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Are you in the Southern Hemisphere? See the November Guide here.
Welcome to May!
This month, we dive into edible flowers, which support both mood and body.
Since ancient times, flowers have played an eminent role in art, religions, pharmacopoeia, and kitchens all over the world. We all know that certain flowers are edible, but little is known about their medicinal value and which ones are safe to eat.
Studies show flowers have true value and can be used as powerful medicine and food. They are loaded with nutrients such as vitamins D, B, and A, flavonoids, antioxidants, carotenoids, phosphorus, potassium, and proteins. They taste good, pack a nutritional punch, and provide subtle balance to emotions.
During this challenge, as we become more in tune with our body and the natural cycles of nature, it becomes clear that there is a strong connection between our mind, emotions, and the way that we feel physically. Our emotions are strongly tied to our health.
Flower essences are herbal infusions or decoctions made from the blossoms of a plant. They have been used for centuries to encourage shifts in our soul development and to fine-tune our emotional selves.
Edible flowers carry these flower essences and support the mind and emotions in various ways.
Scientific studies show that flower essences match the effectiveness of the placebo effect with regard to mood and emotional health. While this may sound like failed science, the placebo effect is quite powerful: it can be 35-90% effective in resolving numerous health concerns. In drug development, placebos often outperform anti-depressant drugs—yet these drugs still make it to the marketplace!
In fact, a new drug only has to outperform the placebo ONE time for it to be approved and sent into production.
Ayurveda maintains the key to restoring physical and emotional health is boosting awareness. If the body has inner awareness of the problem, it can employ an immune and repair response to address that problem.
Edible flowers seem to work as powerful tools to enhance self-awareness. Rather than providing “euphoria” or direct relief from pain or conflict, edible flowers work to stimulate awareness of our conflicts and challenges, and they strengthen our ability to work through obstacles to our health and growth.1
You can receive the mental and emotional benefits of flowers by eating them in a salad or as a colorful and delicious garnish.
Please download and print the April and May Flower Charts below, where I list all the flowers in bloom in April and May. These charts are a user’s guide to eating these flowers and using them for emotional benefit. The goal is to stabilize and bring the mood back into balance. They will be most effective and noticeable when they match the core mental or emotional challenges you face.
As discussed in the April Guide, this time of year, you might not be feeling as hungry, and should begin to try eating less at your meals.
As April showers bring May flowers, we also see a variety of spring greens increasingly available. The “famine” of spring is ending and being replaced by a low-fat, high-veggie diet engineered to reset your ability to efficiently burn fat, instead of sugar and carbs.
Fat is the body’s stable store of energy. It delivers mood stability, deeper and better quality sleep, improved endurance, healthy blood sugar levels, long-lasting energy, and a much-needed detoxification after a long winter of storing nutrients.
Your spring diet should be somewhat austere. Be careful to not overeat, as many of us often do in the fall—in the height of feasting season.
In May, while foods are becoming more and more available, we must learn to be okay with leaving the table only 75% full. Educating the body to be satisfied with less each spring is an integral part of the reset to encourage fat metabolism throughout the rest of the year.
While the spring diet will naturally force the body into fat metabolism and help you shed excess winter weight, it is also time to put focus on your digestive and detox pathways and cleanse the deep tissues where toxins are stored.
At LifeSpa, I suggest we support this natural process of spring cleansing with one of our Ayurvedic detox programs. An Ayurvedic-based cleanse will allow you to naturally start burning fat and reset your fat metabolism.
Consider our 14-day Colorado Ayurvedic Cleanse or 4-Day Short Home Cleanse. These cleanses consist of ingesting ghee each morning, followed by a non-fat diet, which flips the body into fat metabolism, eliminates cravings, encourages healthy weight loss, and ultimately makes you a better fat burner—nature’s goal during spring!
NEW: Follow my Ayurvedic Spring Elimination Diet in May and June to reset your ability to burn predominately fat as your fuel. It’s simple: avoid grains, sugar, dairy, and processed food.
This is kapha season, so building structural strength is key. It is critical during these spring months to exercise.
