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Embracing the Vibrant Spring: Nurturing Your Body in the Season of Renewal

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Introduction As the cold winter gradually transforms into warmth, the vibrant season of spring emerges around mid-February in India. Spring, often referred to as the "king of seasons," brings a delightful blend of mild mornings, pleasant evenings, and slightly warm afternoons. During this time, nature adorns itself with an array of colors and fragrances, gifting us beautiful flowers and delicious fruits. As we embrace the changes in the external environment, it is essential to understand how our bodies respond to the arrival of spring and make appropriate adjustments to maintain balance and well-being.

Understanding Spring and its Impact on the Body Summer can be divided into two sub-seasons: Spring (Vasant) and real summer (Grishma). During spring, our bodies undergo specific changes compared to winter. The colder months of winter ignited strong hunger. To satiate this hunger, we naturally craved larger quantities of heavy foods. However, it is important to note that such foods increase the earth and water elements within our bodies. The combination of these elements gives rise to Kapha, which gradually becomes dominant in the body. As the surroundings and our bodies warm up in spring, the stored earth and water elements begin to melt. An excess of heavy food (Kapha) can lead to various ailments, including common cold, cough, asthma, sinusitis, ear, nose, throat problems, reduced appetite, skin issues, and allergies flare up (as commonly seen at the onset of spring). Those with a Kapha constitution and young children are particularly susceptible to these conditions. Your hunger in spring is now moderate, as compared to winter. Therefore, our diet and lifestyle should aim to balance and counteract the excess of Kapha during spring. It should be lighter, less oily, more dry. Bitter, astringent and pungent tastes should now be included in your diet.

Guidelines for a Balanced Diet:

  1. Cereals: Choose lighter and less sticky cereals during spring. Flatbreads made out of millets, such as sorghum, are the lightest option. If you prefer wheat, opt for lighter varieties like roti or phulka. Toast made from bread (western style) is also a lighter alternative. Popcorn made from millets or corn is a nutritious and lighter snack for this season. In India, fresh flat bread is typically made from wheat. There are different ways to prepare it, each with varying thickness and ingredients. For example, Paratha is a thicker bread made by incorporating oil and ghee, and it is commonly enjoyed during the cold and dry winters in northern India. Roti is a moderately thick bread, while phulka is thin and heated directly on fire, making it lighter. Fire burns out the earth and water elements, resulting in a lighter product. This concept aligns with the five elements. Similarly, popcorn made from millets or corn is lighter and a great snack option for this season. To make heavy fried rice from winter lighter, reduce the use of oils or ghee and season it with spices. Bitter, pungent and astringent spices are lighter in nature and work against Kapha. It is advisable to use one-year-old rice for cooking, as freshly grown rice tends to become sticky when cooked, increasing Kapha. Older rice is slightly drier and does not contribute to Kapha. These considerations prompt us to think about the choice of cereal and cooking methods. By making cereals lighter, they can serve as a nutritious food source throughout the year for individuals with a heavier build, allowing them to consume adequate quantities while still managing their weight effectively.

  2. Pulses and Legumes: Pulses have properties that help reduce Kapha. Increase the proportion of pulses in your diet during spring. In India, various soups, snacks, vegetables, and even sweet dishes are made from pulses. However, be mindful that pulses can cause gas and Vata problems. To mitigate these effects, use moderate amounts of oils and ghee in pulse-based preparations.

  3. Vegetables: Give preference to vegetables with bitter, pungent and astringent tastes (Spinach, drumsticks, and radishes are excellent choices for this season) over heavier ones like potatoes and beetroots.

  4. Milk and Milk Products: Most milk and milk products increase Kapha, so consume them in moderate to mild quantities. It is crucial to have them warm rather than cold. Avoid sweet treats made from milk and heavy dairy products like cheese, as they can exacerbate Kapha.

  5. Spices: Utilize spices that generate warmth generously during spring. This is the season to embrace the use of hot spices, which are known to balance Kapha.

  6. Fruits: While fruits contain essential nutrients, they also contain earth and water elements, making them less significant during spring. Furthermore, fruits are unripe during this season, ripening fully during the upcoming summer. Choose seasonal fruits that are not heavy in nature and avoid bananas, guavas, chikus, watermelons, and other heavy fruits.

  7. Oils: Warm oils such as sesame and mustard are ideal for cooking during spring. Their warmth helps counteract Kapha. Conversely, cold oils like coconut and palm increase Kapha. Although the need for oils is reduced compared to winter, it is still important to use them in moderate amounts. Limited oil consumption can lead to dryness, which may demand an excess of water. Water, being cold in nature, can increase Kapha in the body.

  8. Water: Thirst is more pronounced during spring. However, it is crucial to avoid excessive consumption of cold water, cold drinks, juices, and other watery substances, as they can increase Kapha. Save such hydration for the approaching real summer. Drink water only when genuinely thirsty, and those prone to or suffering from Kapha related conditions should opt for warm water during spring.

  9. Foods to Avoid: Heavy foods like sweet treats made from milk and coconut, excessively oily or fried foods, excessive liquid intake, cold items, dry fruits, and an excess of sweet, sour, and salty foods should be avoided during spring.

Establishing a Daily Routine During the colder mornings and evenings of spring, a warm or hot water bath is recommended. Engaging in moderate exercise helps reducing excess Kapha in the body. Adjust your meal frequency and quantity to accommodate the reduced hunger experienced in spring. Consider having a lighter breakfast, a complete lunch, and a lighter dinner. If hunger is absent during breakfast, it can be skipped. To prevent an increase in Kapha, limit afternoon napping to a short duration, only if necessary.

Conclusion By aligning our diet and lifestyle with the unique qualities of spring, we can support our bodies in maintaining balance and harmony during this transformative season. Nurturing ourselves with lighter, warm, and dry foods, incorporating bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes, and adapting our daily routine to the changing conditions will enable us to thrive and embrace the joys of spring to the fullest.

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