March is an important month to set yourself up for a lovely summer and fall. What that means is "cleaning" house--doing a proverbial spring cleaning, but you need to know what you are up against! We are literally being dragged (often kicking, screaming and complaining) from cold, dry weather into cold, damp and wet weather, or temperature ups and downs, or extreme rains, or very high winds, or all of the above in the course of a week. This plays havoc with our lungs and sinuses, bringing on colds and infections. In my case, high winds mean fever blister breakouts on my lip. Others have constant runny noses, or watering eyes, or headaches.
Just as important, March can be a tough emotional transition to navigate. You're getting cabin fever, but the weather isn't going to allow you to lounge outside with that latte quite yet. Your beautiful yellow daffodils open up, only to be crushed by heavy snow. Your blossom trees freeze in an ice storm and you don't know if they'll set fruit or even survive. You're slopping around in mud and slush and it seems like your boots will never be clean and dry. You always seem to have an open umbrella in the hallway airing out.
The remedy: Embrace the change with some smart strategies and some positive thinking informed by the knowledge of what this Month is all about (after all, it is named after the Roman god of war). This means "greening up" your diet (and no, that doesn't mean shamrock shakes or green beer), doing some detoxing, seeking healthy heat therapies, moving as much as you can, and getting some extra sleep to help adjust to the time change.
Good Breakfast Choices:
- “Thai” Smoothie (apple or pear, ginger, natural peanut butter, coconut milk, almond milk, frozen banana, cinnamon)
- “Gingerbread” Smoothie (apple, banana, ginger, almond milk, molasses, garam masala, cinnamon)
- Green Juice (Spinach or Kale, Cucumber, Apple, Mint, Ginger & Lemon)
- Fuschia Juice (Beet, Apple, Carrot, Lemon, Ginger)
- Stewed apples/pears (cook an apple, chopped large, in a small saucepan with a bit of water or apple cider, and a few cloves, add a lemon peel. Feel free to add prunes.
- Oatmeal with maple syrup or stewed apples
- Corn mush with maple syrup or stewed apples
- Chia pudding—seeds soaked overnight in almond milk with vanilla extract, dried cranberries, almond slivers and unsweetened coconut—add cinnamon and nuts upon eating, if desired.
- Green Tea
- Green Salad—lots of veggies/greens with a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.
- Roasted or Steamed Squash, Steamed Greens
- Kitchari (seasoned yellow lentils) and Greens
- Tonic Soup (broth with ginger and garlic) with Greens and mushrooms and green onions
- Vegetable Stir-Fry with Quinoa
- Artichoke with lemon/olive oil, steamed veggies with brown rice
- Edamame/Green Peas with brown rice, lemon, olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs
- Pureed green pea/arugula soup
- Fish, eggs or tofu for protein
- Green Tea
- Drink a cup of hot water with lemon first thing in the morning, followed by green tea throughout the day, a detox tea or lemon tea into the evening.
HEAT THERAPY: to combat all that cold dampness, drink lots of hot/clear liquids and if you have access to a sauna or whirlpool bath, use it. If not, then run a hot bath (if your skin is dry and itchy, add colloidal oatmeal to the water). Or, if you cannot take a bath, run a hot shower and add a few shakes of eucalyptus oil to the shower stall. Use body butter or massage oil on your skin afterwards to ward off dryness. Soak your feet in a basin with hot water and epsom salts, add an essential oil like lavender or eucylptus.
SKIN THERAPY: My latest easy favorite, inexpensive Korean facial mask sheets, I put one on while having that hot bath.
SOUL THERAPY: Find some good reading material. Now is a great time to delve into a spiritual book you've always wanted to read. Something by the Pema Chodron, or Surya Rama Das, or Eckhart Tolle, anything that examines life and your place in the universe. It's also a great time to dive into the work of a favorite poet. Maya Angelou, Rita Dove, Mary Oliver, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost---whatever you find feeds your soul. I like to read a poem first thing in the morning while drinking my hot water, do it before opening email or social media.
MORE SOUL THERAPY: Visit your local botanical gardens (it really can be a salve at this time or year), the art museum, a natural history museum, a concert or lecture at the library. Give yourself the gift of more knowledge. Water and nurture your mind.
Remember, April and May are around the corner, leaves will bud and open, flowers will bloom, sunny days will arrive, heavy sweaters will go back into the dresser drawers.
March into March like a gentle and wise warrior!