In the northern hemisphere, March is certainly the beginning of the transition from winter to spring. According to Ayurveda, spring lasts from March through June, so the window to cleanse, reset fat burning, lose some winter weight, and detox old emotions is wide open for the next four months.
While March can be cold and snowy in the north and almost summer in Florida, the basic spring rules still apply. This is nature’s New Year and it is time to wrap up winter and dive into spring. You may naturally be craving lighter foods already, but it’s okay to bundle up with a hot soup during the chilly wet snow days of March.
After a cold, dry winter and months of feasting on foods that are higher in fat and protein, it is important that we embrace spring’s harvest and remove any bogginess from our intestines.
As spring arrives, so do the rains: snow melts and the earth gets muddy. The earth holds onto more water in the spring and so do we, making congestion a problem for many. This is why we call spring allergy season. Fortunately, nature provides the perfect antidote to the accumulation of water and congestion.
If we were truly living off the land, the only food nature would make available this time of year is bitter roots (at least here in Colorado). In the coming months, spring’s harvest will provide microgreens followed by berries.
During early spring, our focus is on bitter roots, such as dandelion, burdock, chaparral, goldenseal, and Oregon grape. These roots help cleanse the liver, move bile, scrub our intestines with alkaloids, cleanse boggy mucus off the intestinal villi, and remove excess fat from the intestinal wall. Add these to lighter soups and make teas to sip with your meals.
Many spring foods are mucus-free, fat-free, and aimed at cleansing the body from the heavy winter food.
Spring is nature’s fat-burning season, giving us the opportunity to make a dramatic shift in how we burn fat. As a culture, Americans have lost the ability to burn fat. Inundated with added sugars in almost every product on the shelves, our bodies have adapted to burn sugar as our energy supply, when fat is our body’s preferred energy source!
We RecommendAyurvedic Intermittent Fasting
Of course, both carbohydrates and fat work as fuel, but fat is much more efficient and long-lasting. Carbs can be more quickly depleted, leaving you exhausted, craving, and carrying extra weight.
Keep in mind that it’s not all about losing weight, but about burning fat instead of carbs and sugar each spring. There are receptors and microbes that get ready for fat in the spring as a major source of fuel and come summer carbohydrate receptors and carb-eating microbes predominate.
The leafy greens, sprouts, berries, and cherries of spring are a lighter, more austere harvest. This is a little nudge from nature to lighten up the body. You may find that during this season, your appetite will naturally begin to lessen. Your body is naturally thinking about lighter vegetable soups rather than hearty stews.
Traditionally, March was the beginning of the season of famine and fasting. The diet by March would have exhausted the grain, nuts, and hunting reserves. With the very austere (if any) harvest in March, food was scare and intermittent fasting, time restricted eating, and longer fasts were the norm. We have genetically adapted to spring’s calorie restriction and now we have Noble Prize-winning science to help explain the benefits of fasting.
During a fast, the body engages in a process called autophagy, where the body “eats itself,” scrubbing, cleaning, repairing, and gobbling up toxins. During fasts of more than three days, the body releases a higher amount of stem cells that rebuild and repair the body.
During the four months of spring, I highly suggest an Ayurvedic cleanse like the 14-day Colorado Cleanse or 4-day Short Home Cleanse, which are both based on fasting and calorie restriction principles. In addition, I suggest a water fast for one to three days for each of the four months of spring.
My advice is to TUNE IN to this desire to eat less.
Make lunch the biggest meal of your day and supper smaller. If you are trying to lose weight, then skip supper once or twice a week. Check out my Weight Balancing eBook for more strategies where you will train your body to thrive on just two meals a day each spring, lose weight, and reset your fat burners.
Spring is also naturally a gluten- and dairy-free season. By this time of year, stores of wheat will have been eaten or gone rancid, and we would allow cows and goats to save milk for their young, and thus grow our herd. Now is a good time to temporarily switch to a diet that is low in gluten and dairy—or even avoid them altogether.
In most regions, spring can swing between cold, windy, and grey to warm and sunny. During days that are colder, focus more on heavier, cooked winter foods. When sunny, start eating lighter fare, such as spring soups. Depending on how warm and sunny it is in your area, it may be time to start eating more salads as well.
If you are too busy planning your spring vacation to eat your fair share of bitter roots, sprouts, and berries, there are a few seasonal herbs you can take to make up for not getting enough of these fresh, harvested spring foods:
Herbs to Supplement for Bitter Roots
Herbs to Supplement for Leafy Greens + Sprouts
- Amalaki | 2 caps, 2x/day after food
- Chlorophyll | 1tbsp, 2x/day for 6 weeks with water
- Freshly squeezed apple, carrot, and celery juice | not an herb, but just as powerful!
