Spring Cleanse

Green spring tonics are a time-honored tradition to encourage gentle liver and gall bladder renewal. 

Leafy greens, both wild and cultivated, are some of the most nutrient dense vegetables of all, and we’ll discuss their nutrition as well as many other health benefits. 

This is a time when we transition from Winter hibernation to Summer growth. Because we are part of the earth and it cycles, it’s crucial to align with this seasonal change by strengthening digestion and immunity.

Certain foods and culinary herbs are specifically indicated for supporting this transition. They tend to be ones that promote digestive and eliminative function, or strengthen the immune and endocrine (hormonal) systems.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring's flavor is sour. The sour flavor and the wood element influence the liver and gall bladder. Sour foods include vinegar, horseradish, sauerkraut (and other lacto-fermented vegetables), lemon, rye, turnips, greens, quinoa, millet, fennel, and caraway seeds. Sourness has an astringent and consolidating effect in the body. It can control diarrhea and excess perspiration or help focus a scattered mind. Sour foods will help us harmonize Spring.

In India’s time-honored tradition of Ayurvedic Medicine, spring is known as the Kapha season. Kapha, the earth element, is heavy, grounded, and can feel stuck when it is out of balance. While spring waters are flowing and mud is everywhere, uplift your body, mind, and spirit, with a daily walk, deep breathing, and sour food.

I was raised in the Mediterranean tradition, where we harvested dandelion greens each spring to make a bitter and delicious salad with olive oil, salt, vinegar, and grated carrots. I remember how much my grandmother loved vinegar. She dressed our salads generously with this sour liquid. Thank goodness for the carrots to temper the sour and bitter flavors for an overall harmonious effect.

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Food-Based Cleanse

Spring is wonderful time to cleanse the internal organs with delicious fruit and vegetable juices. If you do not have a juicer, just use a food processor and strain out the pulp before drinking the juice. You can keep juice in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

Juice recipes and health benefits:

  • To strengthen digestion - 1 granny smith apple, 2 carrots, 1 beet

  • To support the liver - beet greens, 1 beet, 3 stalks celery, 2 inches fresh ginger root

  • To cleanse the blood - 1 beet, 2 carrots, 1 granny smith apple, 2 handfuls fresh parsley

Enjoy! Drink a small glass of juice three times daily, from just after you wake up to times of low energy between meals.

Regardless of whether or not you are able to drink fresh juice, you can lighten your diet and include more lacto-fermented vegetables, bitter greens, lemon juice, and whole grains in your meals.

For a week, try to eliminate the following foods, which can tax the liver, gall bladder, and lymph over time:

  • alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages

  • meat: white fish is ok once during the week if it helps you meet your protein needs

  • cheese, cream, ice cream: choose avocados, coconut milk, roasted root vegetables, baked apples

  • popcorn, crackers, cookies

  • products containing sorbitol or xylitol (sugar-free gum and candies)

  • refined sugar: choose raw honey or maple syrup

  • gluten and processed grains like pasta/bread: choose spring grains like quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and millet

Instead, enjoy the fresh nourishment of fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, and whole grains. Garnish food with high quality olive oil or flax oil and lemon juice.

Breakfast ideas:

  • Quinoa porridge with carrot spread and almonds

  • Baked sweet potatoes with hard-boiled eggs

  • Scrambled eggs with spinach and quinoa

  • Roasted roots with hard-boiled eggs

  • Baked acorn squash with tahini (roasted sesame seed butter), coconut butter, and cinnamon

Lunch and Dinner:

Use recipes from the "spring" category of this blog.

Keep these on hand along with chopped carrot and celery sticks when you need a snack as you are cooking! Remember that flavor, which comes from spreads and spices, is crucial to enjoying your food.

Snacks:

  • Miso broth

  • Granola bar

  • Smoothie or juice (more juice and smoothie recipes on my blog)

  • Apple or orange

Liquids:

  • Dandelion root tea and a glass of warm water with lemon juice in the morning

  • At least 3 quarts water daily

  • Herbal tea in the evening: Traditional Medicinals’ Detox tea is a nice choice

Would you like more specific guidance, meal plans, and recipes for your cleanse? Try my two-week, food-based cleanse.

