Spring offers a lot of dampness and likewise eating damp or heavy foods can cause our body to feel just as heavy. This is the perfect time to take stock of what is in your kitchen cabinets and make a few alterations so that you can feel just as light and springy as the flowers emerging from the damp earth. Most of us begin to crave more salads as the air warms and the days lengthen, but some of us still get stuck eating too much heavy carbohydrates, dairy and meat. It may be beneficial to include more lively foods this time of year if you find yourself prone to spring heaviness or colds and allergies. I will recommend several foods to include in your spring diet, but I will focus on one herb in particular, cilantro.
Think of spring as a time to clean “house” mentally, physically and spiritually. One of my favorite herbs to accomplish this task is the underappreciated herb, Cilantro. We tend to think of Cilantro as the garnish to our guacamole or taco and that is about it. Cilantro is an extraordinarily healing herb for your skin and nourishing herb for your body…and here is why!
First let’s begin with why Cilantro is good for us on a whole. Cilantro is an awesome source of the mineral calcium, a mineral that many of us do not get enough of, especially women as we age. Cilantro is also a great source of iron, another mineral that many women are lacking. Iron is super important for a healthy pregnancy and for the production of red blood cells, which help carry oxygen through our body and to our various organs. Women also need iron to replace what is lost during menstruation. Cilantro also contains carotenoids and vitamin C, seriously amazing antioxidants for the body, which help protect the skin and cells of the body from damage produced by free radicals.
Wow, Cilantro is already shaping up to be a must have for spring! Besides Cilantro, I would recommend incorporating more bitter herbs and greens for a truly cleansing effect. Some great choices include Parsley, Dandelion (also a good source of calcium), Arugula, Mustard Greens, Beet Greens, Frisee, and Endive. Try them in a salad, smoothie or juice.
Cilantro has the capability, when consumed often enough, to actually pull heavy metals, such as mercury, from the body. This is an amazing benefit since we are exposed to a plethora of heavy metals on a daily basis from the environment. Heavy metals accumulate in our drinking water and in the fish we eat, for instance. They are also abundant in the air and even in the personal care products we use, just to name a few. Heavy metals accumulate in our tissues and have many deleterious effects.
When our pathways of elimination become “clogged” our skin becomes the dumping ground for toxins. Cilantro supports the liver and other elimination organs such as the kidney, lungs and lymph in the process of detoxification. Supporting the body’s natural detoxification processes with live foods, allow the skin to breathe freely and glow with radiance we so desperately seek to achieve from cosmetic products and procedures. It also promotes clearer thinking, stable emotional health and a sense of physical well-being (energy!).
So my friends, do your body a favor and grab a fresh bunch of organic cilantro the next time you are at the grocery store or farmers market for a mere $1.99 and enjoy in your salad, soups, sandwiches, and smoothies! Make some guacamole and load it up with this green liver lover. Cilantro goes to the top of my list for spring cleaning and don’t forget, some of the best dietary changes that you can make for the transition from winter to spring is to include live fresh foods in your diet every day. Try consuming more veggies in salads and juice your greens if possible too. Add some spinach, asparagus or beet greens to your eggs in the morning in order to get an extra dose of greens early in the day. Take advantage of what is in season too!
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Liver Lover Smoothie:
- Raw honey or stevia
- Vanilla Extract
- BIG pinch of Cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
In a high speed blender, (Vitamix is the best) throw a whole cucumber, lots and lots and lots of cilantro – like half a bunch, a lime, ⅓ pineapple, 1 tablespoon of raw honey or 6 -8 drops of liquid stevia, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, BIG pinch of cinnamon, and pinch of salt.