Spring Cleaning

People like “stuff.” We tend to hold onto it year after year. We save and stock up on things that we don’t know what to do with anymore. Maybe we keep things because they hold precious memories of days gone by, or they remind us of our parents, grandparents, past loves or childhood. To part with these precious possessions seems out of the question. There is a saying that goes, “You have to get rid of the old to make way for the new.” If you are feeling stuck or stagnant in your life, try spring-cleaning. Throw out some of that stuff, say goodbye to your past, and welcome the new energy of your happy, healthy future.

GarageSaleFor good mental and physical health, we actually have two “houses” that need to be spring-cleaned: our physical homes and our physical bodies. Just as we accumulate “stuff” in the form of outgrown clothes, magazines, rusty bicycles, tools and random keepsakes, so do our bodies accumulate old food residues and toxins that need to be cleaned out.

To spring clean your body, give it a break from rich and complicated foods by either cleansing or fasting for a short period of time. Cleansing means paring down your food to just simple fruits and vegetables, lots of water and perhaps whole grains. Fasting means limiting most foods and drinking lots of water, fresh vegetable and fruit juices, teas and soups. Without much energy going towards digestion, more energy is available to the rest of your body and mind. Cleansing and fasting can sharpen your concentration, help you gain insight and promote spiritual awareness. It can also bring improved immune function and better digestion.

While you’re cleaning out your body and home, don’t forget to spring-clean your heart. Throw away negative thoughts and habits you’ve been harboring that no longer serve you. A clean, open heart will allow you to receive all the good that awaits you each and every day. If your heart and mind are cluttered, there is no room for life’s gifts and surprises to enter.

Food Focus: Greens

GreensLeafy greens are some of the easiest and most beneficial vegetables to incorporate into your daily routine. Densely packed with energy and nutrients, they grow upwards to the sky, absorbing the sun’s light while producing oxygen. Members of this royal green family include kale, collard greens, swiss chard, mustard greens, arugula, dandelion greens, broccoli rabe, watercress, beet greens, bok choy, napa cabbage, green cabbage, spinach and broccoli.

How do greens benefit our bodies? They are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous and zinc, and are a powerhouse for vitamins A, C, E and K. They are crammed full of fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll, and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Their color is associated with spring, which is a time of renewal and refreshing, vital energy.

Recipes of the Month

KaleShiitake and Kale
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1/2 pound of shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoons of olive oil
1-2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 bunch of kale, chopped
pinch of salt

1. Warm oil in pan on medium heat with minced garlic until aromas of garlic are released, about 2-3 minutes.
2. Add chopped shiitake mushrooms, stir-fry for 5 minutes.
3. Add chopped kale, stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
4. Add a splash of water and pinch of salt to pan, cover and let steam for 4 minutes.

Sunflower-recipeLunch Idea…Sunflower Rice Salad

3 cups leftover rice
3 cups boiling water
10 green beans (1″ pieces)
1 1/2 cups cabbage (1″ pieces)
1/2 cup carrot, diced small
1 small onion, diced
3 T. minced parsley
3 T. roasted sunflower seeds

Briefly boil the beans, carrot, and onion together (2 -3 minutes), until just crisp. Lift out with a strainer, drain and cool. Plunge cabbage in boiling water 1 minute, to barely cook it. Drain and cool. (Save the cooking broth for soups). Toss all together with Lemon Vinagrette Dressing (see below).

LemonVinagretteLemon-Vinagrette Dressing

1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp. brown rice vinegar
2-3 tsp. tamari soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil (optional)
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp thyme or marjoram
2 tsp. fresh minced parsley
1/2 tsp. natural mustard (optional)

Just mix and serve

Sunflower Rice Salad and Lemon-Vinagrette Dressing are from “The Self-Healing Cookbook” by Kristina Turner, which is available from Earthtones Press.
Call (800) 788-1770 to order.

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