Friday, April 2, 2010

Springing Ahead in Health

Ahh, spring!  We can look ahead to days where we don’t have to struggle just to stay warm.  We don’t have to work flat out for 20 minutes dressing like Eskimos just to go outside. We can relax and stretch out into the great outdoors.  Food is fresh, natural and plentiful.  The sun is shining and life is good.

Spring is the one time of year where we can design, direct, and improve our health in a big way.  According to Oriental Five Element tradition, the liver is in the wood element, which describes the gland and organ (liver/gall bladder) that is hot and juicy.  Conversely, the kidneys are cold and damp, just like autumn.  The moist hot days of spring are the best time to eat very simply, eat a little less, and show our body more care by adding cleansing tonics and fibre to our diet. A little focused attention on your liver will have year long benefits

The whole digestive tract is governed by the liver.  This multi-purpose gland is located just beneath the ribs on your right side.  The busy liver also works to filter the blood, biodegrade hormones and balance aspects of the immune system.  The large intestine is the last process in the liver/digestive system.  In the bowel water is reclaimed and re-cycled back into the body and wastes are eliminated.  This is the reason for auto-intoxication. 

When bowel transit time is slow, many people experience chronic sinus congestion, laborious digestion, lymph congestion, or various skin issues.  Surprisingly, when questioned, most people consider their bowel elimination to be good even when they experience these signs of overload.

Liver cleanses can be a misery if the stored toxins that are being released have difficulty exiting the body.  Nausea, cramping, bloating, prolonged fatigue and headaches are a common complaint, when there is ‘no easy way out’.  The first order of business is to open the bowel. Not everyone is robust.  Extended fasting, and aggressive herbal cleanses are not for everyone.  This is an area where personal and genetic vitality (constitution), determines how a person’s body can handle releasing toxic accumulation on a cellular and system level.

The body also pushes some forms of toxins to the adipose (fat) cells.  I believe there is a correlation between weight gain and toxin.  Extra care needs to be given to weight loss programs where the toxins released can damage the liver/gall bladder and kidneys.   

As a practitioner, I like to develop specific and unique programs for every client.  An alkalizing food plan can initiate the detoxification process, for example, if one has trouble maintaining balanced blood sugar levels.  A week of lemon juice in water every morning, and fasting until lunchtime may work
for some.  A personal plan may also include other resources such as dry brushing the skin, infra-red saunas, enemas, Epsom salts baths, foot patches, and lymph massage or ion foot baths. 

The liver is always trying to unload toxins and repair itself.    Natural plant based remedies can help the body help itself.  It’s the way nature designed us.   A little timely housecleaning and repair can do wonders to increase our energy and immunity, and for improved over all well being for the whole coming year.

Let Food Be Your Medicine 

Scandinavian Winter Salad
2 Cups Pickled Beets (or Roast 4 large beets in oven) until tender, cool and peel
3 large carrots peeled
Grate beets and carrots in food processor
Chop ½ Cup green onions
1 Cup chopped parsley
Mix in large salad bowl
Dressing:  ½ Cup light tasting oil (Organic Canola) and ¼           1Cup apple cider vinegar
                Basic sprinkle and herbamere
                Grind 1 tsp Thyme and 1 tsp coriander (optional)
* Scandinavian salad gets better when covered and marinated in the fridge for an hour or more.

Swiss Dandelion Salad
1 large potato, scrubbed, cooked whole and hot
2 handfuls of wild or cultivated dandelion greens, washed and drained and chopped fine
Dressing:  Apple cider vinaigrette
                Fresh ground pepper

The trick with this is to first wash the greens really well.  If you are using dandelion greens gathered from the wild, washing is a huge job, but is worth it in the end.

The next thing is to mash the cooked potato quickly in the bottom of a salad bowl and throw the greens in really fast and toss well.  Then dress the salad and serve. The hot potato takes out the bitterness of the greens.  This is the best spring tonic ever, and it’s tasty too.

Steamed Artichokes
1 medium or large artichoke for each person
Sauce:  Melted butter with fresh squeezed lemon juice and crushed garlic for dipping.

Prepare the artichokes by cutting off the stem, and then cutting off the top inch so it will perch nicely upside down in a steamer.  Cut off all the ‘picks’ by using scissors.  Rinse in cool water and drain upside down.
Steam artichokes upside down until the base is tender when tested with a toothpick.  Don’t over cook.  Remove from steamer directly onto the plate. To eat, the trick is to remove some of the tough outer leaves and discard them, and then eat by ripping off each leaf and dipping the base into the butter/lemon and then use your teeth to scrape the pulp of the base of the leaf. Discard leaf remains as you go.   Keep doing this until you come to the inside fuzzy core (the choke).Use a spoon to scrape away the fuzz and then cut the ‘heart’ into quarters and dip and eat.
These little wonders cleanse and nourish the liver and make a wonderful light meal with a green salad and basmati rice.

1 comment:

  1. i dont think i have had that dandelion salad since you made it at the cabin.... or was it before that. its awesome