Hello and happy gorgeous weather. Spring starts tomorrow. Some of you may be scrubbing your floors, rearranging the wardrobe, and figuring out what not to hoard after watching A&E's tragically entertaining documentaries. I know I certainly am (trying not to hoard, that is).
Did you know that with this cycle that comes with the seasonal change on the outside, our bodies crave ever-changing seasonal things to go on the inside, to stay in tune with natural rhythms? In the spring our bodies work to burn up fat and get ready for the higher energy, sun-fueled days and crops of the summer.
Once upon a time, our grandparents' grandparents lived off of the land around them. They ate the crops that were available during different harvests, turning to heavier/fatty foods available in the cold months. In the spring the human body works to burn up fat and get ready for the spring and summer (so yes, it is natural to gain a few pounds during the holidays, and it is natural for us to lose them). To continue eating the heavy, holiday-esque foods from the past few months would be giving our bodies and well being a great disservice.
For the next few months, we should consider dropping most of the animal foods (optimally all of them) to go along with the body's seasonal rhythm. In doing this, our bodies will efficiently burn off unwanted, excess weight that kept us insulated in the cold weather.
As a rule of thumb, for Spring we should consume less or completely eliminate dairy. Try a plant milk instead of your normal fix. Hemp, almond, and hazelnut milks are my personal favorites. Make sure you purchase an unsweetened variety, as hidden sugars in many alternative milk products contribute to weight gain/imbalance. Adding avocado or hummus to sandwiches or salads as a cheese substitute will also satiate that creamy "fix" without the added saturated fats from cow's milk.
Here are couple of healthy recipes to get you started with new eating habits (you needn't be a seasoned cook to make these, I'm certainly not one)...
Quick and Easy Quinoa Porridge (a fantastic breakfast option, much better than eating nutritionally void, processed cereals)
¾ cup cooked quinoa
½ cup unsweetened plant milk (almond, hemp, etc)
1 tbsp maple syrup or sprinkling of stevia
handful of berries/apples/bananas etc
2 tsp raw walnuts
Sprinkle of cinnamon and/or nutmeg
Combine quinoa, plant milk, syrup (or stevia) and berries in a small saucepan and place over a medium low heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn it down to a simmer and allow it to cook for about five minutes or so or until the porridge has thickened a bit and is heated through.
Stir in walnuts and top with cinnamon and nutmeg… Enjoy!
Sassy's Spicy Hummus
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cans chick-peas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup well stirred tahini (tahini is sesame seed paste, an awesome alternative to peanut butter, and very rich in calcium
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 3 inch pickled jalapeno
Mince and mash the garlic to a paste with the salt. In a food processor purée the chick-peas with the garlic paste, the tahini, the lemon juice, and 1/8 cup of the oil. Make sure to scrape down the sides so all the ingredients get processed.You may choose to add 1/4 cup of water to thin the hummus. You may also use some of the pickling juice to thin the hummus (I prefer to use the juice myself). Process the hummus until smooth and add salt if necessary. Transfer the hummus to a bowl. On the stove, heat 1/8 cup of oil until almost smoking. Once the oil is smoking, turn off the heat and then add the hot pepper flakes. The oil may sizzle. Let the oil cool to room temperature. You may choose to strain the oil, but I prefer to keep the pepper flakes in the oil. Once the oil is prepared, mince the jalapeno. Top the hummus with the jalapeno and chili oil. The hummus and the parsley oil may be made 3 days in advance and kept covered and chilled. Divide the hummus between shallow serving dishes and smooth the tops. Drizzle the hummus with the chili oil and jalapeno. Serve the hummus with the pita wedges and vegetables.