The Japanese principles of balance - or Macrobiotics - provide a wonderful framework for incorporating seasonal, local food into diet. According to Macrobiotics, when the body is in balance, we have good health; an imbalance - in any area - causes sickness.
One of the easiest ways we can find balance is by taking our cues from nature - a system that seems to find a harmonious balance all on its own. Working in-line with our surroundings helps us keep connected to our region and community (and by virtue, those around us). Think about how the little stresses in life can be easier to handle when they're contextualized in the bigger picture: keeping a connection to something outside ourselves can start with something as simple as mindful eating. Consider these five easy ideas - drawn from Macrobiotics - as you continue on your mission to spring clean your food and mind.
As with the other recommendations, don't stress: do what works for you, combining local, seasonal, and Macrobiotic foods in a way that makes sense for you. Some things may be recommended by Macrobiotics but might not be local to you: no worries! Experiment to determine the best mix for you. Balance - again - is key!
Five Simple Macrobiotic Ideas for Spring
1. Visit the farmer's market: don't alienate yourself from your surroundings. When we eat foods indigenous to where we live, the nutritional benefits actually increase! The minerals and nutrients in soil are intended to help us, depending on climate, season, environmental factors specific to our area. Eating fresh, local produce keeps our connection to the ground in a very primal way.
2. Amp up the fruits and vegetables: these provide good carbohydrates, water, and nutrients to support lightness of body and mind and essential life energy: perfect for a more enlivened spring lifestyle. Check out my earlier post on raw foods for some ideas! Keep it local.
3. A little bitter: bitter greens (dandelion, chard, beet tops) and tart fruits (green apples, plums) are great additions in springtime. In addition to their cleansing properties, they provide the complementary opposite effect of the heavy, oily, creamy foods of winter. Balance out your digestive system with lighter, bitter foods - any way you'd like.
4. Mix up your preparation methods: get in the kitchen and work some magic with lighter cooking methods. Boiling, steaming, and sauteeing (in a little oil) are a great way to kick off spring. It's all about embracing a change from winter; as it warms up outside, our bodies need lighter options to find balance. Try steaming squash or sweet potatoes leftover from the winter farmers' markets, sauteeing kale, stewing apples, or boiling bitter greens. (Bonus: the cooking water can make a great cleansing tonic if you drink it cooled!)
5. Smile: outlook is everything! Macrobiotics includes a positive attitude in all of its theories. Embrace the sunshine, practice gratitude, and appreciate the people around you to get the most out of your food - and the season!