Herbs to Supplement for Berries + Cherries: Move Lymph + Prevent Congestion
- Manjistha | 2 caps, 2x/day after food
- Red root | 30 drops in water, 2x/day
- Sip plain hot water every 10-20 minutes for 1-2 weeks to cleanse the lymph
Seasonal Grocery Lists
On cold days of March, eat more foods off of the Winter Grocery List, and on warmer days, eat more of the Spring Grocery List.
March Seasonal Posts
10 Dietary Tips To Transition Into Spring: In nature, the shift from winter (the end of the annual cycle) to spring (the beginning of the annual cycle) is perhaps the most important transition of the year. At this time, the weather, harvests, and microbes are making dramatic changes. For example, winter microbes that are geared for keeping the body warm and digesting heavier foods are transitioning to microbes that will facilitate fat burning, natural weight loss, stable mood, and renewed energy for the new year.
Bitter Is Better: Did you know that we have only one type of receptor for the sweet, sour, salty, and savory tastes, but a whopping 25 types of taste receptors to detect the bitter taste? What is up with bitter? Why so many bitter taste receptors? The answer will send you buying plenty of bitter greens on your next trip to the market . . .
How Much Protein Do You Need? (You’re Probably Not Getting Enough!): “Candice” joined me for one of my east coast weekend seminars in early November a handful of years ago. She had been dealing with lifelong insomnia, worry, and anxiety. She had been a strict vegetarian for 20 years, which initially helped her feel much better. Her digestion became stronger, elimination more consistent, and her energy and mental clarity were dramatically improved. I began discussing how the body has increased needs for protein in the fall and winter months in an attempt to rebuild structure and provide more bulk and insulation. I told the group that, in early winter, the body will start scavenging for protein from other parts of the body to re-stock its protein reserves, and that this could destabilize blood sugar levels . . .
8 Tips For A Healthy Spring Diet: I’d like to share a story with you of a patient of mine, “Mary.” I had seen Mary a couple of times early in the year for some mood, energy, and sleep issues. That spring, she came in for her follow-up visit. She told me that her previous issues were resolved, but was dealing with something different: she had recently lost her appetite. She told me that she wasn’t hungry for anything but salads. She reported that her energy was better, her sleep improved, and her mood was great. Her only complaint was her barely-there appetite.
March Seasonal Recipes
These fantastic recipes are gifted to us by the lovely Emma Frisch, a cook, blogger, freelance food writer, and former farmer. She is Co-Founder and Director of Culinary Experience at Firelight Camps and was a top finalist on Food Network Star, Season 10. Emma’s recipes fall right into place with the rest of our diet and seasonal eating recommendations.
All photos and recipes by Emma Frisch.
Take 15% off Manjistha, Turmeric Plus, Tulsi Holy Basil, Amalaki, and Liver Repair through March 31, 2019.
Use the coupon code Challenge at the checkout screen in the online store.
Cannot be combined with other discounts.
|Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia) is one of Ayurveda’s most popular blood-purifying herbs and is used for lymphatic and liver support. The incredibly important role of the lymphatic system is often overlooked in Western medicine. Your lymph system drains wastes from your body and controls and regulates your immune system. It is pumped through muscular contractions, so if one is sedentary, the lymphatic system will eventually become sedentary and will create toxicity in lymph tissues all over the body, such as the breasts, skin, joints, and muscles.*||Turmeric plus is a proprietary blend of whole turmeric root and black pepper for enhanced bioavailability and absorption. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has become popular as a supplement, both as a whole herb and in its extracted form, as curcumin. It is perhaps best known for supporting healthy liver function and for managing inflammation. It also supports balanced mood, optimal cognitive function, healthy lymphatic drainage, normal gallbladder function, and respiratory health, as well as overall vitality and well-being.*||Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), also known as amla or Indian Gooseberry, belongs to a group of herbs described in Ayurvedic texts as rasayana. According to Ayurveda, rasayana herbs promote youthfulness and longevity, and induce nourishment. Modern science has been equally fascinated by amalaki. One study even referred to it as “the Ayurvedic wonder,” as it supports everything from digestion to elimination, immunity, and inner and outer skin health. Amalaki has repeatedly been shown to support heart and arterial health, healthy blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels already within the normal range, and overall vitality.*|
|Tulsi Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is one of the most sacred herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. It was traditionally used in ceremony to purify the environment and create a sattvic or holy space, as its Latin name, sanctum, implies. Holy Basil has been used for centuries to promote immunity and stress resilience, support strength and stamina, and enhance calm and clarity.*||Liver Repair is a proprietary blend of five herbs traditionally used to support liver cleansing and optimal liver health: bhumyamalaki, barberry, turmeric, amalaki, and guduchi. These herbs support healthy detoxification pathways while simultaneously boosting the body’s natural ability to maintain healthy energy levels, promoting vitality and longevity.*|
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of John Douillard. They are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, and they are not intended as medical advice. They are intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of John Douillard and his community. John Douillard encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.