Gratitude and Delight

Friends,

I appreciate all who have recently told me that you read this blog. Thank you!

When I write, I often wonder if anyone will read these words and try the recipes and suggestions I offer. 

Always feel free to send me a note or leave a comment at the end of this post. It's nourishing for me to know that we are connecting. Likewise, please let me know how I can best support you and answer your food and health questions.

Recently, a friend and follower let me know how much she liked the smoothie recipes I had posted. She encouraged me to offer more - here goes.

This one's for you!

Love, Lisa

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Place these ingredients in a blender or Vitamix:

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup blueberries (either fresh or frozen and thawed for 10 minutes)

  • 1 ripe banana

  • 2 spoonfuls tahini

  • 1/2 cup spoonful whole milk cow yogurt or coconut yogurt (choose a brand with no added sugar)

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

Blend well and enjoy for breakfast with quinoa almond pancakes

.

Avocado Date Almond Smoothie

Place these ingredients in a blender or Vitamix:

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  • pinch salt

  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 handful chopped, pitted dates

  • 1 avocado

  • 1 handful almonds

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk

Blend well and enjoy!


Maca Cacao Smoothie

Place these ingredients in a blender or Vitamix in the order listed:

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon maca powder

  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder

  • 1/4 cup hot water

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 handful pitted dates, chopped

  • 1 handful almonds, chopped

  • 1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Blend well and savor slowly. This smoothie is like a dessert pudding that lends endurance, too.

The sustained energy comes from maca, a root indigenous to the Andes that's often prepared as a food within its local context. It is rich in calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. It contains essential fatty acids and amino acids (the building blocks of protein), too.


Green Fruity Delight Smoothie

In a blender, place:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 1 green apple, cored and sliced

  • 1 small stalk celery, chopped

  • 2 cups spinach

  • One inch of ginger root (no need to peel if it's organic)

  • 2 teaspoons

  • spirulina powder

  • 1/2 cup water

Blend well. This is an excellent smoothie for cooling summer heat.


Pineapple Mango Happy Belly Smoothie

In a blender or Vitamix, place:

  • 2 cups frozen, diced mango

  • 2 cups frozen, diced pineapple

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 2 handfuls cashews

  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

Blend well and enjoy! You will boost your metabolism and digest better thanks to these incredible, golden fruits - high in digestive enzymes.


Very Berry Yogurt Smoothie

Place these ingredients in a blender:

  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries

  • 1 medium banana

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, whole fat yogurt

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg

  • 1 cup water

Blend well and enjoy! 

The yogurt will provide probiotic support to your gut microbiome and its protein content will keep you going until your next meal.


Chia Raspberry Coconut Smoothie

Place these ingredients in a blender:

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 handful raspberries (fresh or frozen and thawed for 10 minutes)

  • 1 spoonful chia seeds

  • 2 spoonfuls shredded, unsweetened coconut

  • ¼ cup coconut milk (full-fat and organic)

Blend well and enjoy for breakfast with quinoa date porridge.

You can try smoothie recipes  with kombucha or with turmeric here

.To learn about the healing properties of these foods, please join email newsletter updates.

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Spring Smoothies Make Terrific Breakfasts

Life is full. As the days grow longer and we start to be more active, it's as important as ever to start our days with a protein-packed breakfast. Try these smoothies to ease digestion, strengthen the body, mind, and spirit for the day ahead, and embrace spring.

These smoothies are also an ideal way to refuel after a workout, hike, or bike ride. For those of use who need extra protein to support healthy pregnancy or maintain long-term energy during physical activity, add organic hemp seed powder.

Each of these smoothies provides beneficial pro-biotic bacteria with ingredients such as kombucha. They also contain pre-biotic ingredients, such as papaya and flaxseed meal, to nourish that good gut bacteria.

Food is medicine. Learn to use it wisely. Breathe into the present moment and appreciate life for a moment before you sip your healing beverage. 

