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34 • APRIL 2017


In the Spring

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Good foods for the season include dry, warm products



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e enjoy the freshness of spring as the Earth warms and plants gift us again with beauty and nutrition. From the Ayurvedic tradition of healing there is a wealth of knowledge about using different foods for each season, and for the energetic makeup of each person. This information can help us stay healthy by adjusting what we eat for the climate we are in. In understanding seasonal routines, we can align ourselves with the dynamic rhythms of the natural world. Ayurveda provides more specific information based on the individual’s constitution (prakriti) and the current condition (vakriti), but here are some ideas that will be helpful for most people in this season.

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Spring is the time to eliminate snacks and eat less of the sweet, sour, and salty tastes. Foods to avoid in this season would be fast foods, duck, sweets, soy products, nuts, white bread, iced drinks, ice cream. Food that is salty, oily or fried can also be taken off the menu. Sour fruits like oranges, bananas, pineapples, figs, dates, coconuts and melons are not beneficial in the spring. In the warmer weather our appetite may decrease and we naturally want

fruit, cooked fresh vegetables, and salads. Eating raw food is not good for every person. Use very little oil when cooking and substitute with water when possible. Almond milk is a good substitute for dairy. If you drink cow’s milk, boil it with a little turmeric or ginger. In this way you won’t become congested by it. Just for spring reduce your intake of watery veggies like avocado, cucumber, olives, sweet potato, squash or zucchini.

Spring diet As we transition from winter, the snow melts from the mountains and rivers flow again. Water also accumulates in our bodies from eating to stay warm in the winter. Eating light, dry, warm food helps us balance our biochemistry for this season. You can support your body’s inclination to purify and renew at this time with dishes that are spicy, bitter, or astringent, that are relatively easy to digest. In this way we can keep mucus production at a normal level and keep the channels of elimination healthy, which is critical for purification. This process is supported by drinking warm beverages. Make your meals around fresh (but not necessarily raw) vegetables with beans.  These foods tend to be astringent and often somewhat bitter. Unless you have hypothyroid, you’ll benefit from eating bitter greens, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and chard. Other beneficial vegetables include; asparagus, corn, dandelions, artichokes, rhubarb, cilantro, basil, potatoes, mushrooms, leeks, onions, sprouts, celery, green beans, millet, rice and quinoa are light grains to eat this season. Freshwater fish, and poached or hardboiled eggs are also appropriate at this time. You can enhance your meals with the pungent flavor of onions, garlic, ginger, black pepper, chili pepper, small amounts of cayenne pepper, and a variety of herbs and spices. Fruits that are available and good to eat might include: strawberries, cherries, raspberries, dried fruit, soaked prunes and lemons. Beans are good to eat now, for most people. When spring warms the Earth, seasonal produce provides many of the nutrients that the liv-

er requires to transform toxins. What is naturally available now is usually what is most healthy for us.

Springing into exercise Yoga is one part of the multi-therapy approach of Ayurveda. We are fortunate to have many good yoga teachers in our area. Sun Salutation can provide the cleansing your body craves this time of year. Vigorous movement, has the capacity to warm, awaken, and enliven the senses. Change your perspective: looking at the world upside down can be energizing. Postures such as Legs-Up-the-Wall or Half Shoulder-stand (only on an empty stomach!), can help drain lymphatic fluids from the legs and pelvis. Add some twists to your practice. With your hands on the shoulders, twist from left to right. This increases circulation, tones the abdominal muscles, and helps release congestion. Ayurveda teaches us to come into balance with practices that have the opposite qualities of the current season. Spring is known in Ayurveda as the kapha season — damp and sticky. So the Ayurvedic practices during this time help us to dry and lighten our bodies. Wet and sticky qualities magnify any tendency for allergies for many. The breathing exercise known as Kapalabhati can clear the mucous from the nasal passages. Your local yoga teacher should be able to demonstrate this for you. Doing Kapalabhati (Shining Skull Breath) is like nature’s antihistamine. If you experience seasonal allergies accompanied with mucous congestion, give this a try. By eating what is in season, or has been stored for the season, we don’t buy into the practice of trucking food in from long distances. Honoring the climatic sequences with changes in our diet and lifestyle allows us to tune ourselves with the cycles of nature. Athena Wolf practices Ayurveda and curanderismo in Mimbres. She can be reached at info@


continued from page 30 Although I was surprised to see a man doing what most of us think of as “woman’s work,” Astepp’s skills belie a knack for his hobby. He’s been crocheting —and teaching the craft— for over 20 years. He spends many hours at Sage Café, shoulder to shoulder with the ladies, creating artwork from yarn. More than 10 activities for seniors take place at the Las Cruces Senior Centers, including enhanced fitness geared to seniors, train dominoes, card games, chess, a book club and electron-

ic device classes. A branch of the Branigan Library also is open at Sage Café. I asked the ladies as they twined their needles and stitched tiny colors into flower shapes stretched over round frames, if any gossip occurred during their time together. “Lord have mercy!” said Clair. “And we never swear, either,” said Sharon, who admitted that the needle workers are just “sweet, innocent old ladies!” “My other knitting group is in a church,” Clair said. “Sorry, father!”

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