Spring Awakening: The Power of Seasonal Eating in Chinese Traditional Medicine

Spring Awakening: The Power of Seasonal Eating in Chinese Traditional Medicine

Today’s blog post is written by Feedr’s own Margaux Langlade, a vital part of the vendor team. Margaux’s passion for food and nutritious eating goes way back before her days at Feedr, beginning when she was working in the hotel industry and found that her hectic schedule had led to her relying on a diet that made her feel unsatisfied, drained and unhappy.

She spent a year researching different diets and their impact, taking courses from Le Cordon Bleu on nutrition and gastronomy and a year-long course on mastering self-healing with the longevity diet, introducing her to the world of Chinese medicine and holistic health.

Over the course of this year she was able to nourish her body, seeing the massive impact of diet on everything from mental health, skin concerns, to even losing 30 kilos. After spending time coaching her own clients and working with them to create bespoke, empathetic diets, she’s brought her wealth of knowledge to Feedr to ensure that the food we offer not only tastes great, but helps you to feel great about yourself. 

Spring Eating

Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Five Element Theory teaches us about the elemental nature of each season.  

Spring is the season that governs the liver and gallbladder. The liver is the organ responsible for regulating substances in the body like bile, blood and as per Chinese medicine Qi. In a broad sense, qi is the vital energy that enables our spirit to take human form.

The wood element represents spring. Wood is expansive, upward and outward moving, just like the blossoming environment in spring. It is a fertile time when we begin to harvest leafy crops and fresh ideas and we have more energy. 

Thank you, sun! 

In line with spring, we may feel this sense of renewal in our bodies. Maybe you’re more energetic, feel a sense of enhanced creativity, a lighter mood, and experience a warmer body with regular bowel movements.

Yet this is not the case for everyone. Some struggle to lift the heaviness of winter. The sun is sticking around longer, but their sunny disposition is not.

Chronic fatigue, weight gain, hormonal imbalances, and coldness have them in a chokehold! All signs the liver may have borne the brunt of winter.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, liver qi stagnation is the imbalance present within. It is no longer performing optimally, and all kinds of symptoms are present, including: 

  • Irritability 
  • Anger
  • Tension headaches
  • Migraines 
  • Trouble sleeping
  • PMS
  • Irregular menstrual cycles 
  • Feeling stuck or blocked
  • Weight gain

A reminder. Though we are all cyclical beings, we all have different internal climates. 

How To Reawaken a Sluggish or Stagnant Liver?

There are many simple nutrition and lifestyle practices able to increase liver qi (energy) and the functionality of the organ that you can integrate into your daily life. 

Eat sour foods 

The taste of the season is sour. Chemicals in sour foods help trigger the release of saliva. Lactic acid, acetic, citric, malic and fumaric acids are in foods including fruit, vinegar, yoghurt and cheese. The enzyme amylase, present in saliva, breaks down starches (complex carbohydrates) into sugars (glucose), which your body can easily absorb for energy. Saliva also contains the enzyme: lingual lipase, which breaks down fats. 

Thankfully, nature and farmers supply us with an abundance of sour foods in spring, including:

  • Sour cherries
  • Rhubarb
  • Green apples (Granny Smith)
  • Citrus fruits (e.g. lemon, lime, orange, tangerine and grapefruit)
  • Tomatoes
  • Umeboshi plums (Grown in Japan)
  • Tamarind (Grown in Africa and India)

Another reason to eat more sour foods is that some contain live, friendly bacteria. Live friendly bacteria support the existing colonies of good bacteria in the gut, known as the microbiome. Fermented foods that are not heated contain live cultures such as lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria. 

Kefir, a fermented yoghurt, is antimicrobial, anti-tumour, and anti-carcinogenic. Kefir is also immunomodulatory, meaning it helps the immune system naturally regulate.

There is also an abundance of fermented foods that become sour. Here’s some:

  • Vinegar
  • Sauerkraut 
  • Kimchi
  • Fermented vegetables
  • Kombucha
  • Sour cream
  • Yoghurt

Slightly Increase Bitter Foods

Like sour foods, bitter foods activate the digestive process by triggering the release of bile and digestive enzymes in the saliva.

Bitter foods such as leafy greens, cacao, herbs, and bitter melon contain liver-boosting nutrients. 

Bitter foods are widely available. And spring sees the arrival of a fresh harvest of leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables and the blossoming of bitter plants. 

These include:

  • Spinach 
  • Kale
  • Endive
  • Chicory 
  • Bok choy
  • Rocket 
  • Dill
  • Sprouted seeds & beans
  • Celery
  • Radish
  • Jerusalem artichokes

Looking to integrate these ingredients into your lunch? 

Use Feedr to find hand-picked vendors who prioritise their sourcing and using seasonal ingredients. Our recommendation is try out the Olive and Squash BYO bowl available with a variety of leafy greens with tahini dressing; the perfect combination for solving liver stagnation issues. 

Graphical user interface, text, application, chat or text message

Description automatically generated