By: Chelan Wilkins, RHN- Busy mother of two, and Organika’s National Education Trainer
5 HEALTHY TIPS TO BRING ON SPRING
SPRING – Spring brings us so much more then just birds chirping, longer days and warmer nights. Spring is the time of the year where we feel the cold and dark days disappear and our spirits lift with each ray of sunshine!
After many months of dreary days, warm, cozy evenings in and comfort foods; Spring brings a sense of refreshment and renewal and I know I look forward to the first day of Spring every year!
Spring is an excellent time of the year to renew your health, your wardrobe and even your home! It is an excellent time to connect more with friends and family.
I love to incorporate these five fun family tips moving forward into the season of sunshine, new growth and longer days!
1) Get Down and Dirty :
I love to cruise the aisles of the local plant stores with my girls, picking our flower pots and seeds! This is the perfect time to go outside and remove all the dead leaves and do a spring clean up of your garden beds, flower pots, and yards.
My girls love to choose their herbs for their herb gardens, pick our vegetables for our garden and get our seeds prepared for our upcoming growing season!
There is something so special about watching them get excited and creative when it comes to planting their flower pots, watering them and taking care of them throughout the summer!
Fresh flowers, especially those spring lilies, hyacinth and even tulips are always a great way to bring in more sunshine, colour and a feeling of brighter days to any garden, patio or even inside your home!
2) Visit Farmers Markets:
One of my favourites ways to spend a sunny weekend is touring the local farmer’s markets in Vancouver! Not only are you supporting local and organic farmers, but you are also ensuring you are getting delicious and nutritious grown food!
Farmers markets are an excellent way for my girls to choose their foods, enjoy the ambience of people coming together and sharing their passion for their products, homegrown food and celebrating the warm spring days.
I always find Farmer’s Markets fun and food filled day! As the spring days turn into summer days, our food choices will start to fill with more fruits and veggies that are in season.
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3) Dust off those Bikes:
Living here in beautiful BC, there are so many trails, seawalls, and paths to get outside and explore! There is nothing better than spending a beautiful sunny afternoon exploring the city, trails or even our neighbourhoods on our bikes!
Exercising, getting the needed Vitamin D and fresh air makes you feel so uplifted, rejuvenated and it helps work away those winter pounds and blues that some of us may have.
If biking isn’t your thing, enjoying a nice hike or walk around the seawall while enjoying an ice cream or packed lunch on the beach, is just as lovely.
Exercise is not only good for our cardiovascular system, but it is also an excellent break from our screen times, phones and brings us back into nature.
4) Declutter Your Space :
Spring cleaning is a favourite of mine! With Spring comes a change in our wardrobes. Many of us are already on a Spring Break trip somewhere sunny and have had to dig out our shorts and t-shirts.
I often find that with Spring, comes a time to get rid of the things that we no longer need. Sorting through clothes for donation, re-arranging rooms and cupboards, and making our spaces organized and clean.
You would be surprised how refreshing an organized, and decluttered space helps with your mental health, work, and family life.
I often find Spring cleaning gives us a feeling of accomplishment, excitement for what is coming and a renewed feeling within ourselves!
We often put things on the back burner, with our busy schedules and we can become overwhelmed with all the things we need to catch up! Spring is an excellent time to organize the things we need to and prepare ourselves for the new season upon us.
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5) Get in the Kitchen:
With warm and longer days and patio season upon us I find spending time in the kitchen together as a family is even more pleasurable!
Preparing healthy meals from our goodies at the farmer’s markets, eating more fresh vegetables and moving away from those heavy comfort meals.
My family loves to eat outside on those evenings, listening to the neighbourhood kids outside playing, enjoying the fresh air and spending some quality time together.
My girls love to chop up vegetables, and as the summer days creep in closer, our food choices will start to change. I find having my girls help in the kitchen a great way to teach them healthy habits, allow them to feel a part of creating our meals and spending the time connecting with them.
With spring comes more family time I feel in my home. Our winter sports schedule dies down, and we can enjoy our evenings cooking, eating and playing outside more.
What are your favourite Spring activities? With the warm sunshine filled days, there are lots of ways to embrace the Spring. It is an excellent time to re-energize yourself, try something new and to set new goals!
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Healthy Times: Spring Cleaning
Spring is the season of cleansing. Mother Nature does it with rain by washing away the remnants of seasons past, and we do it with foods and herbs.
According to Chinese Medicine, the organ associated with spring is the liver. It is during this season that we need to cleanse our liver and our blood to revitalize ourselves, shaking off the sluggishness of winter.
It is no coincidence that spring seasonal foods are also excellent at detoxifying the body, as they contain phytochemicals that help the body remove toxins.
Our diets tend to be the lightest this time of the year, incorporating raw and sprouted foods.
Cooking techniques are simple, shorter and done at higher temperatures, using techniques such as sautéing, steaming or quick simmering.All of this helps our body to cleanse and detox.
Three main organs that help remove toxins from our body are the liver, the kidney and the colon. The following spring foods support these organs.
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- Onion family: Spring onions, garlic and chives are quintessential spring foods. They work specifically with the liver in phases I and II of detoxification.
During phase I, phytochemicals found in the onion family inhibit enzymes that activate toxins and turn them into carcinogens (cancer causing agents).
During phase II, they activate enzymes that promote the elimination of drugs, toxins and carcinogens from the body.
- Brassica family: Broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, radishes, turnips and kale are a few examples of spring vegetables found in the Brassica family.
This family of vegetables contains high levels of glucosinolates, which create metabolites that help enhance the elimination of toxins before they can damage the body.
- Beets and chard: These two vegetables come from the same plant family and both contain betalains. These phytochemicals are a class of red and yellow pigments.
Their detoxing capabilities also function during phase I. Just like the onion family, the betalains will inhibit enzymes that activate toxins.
- Fiber: Plant foods contain fiber, so all spring fruits and vegetables are a great source of this nutrient. Fiber is resistant to digestion and arrives in the colon intact.
This provides bulk and signals the colon to empty. Fiber helps to decrease the transit time of digested food in the colon. The less time digested food and toxins sit in the colon, the less likely they will cause damage to the colon.
Some fibers are soluble and form viscous gels. These gels can easily bind toxins and remove them from the body.
Beet and Broccoli Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette Recipe
1 1/2 pounds beets, tops removed and scrubbed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small head of broccoli, florets removed and cut into bite sized pieces
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces feta cheese
Salt and ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place beets in a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add enough water to cover the beets three quarters of the way up their sides.
Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with foil and bake until tender, 1 hour. Transfer beets to a cutting board and allow to cool. Remove skins, cut into 1-inch wedges. Arrange beets on a serving platter.
Place the broccoli in a steaming basket over boiling water, cover, and steam for 3 minutes. Remove the lid for a moment, then cook, partially covered, until the stems are tender-firm, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and transfer to the serving platter with the beets.
Combine vinegar and minced shallots in a small bowl and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes. Stir in mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper then whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil. Pour dressing over the beets and broccoli and crumble the feta cheese over the top.
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Asparagus, Baby Bok Choy, Baby White Turnips, Beets, Broccoli, Butter Lettuce, Chard, Chives, English Peas, Garlic, Green Onions, Kale, Microgreens, Radishes, Shallots, Snap Peas, Snow Peas, Spinach, Strawberries