Seasonal Behavior for the Spring

In order to explain seasonal behavior I would like to explain briefly what happens during the Winter. During winter, the sun moves South and the whole outer environment becomes colder. This cold causes the pores to close and our inner heat is ignited by wind and becomes stronger. If we eat too little food at this time our bodily constituents will diminish. Dietary recommendations for the winter are to eat the first three of the six tastes; sweet, sour, and salty. These tastes are the most nutritional of the six tastes and they help to maintain our bodily strength. The qualities of the moon and the earth increase at this time, including the qualities of cool, damp, smooth, heavy, etc. Over the winter these qualities cause an accumulation of phlegm in our bodies.

As the outer world heats up in the late Spring, this phelgm begins to melt. The digestive heat is weakened and phlegm begins to manifest. For this reason in Spring it is best to use the last three of the six tastes (bitter, hot/spicy, astringent). This includes bitter greens such as dandelion greens, broccoli rabe, radicchio, and spicy watercress. It is also suggested that we eat food that is dry light, and rough such as aged barley, puffed grains, lentils, beans, honey, and buckwheat, and drink hot boiled water, ginger tea, and tea with black pepper. The Spring is an especially good time for regular aerobic exercise to increase the metabolic heat. And using exfoliants on the skin is also prescribed. These foods and behaviors help to rid the body of excess phlegm.

The Spring is also a good time to do a complete dietary cleanse to help the body expel accumulated mucous from Winter. A cleanse can be anywhere from 3 days to several weeks, but most people choose to do something in between. In Tibetan medicine this is called bCud Len (pronounced Choo Len) and involves both cleansing with diet, herbs and laxatives and then building up the body using herbs and certain foods that are chosen depending on ones constitutional type. bCud Len protects our digestive heat thus keeping our metabolism strong and enables our body to fully absorb the nutrition in food and separate out the waste. bCud Len is recommended as a rejuvenation practice ideally done once a year to prolong life and maintain good health.

Happy Spring Cleaning!