April brings us the opportunity not only to spring clean our homes but also our bodies and our mindsets. This week I'd like to focus on the body and how you can start seeking balance through diet as you head into spring. This is a wet time of year and so the body needs food that is light, vital, bitter and green. You want to cleanse the body of the extra fat and protein you consumed over the winter months, so think GREEN and LEAN. Now is the perfect time for salads and steamed greens, and light vegetable soups. Ease up on the meat, dairy and oil. Forego heavy carbohydrates. Keep things fresh and light.
While eating lighter, think about living lighter too. As the weather warms, find more ways to get outdoors. A simple walk will do the trick, or taking your morning hot water, coffee or tea, outside to drink on your stoop. Appreciate the smells of spring and the lengthening of the days. While we're not yet in the halycon days of summer, but we're heading in the right direction. Appreciate the journey!
This is also a great time to read an energizing garden memoir. You can go for classic works like The Secret Garden, or Cecilia Thaxter's memoir on her garden in Maine, or anything by Gertrude Jekyll, Vita Sackville-West, or Frederick Law Olmstead. In fact, I just remembered that my husband bought me a huge book on the building of Central Park--now would be a great time to delve into that. I also love Diane Ackerman's "Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden." She combines beautiful writing with her clear love of the natural world and all that it contains.
Some suggestions for "lightening up":
- Think green with your food, at least one salad a day and one helping of a cooked green. Try a light dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and a bit of fresh garlic.
- Keep fruits light--not many are in season yet. If you're a juicer, play with green juices that involve spinach or lettuce.
- Sprouts--buy some and eat them. Relish the earthy uniqueness of their taste.
- Walk outdoors whenever you can.
- Pick up a garden memoir and refresh yourself with the wonderful observations of people who dedicated their lives to creating spaces of beauty.
- Add a cup of daily detox tea (dandelion is usually the base).
- Switch out some coffee or black tea with a light floral green tea (green jasmine is always nice to me).
- Buy a green scarf--I just received a pistachio pashmina that I'm going to wear tomorrow.
Artfully (and gratefully) yours,