Sunny Days are Here Again!
For those of us living in the Pacific Northwest, sunshine has been hard to come by this spring. We’re currently enjoying dry weather though, and expect to enjoy high 70 degrees tomorrow! Dramatic temperature shifts are to be expected in this season of transition. In Ayurvedic wellness, winter and spring are both kapha, but mid to late spring can be strongly influenced by summertime pitta. In fact, depending on where you live, you may already be in a summer-like season. It’s important in spring to pay attention to daily changes in weather and temperature. In Seattle I’ve gotten quite used to keeping down coats easily accessible until the end of June. My closet is a mix of sweaters and short sleeve blouses right now.
In terms of diet, it’s important to be flexible, depending on what a particular day is like. For cooler spring days, stick with a kapha pacifying diet. As spring heats up, consider pitta pacifying herbs and foods. What exactly does this mean? To nourish our bodies in winter and cool spring, we try to eat primarily bitter, astringent and pungent tastes. More on that here. In summer, we decrease pungent (we don’t need to add heat to our diet when nature herself provides it) and maintain bitter and astringent tastes. We also increase sweet, while continuing to minimize salty and sour (salt itself, hard cheese, fermented foods, vinegar). We begin to choose cooling foods over warming. For example, we might begin to favor raw greens in a salad instead of steamed or sautéed veggies.
Here are some examples of foods, many of them local and readily available in the PNW, that help our bodies adapt to warm weather. I’ve included links to specific farms in the area that I recommend. Many of them can be found at the year round farmers markets in our city—Ballard, U-District, West Seattle, and Broadway, as well as the seasonal ones that start up in May.
- Legumes—beans and and chickpeas
- broccoli (try purple sprouting broccoli from Nash’s Organic Farm)
- jerusalem artichokes
- dandelion greens
- grains—amaranth, buckwheat, rice, millet, corn, rice
- fruit – as they come into season, summer fruits are a great way to satisfy sweet
- fresh goat or cow milk
- fresh yogurt
- bread (try Seawolf Bakery’s Seeded Sourdough)
- fresh goat cheese
- fresh spinach (I just had some from Nash’s that was indeed sweet!)
Coconut, cilantro, turmeric, coconut oil, olive oil, and maple syrup are excellent options for flavoring foods.
Hopefully I’ve got your mouth watering. Now take a screen break and get out in the sunshine!
Rebekah Papé is a writer, food and wellness consultant, and The Riveter member. She teaches breath, meditation, and yoga asana on Fridays at 11:30am and noon at Capitol Hill.