Digest-Ease Smoothie

Blueberries are high in antioxidants, spinach is rich in fiber and minerals, almond butter provides protein and is pre-biotic, kombucha is pro-biotic, and spirulina micro-algae help to cleanse the lymphatic system. Here's to your health!

You will need:

  • 2 cups blueberries - fresh or frozen

  • 2 cups spinach

  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

  • 2 tablespoons almond butter

  • 1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom

  • 1 teaspoon spirulina powder

  • 1 cup kombucha

Blend all of the ingredients together in a blender.

Pour into 2 glasses and enjoy!

Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

Turmeric stops the body's inflammatory response, ginger warms the digestive system, papaya provides potent digestive enzymes, walnuts are rich in ellagic acid to nourish the brain, and flax seed is pre-biotic.

You will need:

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk

  • ¼ cup dried, unsweetened papaya, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes

  • ¼ cups walnuts

  • ½ inch fresh ginger root

  • ½ inch fresh turmeric root

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½ cup flaxseed meal

Boil a bit of water and soak the papaya in a bowl.

Chop ginger and turmeric.

Drain papaya water.

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend well.

Pour into 2 glasses and enjoy!

Do you have a smoothie recipe to share? #showusyoursmoothie

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Fresh, Fruity, & Fabulous

Smoothies are not just for breakfast! Enjoy them as snacks when the afternoon blues hit or serve them in a little cup as dessert when visitors come to dinner.

With the coming new moon and spring equinox on March 20th, these recipes will uplift you and inspire you to sow seeds of intention for the season to come.

Each one of these recipes features coconut, which helps to tone and nourish your hormonal and digestive systems and bring the balance that's synonymous with this time of year.

Coconut

Saturated fat, solid at room temperature, coconut is a plant-based alternative to saturated animal fats. It stimulates brain function and promotes intestinal motility. Its anti-bacterial action makes it an important fat to choose during times of illness or infection and is specifically indicated for combating intestinal parasites. This food is considered sacred by people from the Indonesian Archipelago to the Indian Sub-Continent because of its potent healing properties. 

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Coconut Cream Pie

You will need:

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 banana

  • ½ orange

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend until smooth.


Decadent Chocolate Cherry

You will need:

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 cup water

  • ¾ cup of frozen cherries

  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Blend until smooth.


Soothing Delight

You will need:

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and de-seeded

  • 2 dates, fresh or dried, chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Blend until smooth.

Going on Vacation? Food for Healthy Travel

When winter starts feeling long in the Northeast, those who have the privilege might choose to travel south and warm their bones, joints, and connective tissue.

If you cannot travel this winter, here are some tips to improve flexibility and circulation from the inside out.

Soak your feet.

Just take a storage container or tub, fill it with hot water, table salt, and 2 or 3 peppermint tea bags. Let your feet and ankles soak in the hot water until it cools down - about 10 minutes.

Breathe deeply. Try this mindful peace breath if you like

.Then, pat feet dry and rub them with coconut oil or sunflower oil.

Drink ginger tea.

Ginger tea improves circulation and uplifts mood by supporting healthy digestion. When digestion is not healthy, mood suffers.

Make a smoothie.

Fruit can bring joy to the moment and give our cells a burst of the plant nutrients that are under blankets of snow right now.

Here is a simple recipe:

  • 1 cup organic plain yogurt (cow, almond, or coconut)

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries

  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

  • 1 teaspoon raw honey

  • 1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Click this link for more smoothie recipes.

If you are lucky enough to travel, here are some ways to stay healthy!

When we go to a new place, our guts have to adjust to the foods and the environment of this place. Sometimes, the bacteria that are naturally present in one location are very different from the ones to which we are accustomed.

Eat Pre-Biotic Foods.

Especially when traveling from a cold weather climate to a warm weather one, please choose pre-biotic foods, which stimulate the growth of healthy pro-biotic bacteria in your gut. These include apples, almonds, onions, pears, and potatoes.

Choose cooked fruits and vegetables.

When eating out, choose cooked fruits and vegetables to minimize the risk of exposing yourself to water-borne parasites. If you choose to eat raw fruits and veggies at restaurants, ask staff to wash and handle them with bottled or treated water to reduce risk of exposure.

