SPRING AND THE TREE ELEMENT

In this new post I´d like to look again at the ancient Theory of Five Transformations of Eastern and Chinese medicine. Since spring is already here, let me take advantage and focus on the Tree stage within the Cycle of 5 Transformations.

INTRODUCTION

In spring it is important to discharge excesses accumulated during the winter (more quantity of food, fattier, saltier and more baked food). In winter we are less active and we like to stay indoors.

However, now in spring, precisely the opposite is required, upward movement, lightness, freshness, manifestation. If we don’t make balance with this kind of energy, there can be serious consequences. Actually, this is the time of depression and allergies. It is important to detoxify and cleanse our body.

THE TREE ELEMENT & RELATED ORGANS

The liver and gallbladder are vital when it comes to discharging the excess of winter. They help to purify the blood, get rid of toxins and help digest fats. Therefore, we must nourish the liver and gallbladder to face the coming months.

At this time of the year acid/sour foods grow naturally.  They help strengthen your bones, cleanse your blood, improve your sight, discharge, relieve body tension and improve sleep.

If you suffer from migraines, hypertension, oily and dry skin … you should avoid meat, eggs, dairy products in general, alcohol (any amount of ethanol is toxic), processed poor quality fats , strong spices,  hard and dry snacks … and regularly introduce light whole grains (barley, quinoa, bulgur), green leaves, fermented foods (pickles, tempeh, white miso, etc), vegetable protein, seaweed (nori, wakame) citrus fruits (tangerine, rice vinegar, umeboshi vinegar, concentrated apple juice, lemon, apple, etc). Always use local and seasonal fruit.

WHAT FOODS ARE MOST HARMFUL FOR THE LIVER & GALLBLADDER?

According to Chinese Medicine, the liver controls muscles and connective tissue. Problems involving muscles, tendons and connective tissue may be related to the liver & gallbladder.

  • Oil and fats (too much quantity or bad quality are equally harmful)
  • Animal products: meat, eggs, cheese.
  • Salt
  • Alcohol
  • Lack of freshness in the food: eating leftovers, lack of blanched greens.
  • An excessively yang macrobiotic regimen full of baked food, salt, miso, etc.
  • A very strong acid flavour: wine vinegar, oranges, lemon juice. Whether you love it or hate it, it may show liver problems.
  • Baked food (especially dry and hard flours)
  • Sugar and fructose (the latter is usually recommended due to its low glycemic index, overlooking its negative impact on cholesterol and triglycerides).
  • Excess of spices such as pepper, cayenne pepper, curry (metal element).
  • Drugs and stimulants such as coffee (affect the digestive system, kidneys and liver)
  • Stress inhibits spontaneity and creativity.

HOW CAN COOKING NOURISH THE ENERGY OF THE LIVER / GALLBLADDER?

Tree element cooking should favour the tendency of spring to emerge, manifest and be reborn after the lethargy of winter. The cooking will be rather light and refreshing. Cooking styles should  help activate and move energy, using pressed salads, raw or boiled vegetables, steaming, quick stir-frying, kimpira-style soups…

It is a good time of the year to promote the following foods:

  • Beans: peas, beans, green lentils, green mung beans, tempeh
  • Vegetables: leeks, broccoli, chicory, asparagus, cucumber, green pepper, artichokes, chives, spring onions, sprouts, endive, chicory, radish (and its leaves!), celery, dandelion, parsley, mushrooms …
  • Seaweed: Kombu, wakame
  • Whole Grains: Barley (very important), oats, wheat, rye, hato mugi.
  • Condiments: Vinaigrette sauces, pickles (sauerkraut), umeboshi (and its vinegar)
  • Fruit: Acid apple, acid blueberries, grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, plums, pomegranate …

Why not try the following recipes?

Artichoke Nituke  with mustard vinaigrette and mint

Spring salad of wakame, cucumber and tangerines

Barley soup

May I remind you about the cleansing cooking course we are organising. It is a good opportunity to learn how to make balance with spring through food. I would also like you to try cooking the recipes suggested and tell me how it went.

Finally, if you need help, advice or need to learn to cook healthy and vibrant macrobiotic food I will be happy to help. Stay tuned for coming events and subscribe to our Newsletter.

See you in the next post!

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