Today it’s 38 degrees outside in Chicago, and snow flurries are floating in the air. Awesome.
Well, it’s Spring weather somewhere right? I can’t help but wonder how this interminable Midwestern winter effects our bodies. Yesterday, I was low-energy and super sluggish, ready to turn in for bed around 9 pm–much more winter-hibernation mode than the typical refresh and renew energy of the spring.
BUT, since it’s eventually going to warm up, we may as well start eating like it. The food that grows in spring is light, fresh and meant to cleanse the system from the heavy fare that kept us warm in the winter. We actually crave a low-fat, low-calorie diet in the spring; that’s what nature provides and that’s how our body naturally sheds the insulation we gathered in the cold weather. Just like squirrels and pigeons (I’m a city girl, these are the only animals I see on the regular) get chubby and adorable for winter, then slim down with activity and different food for warmer weather, so do we. Imagine that.
Here are 5 swaps you can make to allow the body to detoxify for the season:
Instead of Oatmeal, try Corn Grits
Doesn’t a warm bowl of oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon seem like the perfect winter breakfast? Because for winter, it is. According to Ayurveda, oats tend to be wet and heavy, which is exactly what you’re trying to get rid of this time of year. Think of switching to corn grits; corn is a fiery food that stokes the digestive flame. Add some berries and a slice of rye toast for breakfast and see how you feel.
Instead of Wheat bread, try Rye toast
Wheat is another heavy winter food, just like oatmeal. Rye is a lighter, drier grain and packs lots of protein for the punch. Toasting bread makes it easier to digest, and if you can find a yeastless, sourdough-type, it’ll be even sweeter on your system.
Instead of Bananas, try Berries
Bananas are sweet and wonderfully warming for winter, but they’re a little sugary when our bodies prefer light and crisp. All sorts of berries begin to come into season right now. Toss raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries into your salad or grits for some variety without all the sugar.
Instead of Coconut Oil, try Flaxseed Oil
Coconuts, just like bananas, are great for insulating for winter or burning through in the summer. In the winter, I slathered coconut oil on toast, used it in cooking and baking, and it helped quell and sugar cravings I had. But since we tend to crave less sugar this time of year, swap out flaxseed oil for cooking. You’ll still get your Omega 3’s with this stuff and avoid the heavy, sweet properties of coconut oil.
Instead of Almonds, try Sprouted Beans and Seeds
Sprouting beans and seeds are so easy, and this time of year, things start sprouting up all over the place. Sprouts are some of the most alive, easy-to-digest and healthful foods you can consume. Try this instead of snacking on almonds or nuts to add nutrients and a light, drier aspect to your meal.
In general, Spring comes with lots of spinach, kale and lettuce, carrots, broccoli, celery, berries and all sorts of sprouting things; this is the perfect season for lots of salads and light soups for dinner. Think of making your dinner your smallest meal during the Spring, it’ll allow extra time for your body to digest and assimilate breakfast and lunch. If you’re stumped on what to eat, always look to what grows locally. Plus, the stuff in season tends to be cheaper at the produce store–score!