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Eating with the Seasons

When we choose to eat with the seasons its a subtle and powerful way to create balance in the body and the mind, increasing our sense of wellbeing. I find this easier in the fall and winter. Fall brings all sorts of yummies, Pumpkin Spice, root veggies, soups, and stews. Winter with its dates, and cinnamon, and hearty and dense foods. These two seasons are like comfort on the plate, bowl and cup for me. Spring and Summer are a little harder for me to come up with meal planning, so I thought I'd use the opportunity to share what I'm planning!


I open up my Ayurveda books first. Remind myself of the qualities each season illuminates, and what to avoid. I follow the principles of Ayurveda to look and feel my best. I listen to what's going on around me and can feel the seasons change on my body. April tends to be when the frost has cleared, some sunny days are registering on the weather apps and out the window, tulips are blooming, and that beautiful spring green are on the trees. It's time to reign in the winter comfort food and get moving and lighten up!


The Seasons and their Qualities

SPRING: Heavy, oily/damp, cloudy, stable

Opposites to bring balance: light, dry, sharp, clear, mobile

Dosha: Kapha


SUMMER: Hot, sharp/bright, oily/humid

Opposites to bring balance: Cooling, slow/soft, dry

Dosha: Pitta


FALL: Cool, light, dry, rough, mobile/windy, clear

Opposites to bring balance: Warming, heavy, moist/oily, smooth, stable, cloudy/dense

Dosha: Vata


WINTER: Cool, very dry, light, rough, hard, clear, mobile

Opposites to bring balance: Warming, moist/oily, heavy, smooth, soft, cloud/dense, stable

Doshas: Vata (early) and Kapha (late)


For this blog post I'll focus on how to meal plan around SPRING and SUMMER





SPRING


Spring brings out some sun, flowers, buds, life coming back into view with that spring green hue. It also inspires more movement, maybe some thought on changes to what you are eating as well. Spring brings playful energy, spring cleaning and cleansing, and lightness. It also is a time to get out of your cozy cave for the winter and get outside!


Foods that belong in this season are easy to digest like:

Seasonal greens: arugula, cabbage, dandelion greens, spinach, leeks

Other greens: Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli,

Spices: Ginger, turmeric, black pepper, lemon

Fruits and bright berries: apples, pears, berries, dried cherries, raisins, prunes, grapefruit

Proteins: beans (black, white, chickpeas), lentils, white meat, egg whites

Recipes that sound like: strawberries and vanilla, pho, tacos on corn tortillas, white bean soup, carrot ginger soup with roasted chickpeas, leek soup, green juice, hummus,


Meal Planning at the O'Dea Home


Breakfast: Oatmeal with seeds and raisins, warm lemon water with a kick or Eggs with greens


Lunch: Hummus, salads with beans, and goat cheese, cucumber salad, dolmas


Dinner Ideas: Turkey or chicken Tacos, Gwyenth Paltrow's Tuna Pasta, soups


More lifestyle tips for Spring




SUMMER


It's summer fun time in the PNW! Which means, bring out the picnic blankets, don on a swim suit, relax by a stream, lake, or ocean side, backyard bbq and playdates! Refreshing foods are on the menu that lighten up and cool the body. Think, cilantro, cucumbers, melons, and zucchini, and finds at your local farmers markets. Embrace the slow.......

Foods that belong in this season are cooling and calming:

Greens: zucchini, broccoli, leafy greens, green beans, fennel

Other veggies: beets, corn, summer squashes, herbs

Sweet dairy products: milk and ghee, goat cheese (I'm going to take the inch and take it to Salt and Straw) (no packaged yogurt or hard cheese this season though my friends)

Fats: avocados, coconut

Fruits: grapes, pomegranates, stone fruits, melons and limes

Spices: fennel seed, coriander, cilantro, cardamom, mint, and turmeric, aloe juice

Proteins: mung beans, lean white mean and fish

Recipes that sound like: Creamy coconut barley with peaches, cucumber salad,


Summer Meal Planning at the O'Dea Home


Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries or fruit, warm lemon water, trimming back coffee or or Eggs with greens


Lunch: avocados, fish, and rice bowls


Dinner Ideas: Grilled salmon, grilled summer squashes, wings, most things that sound like they belong in Mediterranean Cookbook...


More life style tips for Summer


Family Meal Planning Notes:

My girls eat whatever. I do not hold them to these principals. They are more in tune to their emotions and seasons than I am! They can be kids for as long as possible. But, that said, I do set an example of what I'm in tuned with, and what I put on my plate. My toddler/preschooler is much more curious about having what I'm eating than my 6 year old. I am laying the foundation for eating for a lifetime.


My husband goes along with what I make. And, I so appreciate his willingness. Some soups we've played with to see which ones are hearty enough for him, and I stay away from flavors he doesn't tolerate well, like fennel and dill. Put that combo in a soup and..... well it wouldn't be pretty. Very Hangry hubby.


Everything in life is about balance. I do go off script. This is a great foundation though to return to after some adventuring, living and letting go.



Recommended Cookbooks and Resources

The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook by Kate O'Donnell (must have)

The Mindbody Cleanse by Ronly Blau and Adrian Nowland (local)

Books to the right are from the library when I needed some inspo! I hope it inspires you to try new recipes, flavors that will nurish you and your families and loved ones.



Get outside and improve how intuned you are with the seasons. I bet you'll feel more connected to yourself, others, and our beautiful planet. And see how we are all connected.



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