This is a time of year when the heavier diet of Winter gives way to the lighter diet of Spring. My experience is that my body is ready to begin lightening up. Its a natural time to support the liver and gall bladder in detoxing and decongesting. This in turn can help pacify skin issues since it is less likely to be used as a detox pathway if the liver and blood are clearer. The bitter taste is light and drying and acts on digestion in the small intestine and has opposite qualities to the heavy, moist Spring weather. It is balanced by a little bit of sour. The Sour taste acts on the liver and gall bladder and kindles appetite and digestion. A lack or excess of sour foods can weaken the liver and gall bladder. It is balanced by a little bit of pungency. Bitter greens are a great friend to the liver now.
Here’s a recipe for quick and easy braised greens:
Take that bunch of Kale or Collards and put it in a sauce pan on top of salted water that has a teaspoon to tablespoon full of Ghee or healthy oil added to it. Once the greens are cooked to your liking (from al dente to before mushy) add a squeeze of Lemon, lime or vinegar. To get the pungent taste in you can add a little chili, pepper, pippali and/or grated ginger, to your cooking water or at the table….
Don’t forget to make sure the meal as a whole has all 6 tastes ( Sweet, Sour, Salty. Bitter. Astringent and Pungent ) but take it easier on the sweet taste this time of year since it is heavy, cooling and moistening and, I for one, need a couple of qualities that are opposite to that to maintain my balance.
Sweet- Example – Sticky Rice / Earth and Water
Sour- Example- Lemon / Fire and Earth
Salty- Example- Sea Salt / Fire and Water
Bitter- Example- Chocolate / Ether and Air
Pungent- Example- Chili Pepper / Fire and Air
Astringent- Example- Beans / Air and Earth