3 Types of Food to Bring Balance to Yourself This Spring

You may recognize spring as a time of re-birth and new growth. However, did you know that according to Chinese medicine, it’s also a time for yang activities?

Because Chinese medicine uses nature as a guide, spring activities include rising early with the sun and taking brisk walks—activities that reflect the ascending and active spirit of spring.

Many people engage in spring cleaning of their homes, but this is also an ideal time to do the same for your personal self, both physically and emotionally. Push boundaries. Seek growth.

Acupuncturist Michelle Goebel-Angel, LAc, encourages envisioning new growth pushing upward from the ground with spring green hues. “This reminds us to connect with our true nature and give rise to our own self-awareness and self-expression. We shed layers of fatigue and lack of motivation as we move our bodies into a more active state.”

If you don’t begin this process of “awakening”, however, you may find yourself trapped in a state of frustration, irritability, or anger. This may manifest itself physically as:

  • Insomnia

  • Vertigo

  • Shortness of breath

  • Headaches

To help yourself move into this active state, focus on the liver and gall bladder, which support detoxification in order to clear congested or stagnant emotions and food. You may find yourself naturally eating less or even fasting as your body clears the fats and heavier foods of winter.

“The diet should be simpler and the lightest of the year, containing foods that emphasize the ascending and expansive qualities of spring—the yang,” Michelle says.

Consider the following types of foods to balance yourself coming out of the stillness of winter and into the energizing re-growth of spring:

Raw or Sprouted: By virtue of what they are, these foods are thought to bring about renewal. Fresh, young plants add new energy or ‘qi’ to the body, supporting new growth and movement from within.

Examples: alfalfa sprouts, broccoli sprouts, sprouted grains, seeds, beans

Bitter and Sour: These types of food bring movement to liver congestion and stagnation, helping to cleanse the liver.

Examples: pickles, sauerkraut, asparagus, apple cider vinegar, alfalfa, lemon, lime, grapefruit

Detoxing and Cooling: These foods clear out heat that tends to build from congestion in the body. They also purify the blood.

Examples: cruciferous vegetables, celery, cilantro, parsley, beet greens,  seaweeds, chlorophyll-rich foods such as spirulina and chlorella

For more information about Chinese medicine and acupuncture at the Raby Institute, please call (312) 276-1212.

"Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food."
- Hippocrates