Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring into Greens!!

Hello and welcome to the Kaplan Center of Health and Wellness blog . After a bit of a hiatus , it is my pleasure to welcome everyone back to this informative blog series .

 After a treacherous winter in the Northeastern states , spring is cheerfully greeted. As the leaves begin to bud  and show their wonderful green tones, our plates should become green as well. Spring greens are tender plants and vegetables that signal not only the end of winter but also a farewell to the heavier foods of the fall and winter seasons.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)   and Western herbology , the use of spring greens is said to traditionally detox the liver. In fact the spring greens used for this purpose have a flavor quite different from the spring mix found in the produce section of your local grocery store.  Many of them have a bitter or sour taste. Across cultural lines , these tastes are said to stimulate bile production an important part of the digestive process.  Traditional nutritionists argue that the typical American diet lacks adequate amounts of bitters and that this deficiency is a key factor in the obesity rate of the United States .  In addition to stimulating bile production , it is said that many of these foods also stimulate the pancreas and sugar metabolism as well.

As a holistic science, TCM also review the mind-body correlation between these bitter foods and their stimulation on our mental- emotional development.  It is thought that bitter and sour foods can encourage our  growth in areas of our lives where we have been sluggish or stagnant.  Many of these spring foods help our bodies to release dopamine and serotonin , the “ feel-good” hormones that often motivate and empower us ! Coupled this with the “ grounding “ effect that foods that grow so close to the ground , spring greens are an excellent way to stimulate new ventures. As this series continues this week, we will investigate ways to integrate spring greens into your diet.


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