If you shop and cook at a home kitchen during your travels, wash fruits and vegetables in a colloidal solution that suspends bacteria.

Skip the ice.

Ice can often be prepared with water that's untreated. For local folks, that's no problem. Their guts are accustomed to the local bacteria. For travelers, this might cause digestive upset such as diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. Ask for drinks prepared with treated / bottled water and no ice.

Pack an herbal toolkit.

Stock up on tinctures - medicinal herbal extracts. Find them at your local health food store or online. Choose goldenseal, sweet annie (artemisia annua), and echinacea. Take a dropper of each one of these every two hours at the onset of symptoms of infection, such as: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or extreme migraine.

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Breakfast Power!

Instant Oatmeal


In a mason jar, mix:

½ cup quick rolled oats
½ teaspoon cinnamon pinch salt

1 handful sunflower seeds
1 handful raisins

When you get where you are going, boil about 1 cup of water. Pour boiling water into mason jar, stir and enjoy!

**You can bring yogurt (choose a whole milk brand without added sugar) to include with this breakfast.

Keeps in your cupboard for 2 weeks.

Tahini Honey Sandwich


Choose whole grain, sourdough bread.

Place two thin slices in the toaster.
When they pop up, spread with:

1 spoonful tahini (roasted sesame seed butter)

1 spoonful local, raw honey

Place two halves together in a plastic bag and enjoy once you get where you are going.

**If you like, you can eat an apple with your sandwich. Keeps in fridge for 2 days.


Quinoa Date Porridge

**Before bed, place in a mixing bowl:


1 cup quinoa
1 handful chopped, pitted dates
2 cups hot water

Allow to soak overnight.

**In the morning, drain off any excess water. Pour into a cooking pot with 1 cup water.

Bring to a boil; then reduce to simmer.

To the cooking quinoa, add:
½ teaspoon each: cinnamon and ginger
pinch salt

Simmer with the lid slightly askew until all the water is consumed (about 15 minutes) and you see air holes on the surface of the grain. You can add a spoonful of coconut oil if you like.

Keeps in fridge for 3 days.


Sweet Potato Pie


While you are cooking dinner, chop 2 large sweet potatoes.
Place them in a pot with enough water to cover them.

Bring to a boil, reduce to medium heat, and cook until tender.

Meanwhile, place 1 cup dry kasha (buckwheat groats) and 1 ½ cups water in a stock pot.
Add a pinch salt and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until kasha begins to thicken.
Stir vigorously for a couple of minutes until grain reaches porridge-like consistency.

Oil a glass pie plate and pour this ‘crust’ into it.

When sweet potatoes are tender, drain water and place in blender with:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon each: cloves, ginger
pinch salt
2 heaping spoonfuls each: nut butter and coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend until creamy. Using a spatula, scoop out this filling and smooth over cooked kasha crust.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and bake pie for 20 minutes. Yum!

Keeps in fridge for 3 days.


Blueberry Banana Walnut Drink


Place these ingredients in a blender:
½ teaspoon each: nutmeg, ginger
pinch salt
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 handful blueberries
1 banana
1 handful walnuts
2 spoonfuls coconut milk or whole milk yogurt (choose a brand with no added sugar)

Blend well and enjoy!

Keeps in fridge for 3 days.

Try to eat a piece of whole grain, sourdough toast with nut butter within an hour of drinking your smoothie. The carbohydrates in toast will help your cells to break down and metabolize the fat in the smoothie.


Avocado Date Almond Smoothie


Place these ingredients in a blender:
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 handful chopped, pitted dates
1 avocado
1 handful almonds
2 spoonfuls coconut milk or whole milk yogurt (choose a brand with no added sugar)

Blend well and enjoy!

Keeps in fridge for 3 days.

Try to eat a piece of whole grain, sourdough toast and nut butter within an hour of drinking your smoothie. The carbohydrates in toast will help your cells to break down and metabolize the fat in the smoothie.



To learn about the healing properties of these foods, please join email newsletter updates - see sign up in the upper right hand corner of this site.