire year, where challenges can arise rapidly, but also be short-lived. Furthermore, the monkey is a metal element, which can clash with fire, causing conflicts and misunderstandings due to opposing energies. While this energy can feel chaotic or unstable, there is also the potential for profound transformation if we can stay steady in our focus and relinquish some control to the shifting tides.

Like all things disruptive, within the pandemonium lies the potential for wisdom
and prosperity. The more creative and imaginative the endeavor we undertake at this time, the better the chance for unexpected success – particularly if we remain flexible and are willing to take risks. We might be feeling more impulsive this year, but equally more intuitive and communicative. The fire element will give our spirit and energy a boost, allowing us to laugh more easily at the monkey’s mischievous ways and perhaps take ourselves less seriously.

Energetically, the spring season aligns with the spirit of the fire monkey, a time
for rebirth, growth, expansion, movement, and the re-awakening of the life process.
It is the time of year to stretch our limbs, and our minds, and seek emotional equanimity by letting the qi flow freely and uninhibited. While the energy of the season puts us in a position to assert our ambition, it also provides us with the clarity of judgment to know when to let go. The better we modulate our intensity and stay flexible, the smoother the flow of liver qi. The smoother the flow of liver qi, the better we can handle whatever curve ball the monkey throws our way.

Since these rapid fluctuations can leave us feeling a bit scattered or anxious, we will be tested over this year in our ability to yield and greet each new wave with a sense of humor and a willingness to be patient and see where it takes us. Since Spring, as the Huang Di Nei Jing describes it, is a time when “the energy should be kept open and fluid,” by bending to the season, we are also better equipped to handle the greater cosmic challenges that cross our paths at the hands of that cheeky monkey.

To read more about the year of the monkey, check out the following links:

https://lotusinstitute.com/blogs/news/84125062-year-of-the-monkey-2016

http://shifting-vibration.com/2016/02/year-of-the-shifting-monkey/

Leave Comments to this post