After months of cold weather, many of us are feeling anxious for anything and everything that encompasses spring. While soul-soothing warming dishes and comfort foods serve us well throughout the winter months, chances are you’re starting to feel a bit sluggish by now. Maybe you’ve put on a few pounds (really, what species DOESN’T throughout the winter!?) Or, maybe your body is now calling out for more refreshing, lighter fare. Either way, the transition into spring can be the perfect time to hit the reset button and provide the body with a little extra love. Just like we focus on spring cleaning for our homes, our bodies can use a little spring cleanup too.
There are many different types of cleanses, but they don’t all have to be drastic or largely restrictive. A spring cleanse can be as simple as incorporating more whole foods into your diet that help support digestion, the urinary system and other elimination channels that are important for flushing out toxins and waste. If we look to nature, we’re provided with many clues as to the types of foods that are most beneficial for us at this time of year. Plants and greenery are starting to come to life and putting emphasis on eating locally produced food, provides us with a roadmap as to what foods ]can help support the body through seasonal transitions.
Remember that just as spring can be a confusing time for nature (think sun one day, winter storm the next!), this can be a confusing time for the human body as well. It’s always important to listen to your body – if one day you’re craving a hearty, warming meal and the next a smoothie and salad, follow your body’s signals. Given crops can be a bit sparse heading into spring, it makes sense that we would traditionally rely on lighter fare including greens, various kinds of lettuce, herbs and roots heading into warmer weather. I love this time of year for incorporating leafy greens and herbs into my diet, in addition to one of my absolute favourite veggies… asparagus! I can’t wait for local varieties to start coming available in May and have been busy working on new recipes using asparagus as my inspiration.
Loaded with nutrients that are especially supportive of the body’s elimination channels, this salad is definitely a new go-to in our house. It’s super quick and easy to make and is loaded with beneficial foods. Key ingredients include:
Asparagus is a diuretic which helps to cleanse the kidneys and reduce water retention. This is important for people who suffer from edema, high blood pressure or other heart-related conditions. Asparagus also contains inulin which promotes the growth of friendly bacteria and a healthy gut. It is the food highest in glutathione which is needed and produced by every cell. Glutathione has the ability to help shuttle excess estrogen to the detoxification pathways and out of the body.
Turmeric is a spice that is extremely effective in reducing inflammation. This is important given inflammation is a root cause of many health conditions. Turmeric has been shown to protect the liver against damage and regenerate damaged liver cells. It is best absorbed in the body when combined with black pepper and fat (both of which are present in this recipe.)
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene which helps to protect the liver from damage in order for it to filter out toxins. This allows the liver to function optimally, metabolizing and removing toxins from the body. Experts believe that lycopene is essential to maintaining good health as people grow older. It boosts the immune system and laboratory tests have shown its effectiveness against cancer cells.
Cilantro is a natural chelating agent that helps to safely rid the body of heavy metals and other toxins. Sometimes called “Chinese parsley,” it has been used for thousands of years as a natural blood purifier and detox agent. Cilantro is a powerful antioxidant and is a good source of dietary fiber, iron and magnesium. It’s been long used as an anti-inflammatory and digestive aid, it’s also been found to improve liver function, lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.
Sea Salt contains all 84 trace minerals, unlike table salt which has been stripped of minerals and is often processed using anti-clumping agents and other chemicals. Using sea salt is a great way of ensuring adequate intake and replenishment of minerals that may be lacking in the body.
Hemp Seeds are rich in all essential amino acids, making them a great plant-based source of complete protein. Hemp seeds contain soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which help cleanse the colon and intestinal tract, while removing toxins (this is important because if toxins are not removed, they will be reabsorbed and left in the body.) Hemp seeds contain chlorophyll which helps to clean the blood of impurities, hemp seeds also improve blood circulation and contains amino acids that stimulate the liver to remove toxins from the body.
Raw Honey contains a wide variety of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, given it has not been heated at high temperatures and had its nutritional benefits destroyed. Raw honey is rich in protein, Vitamins C, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
- 1 cup hemp seeds
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro (if you don’t enjoy cilantro, use 1/2 cup of parsley instead.)
- Tips of asparagus, plus stems cut into coins (2 cups/1 bunch)
- 2 cups of quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup cucumber
- 1 cup organic corn
- 1 tsp of himalayan sea salt (or to taste)
- Black pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- Remove ends of asparagus spears
- Cut spears into small ‘coin’-sized pieces
- Quarter cherry tomatoes
- Finely chop cilantro
- Chop cucumber into medium-sized pieces
- Add all salad ingredients to a bowl and gently mix together
- In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, turmeric, basil and honey
- Drizzle dressing over salad
- Add sea salt (I used approximately 1 tsp), and pepper to taste
- Toss thoroughly and let marinate for approx one hour prior to serving