Studies on nose-breathing exercise verses mouth-breathing exercise show that deep breathing through the nose during exercise will help the lungs expel fat as waste more efficiently than mouth-breathing exercise.
Make exercise and movement part of your daily routine: be it going for a walk on your lunch or after work or hitting a yoga class before or after work. I promise you will see and feel the powerful benefits of simply moving your body.
Annual Edible Flower Guide
Download this guide here.
Seasonal Grocery List
When we adjust our diet and lifestyle to match the season, health-promoting digestive microbes dramatically change. Spring microbes support balanced immunity, digestion, mood, energy, blood sugar, weight, sleep, and much more.
Spring is also associated with the qualities of kapha: heavy, cold, and oily. To stay balanced, focus on foods and activities that are light, dry, and warm. Download and print this list, circle your favorite spring foods, and look for them at the grocery store. Experiment with the flavors and enjoy!
May Seasonal Posts
Best Flower Essences to Boost Mood this Spring: It’s hard to ignore the sight of first spring flowers in April. After a long, barren winter, the appearance of colorful flowers dotting the landscape can bring a smile and sense of relief. Historically, spring flowers were a sign to celebrate the coming of the new growing season. How are you celebrating the change of seasons?
Superfoods For Your Body Type: Spring Edition: Spring is the start of nature’s annual nutritional cycle, where it takes one full year to get ones’ nutritional needs met. Spring is a heavy, wet, and warmer time of the year that encourages seeds that have weathered a long winter to germinate and sprout, offering an abundance of nutrient-dense foods so desperately needed after sparse winter. For our ancestors, early spring was always a tough time in nature to get nourished, as the winter stores have likely run out and the spring harvest is still in its infancy.
Beans: Spring’s Unexpected Superfood: As humans evolved and foraged for nuts, seeds, tubers, grains, fruits, and vegetables, beans were the one cherished food that we discovered could weather the winter without spoiling. Beans fall off the vine in the fall and lie dormant all winter, in order to sprout in the spring. Grains do much the same, but they lack the super strong protective shells and anti-nutrients that beans have, and do not weather the winter as well.
May Seasonal Recipes
These fantastic recipes are gifted to us by the lovely Emma Frisch: 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 in place with the rest of our diet and seasonal eating recommendations.
All photos and recipes by Emma Frisch.
Wild Ramp Pesto with Alaskan Salmon
Prebiotics that Balance Kapha
Garlic | Harvested Spring or Fall: Balances Kapha
Garlic is high in the prebiotics inulin and fructooligosaccharide (FOS). Garlic has been found to increase proliferation of bifidobacteria in the gut, which supports gut health immunity.9
Onions | Spring or Fall: Balances Kapha
Like garlic, onions are high in inulin and FOS, which support healthy gut bacteria, break down fats, and boost the immune system by increasing nitric oxide production in cells.10
Leeks | Harvested Spring or Fall: Balances Kapha
Leeks, onions, and garlic all come from the same family and deliver inulin and FOS as their source of prebiotics. Like onions and garlic, they also support proliferation of good gut bacteria and gut immunity.
Seaweed | Harvested Spring: Balances Kapha
Seaweed is a powerful prebiotic. However, it is rarely consumed outside of Japan and other Asian countries. It is a natural prebiotic soluble fiber rich in minerals like iodine. Seaweed has been studied to support growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.11
To see all prebiotic recommendations, read Nourish Your Microbiome: Seasonal Prebiotics for Your Ayurvedic Body Type.
Adrenal Boost (formerly named 5-Herbal Energy) is a proprietary adaptogenic herbal formula designed to support the nervous system and help the body replenish its depleted energy reserves. If the body’s energy reserves are depleted and deficient, it will constantly be borrowing energy, going more and more into debt, and having to produce more adrenaline and stress-fighting hormones.
Introduce yourself to your new community! Let us and your fellow challengers know why you’re looking forward to the next year of living and eating with the seasons. Post inspiration, photos, recipe ideas, and more to social using hashtag #3SeasonDiet. Grab your copy of the 3 Season Diet book today.