Spring Cleaning: Mind, Body, Spirit

 You can clutch onto the past so tightly to your chest
that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.
~Jan Glidewell

I always find that a change of season brings an opportunity for reflection. April is often a time for spring cleaning. We clean our homes and our yards, but there may be more that we want to shed. Many of us rush from activity to activity without stopping to reflect on how we are filling our hours. The stress of this constant activity can depress our immune systems and get in the way of creating what we want in our lives. There are many things that fill our days that we can’t stop doing, but here are a few tips that can help with the sorting process.

Schedule Time for Yourself: Take your dayplanner and schedule time for yourself. This should not be time for errands, cleaning, or folding the laundry. This is time just for you, whether it is going for a hike, gardening, reading or just sitting outside in the park. Make it something that you really enjoy and that feeds your spirit. You can start with once a week and then try to increase it over time. Write down what you will be doing and include a start and end time just like you would with other meetings. Scheduling time for yourself can have an enormously positive impact on your life.
Morning Intentions/ Evening Reflections: Our days are busy. We spend our time multi-tasking, working, taking care of our homes, jobs, and families. Pausing for a few minutes in the morning to remember your dreams and setting some goals for the day, and then having a few minutes in the evening to reflect on how the day went, can help bring needed awareness to how you are filling your time. If you like to write, you can keep a note pad or journal by your bed for this purpose.
Letting Go: Spring cleaning for your soul. What is one thing that you can let go of? This can be a task that you really want to delegate, a meeting that you no longer want to attend, or an old grudge that you can release. Pick one thing that you can let go and make it happen.

Spring Allergies

The early spring brought plenty of sunshine and high temps, but many of us are also suffering from early spring allergies. Here are some simple natural remedies that may help with your symptoms:

Water: That’s right, drink more water (8-10 cups daily). Increasing your water intake helps support your body’s natural cleansing system, reducing your allergy symptoms.
Local Honey: This is a sweet tip. Eating a teaspoon of local honey a day during allergy season can reduce allergic symptoms. Honey contains very small amounts of the same pollen spores that cause symptoms. By eating local honey you are gradually “vaccinating” the body against allergens. This tip is not for people that are allergic to honey, need to eliminate sugar, or for children under 12 months.
Neti Pot: Neti pots are small teapot shaped vessels that are used to flush the sinuses. You can also buy one for kids that is shaped like a large syringe. Make sure you use distilled water or water that has been boiled and then cooled and follow the directions.

Food Tip – Greens

How do greens benefit our bodies? Greens are high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, and zinc. They are also a powerhouse for vitamins A, C, E, and K. They are full of fiber, folic acid, and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Their color is associated with spring, which is a time to renew and refresh vital energy.

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Recipe: Shiitake and Kale
Cooking Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped (stems removed)
  • 1/4 cup almonds or cashews (optional)
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Warm oil in a pan on medium heat with chopped garlic (2-3 minutes).
  2. Add chopped shiitake mushrooms, stir fry for a few minutes.
  3. Add chopped kale and stir fry for a few minutes.
  4. Add a splash of water, pinch of salt, optional nuts, cover and steam for 4 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

How about serving this dish with Quinoa?
What is Quinoa? Quinoa (prounounced keen-wah) is a nutritional powerhouse with ancient origins. It was originally cultivated by the Incas more than 5,000 years ago. It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a great source of protein. Quinoa is also high in magnesium, fiber, calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper, manganese, riboflavin and zinc. While Quinoa is widely considered a grain, it’s actually the seed of a plant called Chenopodium or Goosefoot, related to chard or spinach. Quinoa is gluten-free and helps to stabilize blood sugar. For best results, rinse before you cook it. When cooked, it has a flufffy, slightly nutty flavor.

Directions:

  1. Rinse 1 cup of Quinoa in a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Boil 2 1/2 cups of water, add Quinoa and a pinch of salt and reduce to a simmer.
  3. Simmer 15-20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Remove from heat, let sit for 3-5 minutes and serve.

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