In Chinese Nutrition it is believed you should eat all types of food in moderation. There is no “good” or “bad” food – all food has a purpose. What might be suitable and appropriate for you to eat at certain times of your life, times of the year, or times of the day can, however, have a large effect on your wellbeing, and long term health. Eating for the seasons gives us a guide to help prepare our bodies for the changes in weather, and allows us to introduce different foods to our diets through the year. It is important to eat a wide variety of food and not be limited to only a few foods – the more variety we have the better chance the body has to get what it needs.
Within Chinese Medicine is the idea of the Five Elements, which help us understand how our body relates to the world around us at different times of the year. Each Element has an association with a colour, taste, body organ and emotion. Spring time is the time of the Wood Element and represents outward, expansive directions. It is when the plants begin to sprout and grow vigorously and animals and humans become more active. It’s colour is green, so we should eat more green foods, in particular the expansive, outward growing foods such as broccoli, kale, parsley, leeks, Chinese cabbage, and sprouts. The Flavour of Spring is Sour; a teaspoon of lemon juice with a few drops of ginger juice added to warm water in the morning can aid your body to prepare for Spring. Introducing more sour and fermented foods into your day such as good quality vinegars, lemons, or sauerkraut will also help to kick start Spring for you. Cooking for Spring is also energetic and outward: think stir-frys, sauté, steaming, and fast pickling.
QUICK SPRING VEGETABLE FIX (Serves 2)
- 1 Large Bok Choy chopped
- 1 Large Zucchini sliced thinly
- 1 Cup Bean Sprouts cleaned thoroughly
- 1tbsp Sesame or Rice Bran Oil
- Pepper to taste
- 1 Tsp flaxseed oil
- 1Tbsp toasted Sesame Seeds
- Sauté Bok Choy until softened, add the Zucchini until softening, add the pepper and sprouts and toss for about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and drizzle with flaxseed top with toasted sesame seeds.
MIXED HERB OMELETTE (Serves 2)
- ½- 1 Tbsp rice bran oil or butter
- 1 C packed chopped mixed fresh greens such as parsley, chives, spring onion, dill, kale, baby spinach
- 4 Eggs beaten (best quality eggs you can get)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil or butter in the pan, add the herbs and cook without stirring around 30 seconds, until wilted.
- Starting in the centre and spiralling out to the edge of the pan, pour the eggs over the herbs, reduce the heat and cook without stirring until the eggs are almost set.
- Using the spatula, cut the omelette in half, and fold the corners over for each half, creating two rectangles. Serve immediately