Dictionary.com describes ‘synergy’ as the combined action of one or more stimuli. What could possibly be more stimulating that the smells and sights of early spring after months of slogging in the cold and wet?
With the tiny green buds erupting everywhere, vivid purple and orange crocuses exploding in flowerbeds and banners on the sides of city buses pleading for daffodil pickers, spring is in the air and the sentiments it brings are contagious. The long sleep of winter is showing every indication of giving up the ghost and with it, we can lay our bad habits and deliberate nutritional ignorances to rest once and for all.
June will be our month to focus on Natural Eating in the CEDRIC newsletter, but I wanted to bring it up in this issue to go along with all the green that is cropping up everywhere. We need to be in full throttle of eating right by June, where we will augment the process with tips and yummy ways of integrating a wiser nutritional path for ourselves, but we have to start somewhere and there’s nothing like using the encouraging shoots of green as our incentive.
I am using the impetus of all this burgeoning growth to inspire me to be good to my self, to become more active and to look at the heavy, deadening parts of my life with a critical eye, ready to eliminate anything that doesn’t contribute to improving my situation, in order to make me physically light and to make my spirit lighter. “The body will follow” is the lesson I’m learning from those who have already been through the difficult baby steps of beginning to be aware in a body/mind/spirit philosophy.
I look to our fearless leader, Michelle, as she has been through the fire and is back, helping to build bridges for the rest of us who found ourselves in similar straights but who are without the resources that Michelle tapped into. Michelle eats very aware, with lots of green teas, whole grains, exceptional chocolate and a diet that is intentional in its consciousness. I don’t think she would ever be caught dead with food that harms her (other than her occaisional chai latte and exquisite chocolates). I like the way she thinks. I know I’m not alone either.
So I encourage you to start this week. When you are in the supermarket, trying to figure out what it is that you need to get, think organic. Use common sense when it comes to things that contain ingredients you can’t fathom, and stay in the outer aisles when selecting the kind of building blocks your body needs to be healthy. It may seem more expensive, but shop around, organic produce has come down a lot in price in the past year as it increases in popularity. The internet has great recipes for alternate ways of cooking so that you don’t have to give up your comfort foods completely, however by replacing harmful ingredients with nutritional ones that contribute to well being, you can still cozy up to those stews and baked casseroles that comfort you through spring evenings that are still pretty nippy. Use virgin olive oil instead of margarine or butter, for instance.
Instead of gathering huge bags of commercial fruit and veggies into your shopping cart, select smaller quantities of the organic brands, more often. In order to gain the nutrition of one organic cauliflower, for instance, you must eat several of the commercial variety that have been grown with pesticides. The worst culprits for pesticides are often the least obvious. Non-organic melons and hard peeled fruit are the absolute worst, not because they have been inundated with chemicals, but because the minute you cut into those rinds, the knife transfers pesticides to the inner flesh. Drink more water and less flavoured sugar-based beverages, remembering that soda pops not only have the dreaded high fructose corn syrup but they are also contributors to osteoporosis in women’s bones as they age. It is the fizz that gives us long term problems in our advancing age.
Another way of introducing healthy fresh vegetables and fruits to your diet is to start growing your own whenever possible. Even if its only a few planters on your balcony as an apartment dweller, salad greens sprout and grow easily. The bonus is that you can move the planter to follow the sun if you’re in a darker side of your building. Chives, parsley and various lettuce greens plus leeks, spinach, green onions all can be started now as seeds and kept on window sills as they propagate, and after the May long weekend, they can be moved outdoors or to the ground, once the threat of a late frost is past.
Eating wise is the key to putting things back in balance. I know that it’s hard to recover from longstanding eating issues without sometimes dipping back into a diet mentality focus on food, but we still have to eat, and we still need to break those patterns that contributed to our becoming out of sync with our health. Instead of groaning at the thought of interacting with food, there’s something innately optimistic about the way food we grow ourselves becomes available. A little love, a little water and the occasional fertilizer in the form of your cold tea and eggshells, and you are rewarded with tasty convenience that doesn’t even need refrigeration.
Spring salads can also be augmented with things that we find in the garden. Fresh dandelion greens add a tangy taste to your assortment of veggies and greens for your salad. The petals of dandelions are also very sweet and colourful, also full of iron and other nutrients that help kick start our immune systems. When I am making a salad where I have access to a yard, a quick wander often adds nasturtium flowers and leaves, chives, dill or fennel sprouts to the mix.
Springtime Salad Dressing
Make your dressing in the bottom of the salad bowl and stick to ingredients that contain no dairy or sugars as commercial salad dressings are notorious for being full of fat and sugars that make a low calorie salad into a high calorie nightmare. Since there can never be enough garlic, cut a clove and rub the raw end over the entire inside of the salad bowl before you add your contents. Then slip in a couple of tablespoons of whole mayonnaise, a distressed (squished) clove of garlic and about four tablespoons of Bragg soybean sauce. Stir with a whisk till smooth and then simply toss in your vegetables, mix well and viola. Low calorie munching with high appreciation response.
Garlic can be added or withheld as family member’s tastes dictate. Sometimes I make the no garlic version if I have to be talking with others and the delicious taste of the Bragg is enough on its own to make the salad just as palate pleasing as if it had all the evils in it the commercial dressings contain, yet without the guilt!
So, think in terms of freshness, think in terms of long-range results. Think in terms of nurturing your insides as well as your outsides.
Take a spring walk every day for at least 20 minutes and know that somewhere out there, I too am walking, taking in all the exciting signs that the cold, dreary days of winter are behind us for another year. Those exciting signs are also saying that we too will be healthier by the time the wheel of the year brings us back to the next spring.
Kick-start your healing journey with fresh veggies and fruits, nuts and whole grains and let the synergy of spring propel you into the healthiest year of your life. You’re not alone! I’m doing it too!
Tina Budeweit-Weeks is a member of the CEDRIC Success Team in the role of staff writer and executive assistant for Michelle Morand. Her philosophy has always been one of self-nurturance and dignity. In support of the complex difficulties clients may experience around regaining a healthy balance, Tina’s writing is designed to sympathize, support, encourage and inform. Although there are many similarities in Tina’s process, she is not a client, but a hard working, behind-the-scenes member of the team, dedicated to helping the CEDRIC Centre stay current and effective.