Friday, January 25, 2013

Ready For Spring!

It’s hard to imagine that spring is around the corner. We have just had our first bit of cold weather here on the east coast. It is really hard to think about spring at this point. Personally I am wondering if we are going to get any serious snow storms this winter.

On February 2 the ground hog will let us know how quickly spring is coming this year. I have never tracked the accuracy of the ground hog. However, I like this ritual since it reminds me that spring will be here before long. 

The ancient Celtic holiday of Imbolc celebrates the beginning of spring or the time when all life is reborn in early February. Also, according to the ancient Oriental calendar, spring begins on February 4. All of these dates are midway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox and signify the time when nature’s energy starts to change towards spring. This is the time when we start to feel fed up with the winter and spring fever begins. 

To be healthy we need to follow nature’s calendar and begin to change when she does. In the winter we tend to eat more well cooked and warming dishes, things that will keep us warm and energized. Generally it is not a good idea to overdo it on ice cream and other foods that make us feel more sensitive to the cold. We still need lightly cooked vegetable dishes and raw salads that are mildly cooling to keep us fresh throughout the winter.

Starting in early to mid February it is time to very gradually lessen these well cooked and warming foods and re-introduce foods that are light, refreshing and cooling. This way our body gradually adjusts to the coming of spring and follows nature’s pattern. Add more lightly cooked vegetable dishes, raw salads, vegetable dishes and enjoy some oranges and tangerines. 

It is most important to not consume any foods that are extremely cooling such as ice cream or iced-drinks until the warm weather is stabilized, well into the spring. If we take cooling foods when we have a brief warming period in the spring and the weather turns suddenly cold again the harmful effects tend to go deep inside and cause prolonged or lingering illnesses well into the spring.

The same also applies if you go to the tropics during the cold winter months. While we are enjoying the warm weather and sun, it is fine to have tropical fruits, drinks and other cooling foods. If we overdo it on vacation however, we may have problems when we return to the cold. It is good to be moderate with our food and drink choices during winter vacations. 

Personally, Susan and I prefer to go on vacation in April or early May so that when we return the weather is similar enough. Whatever your preferences, I hope these suggestions help you make a smooth transition into the spring and to get the most out of our remaining cold weather.