Eat Greens, Now. 0

IMG_1051Boom! Daylight savings arrives and like clockwork I’m out in the garden with a shovel, turning over our fall cover crop.  Even though we’ve had plenty of overwintering crops in the garden, the disconsolateness of frequent rain and ugly muck became a barrier for entering our backyard plot of late.

Today, in our designated sugar snap plot, I found squatters from last fall: handsome kohlrabi plants with not much of a root but flush with a plentitude of green blood nourishing leaves, pretty yin tonifying golden beets, large yang tonifying sweet parsnips and flowering dinosaur kale.  Before,  content letting them rest undisturbed, now I am ready to devour them – all, in the next week.  Craving large amounts of greens is my signal that spring has arrived.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is the season of the liver and gallbladder, which regulate a smooth flow of Qi.  However, after a winter of eating heavier meats and oil rich foods, these organs often get congested which can leave us feeling sluggish, irritable and depressed.  Eating slightly sour foods, high in chlorophyll like greens and sprouts, can cleanse the liver by releasing toxins and moving stagnant energy.  Increasing foods that are slightly bitter such as dark leafy greens, asparagus, radish leaves, dandelion and romaine lettuce can help with the heat and inflammation of springtime allergies.  Turnips and radishes can also help cleanse the blood by breaking up mucous.

I love how garden cycles synch with seasonal and energetic shifts:  I need to get peas in the ground and I need to detoxify my liver.  By removing and eating the plants in the pea plot, I am waking up my own body for spring by nourishing and cleansing my blood, releasing stored up life-force, which in turn gives me not only space to plant my peas, but the energy and vision to begin a whole new garden season.

There’s that earth-based biolgical motive, and then there’s the more superficial vain motive, which crops up every spring too. If I can lose a few pounds by  lightening up my diet and eating more greens then I can strut around in my skinny jeans, and that, naturally, feels real good too.