Spring is about opening up, expanding and movement. It’s waking up and stretching after the cold winter hibernation. Appetite for young, green and sprouting above ground vegetables become the focus as the body releases the need for heating and storing energy over the cold winter months.
With the weather being so unpredictable temperature wise, it’s important to have consistent nourishment, providing steady fuel to avoid getting chilled. For example, do not skip meals and schedule your daily eating times to be the same every day. Eating whole carbs and vegetables steadily throughout the day will give you even energy and warmth. Wrap your middle with a “haramaki” also known as a belly warmer to protect from the spring wind.
The organ system associated with spring is liver. The liver is sensitive to wind. The liver works with gallbladder to aid the body’s breakdown of excess fats, toxins and clean the blood.
If the liver and gallbladder are supported and balanced during spring, the entire body will benefit and work more efficiently through the energy cycles in the season to come.
Liver function is to store blood, support the heart, create and maintain a calm flow of energy throughout the body and mind. When the flow of energy becomes trapped and stagnant the consequences are felt physically and emotionally. Physically the body may feel stiff and heavy, muscles tendons and ligaments may experience cramping. Eyes, tongue, and top of the head are energy points for the liver. Any imbalances felt here, such as vision changes, dry tongue or headaches can all be influenced by liver/gallbladder health. Emotionally, feelings of resentment, aggression, edginess, frustration and compulsive behavior are often associated with a less than a healthy liver.
In essence: Happy Liver = happy body, happy mind.
A happy liver can easily be attained by supporting yourself with liver nourishing foods, cooking methods and activities.
According to the energetic principles we adhere to in the Macrobiotic Lifestyle, we have the ability to influence and adjust health by manipulating the energies we choose for our daily nourishment. For example, the sour flavor is associated with spring and tones the liver. Sour cools and strengthens the liver by opening and activating it. Foods such as lemons, lime, vinegar, pickles, and cranberries are just a few that can be increased in cooking. At the same time, overactivation of the liver due to chaotic food choices and overeating can lead to nausea, distension, flatulence, and diarrhea. The foods that would help balance these symptoms with a calming effect on the liver would be grains such as hato mugi, barley prepared with vegetables, bay leaf, dried shiitake mushrooms, celery, dulse, sweet brown rice vinegar, spring onions and sweet green leafy vegetables.
Adding outside activities such as long walks, biking or simply walking barefoot on the grass feeling the morning dew under your feet and the sunshine warming your face will help the liver energy emerge into the supportive source of life flow it’s meant to be.
About the author
Virginia M. Harper, founder of You Can Heal You, is an internationally recognized health counselor who made a full recovery from advanced Crohn's disease and life-threatening vaculitis through dietary and lifestyle changes using macrobiotic concepts. Thirty-five years later, Virginia is still symptom and disease free. She has been counseling in Nashville for over 25 years and offers residential healing programs, cooking classes and lectures.