We welcome Spring for its new energy, lighter nights, flowers, maybe a little more warmth and perhaps a positive new cycle. It can also be a time for personal growth such as changes to food from comfort food of winter to lighter, more energising foods. Spring is a time to eat lighter foods, that can boost energy, start doing a little more exercise and if the urge takes you maybe a little detox or cleanse.
Don’t pressurise yourself but try to include foods such as beetroot, radish, watercress, broccoli, cabbage, onions, eggs, carrots, artichokes, asparagus, berries, ginger, turmeric, ground flaxseeds, oats, brown rice, beans, lentils, lean meats, seeds, hot water and lemon and herbal teas such as dandelion, nettle and milk thistle and you are well on your way to helping support your liver. When our liver is congested and struggling a bit we may experience foggy head, headaches, joint pain, low mood, digestive upsets, low energy or poor concentration to name a few.
To help cleanse and lighten your body and mind it is best to reduce fatty red meats, processed carbs, sugar, cakes, white bread, alcohol, caffeine and deep fried foods.
Some other spring super foods include green peas full of Vitamin C, artichokes, lettuce, spinach which is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin which supports eye health. asparagus which helps support your bones and immune system, strawberries rich in antioxidants and vitamins and protect your heart and blood pressure. Apricots are rich in potassium. Beta carotene and vitamin C again supporting heart and eye health.
Try to get some fresh air to boost endorphins and other feel good chemicals and energy levels. Nature is a proven way to boost mood and help you feel better.
Have you succumbed to sugary, fatty snacks over the winter months? That’s ok but maybe look at having lighter snacks now the lighter nights are here.
Nuts such as almonds, brazil nuts and an apple or pear
Natural bio yogurt with seeds and berries
Oatcakes with nut butter or goats cheese
Avocado dip or hummous with celery sticks or raw carrots, pepper etc
Boiled egg, Protein smoothie
• 12 – Dates (pitted), 8 apricots
• 50g sunflower seeds, 50g pumpkin seeds
• juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
• 20 almonds
Put all the ingredients into a blender and whizz till smooth. The mix will make 8-10 small balls, or you can make them into small pattie shapes. They can be eaten raw, or you can dry them out in a very cool oven (180 degrees for around 20 mins)
Spring Chicken Casserole – BBC Good Food
1 tbsp olive oil, 1 onion, 500g boneless skinless chicken thighs or if preferred breast
300g small new potatoes, 425 ml low salt veg stock eg Kallo veg stock cubes
350g broccoli cut into small florets, 350g spring greens shredded, 140 g petis pois
Bunch spring onions sliced, 2 tbsp pesto
Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan. Add the onion, gently fry for 5 mins until softened, add the chicken, then fry until lightly coloured. Add the potatoes, stock and plenty of freshly ground black pepper, then bring to the boil. Cover, then simmer for 30 mins until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked.
Add the broccoli, spring greens, petit pois and spring onions, stir well, then return to the boil. Cover, then cook for 5 mins more, stir in the pesto and heat through.
Health benefits of this dish:
Chicken preferably free range or organic is a rich source of protein which helps stabilise weight and muscle growth for example and good sources of Vitamin A and B vitamins.
New potatoes are rich in fibre and Vitamin C which helps supports skin, hair and bones for example, some B vitamins to support our nervous system and potassium which supports heart health and blood pressure.
Broccoli and spring greens are rich in nutrients such as Vitamin K and C, Vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, folate, some B vitamins and antioxidants which support the whole body including the skin, liver, immune system, bones, nervous system and heart.
Peas / petis pois are also rich in antioxidants which support anti-ageing and immuity, B vitamins which support heart health, have high fibre great for digestion and Vitamin K good for bones.