March 20 is the first day of spring. This day marks the beginning of renewal, transition, cleansing, and budding trees…and also muddy puddles, allergies, and one last crazy snow storm. It is a fluid time as the snow melts and fills the streams, rivers, and lakes. Our bodies also melt away insulating winter fat from our tissues, sweeping it into the bloodstream, and metabolizing it through the liver. Eating with the season in mind can help you flow smoothly through this season with lightness, warmth, and revitalization.

Spring is a great time to do a cleanse—especially one that incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables, such as a juice or smoothie fast. Many people are already craving salads and fresh produce. Choose more pungent or astringent fruits, such as lemons, apricots, and tart apples. Avoid heavy, watery vegetables, like cucumbers and avocados. Instead, make a salad with roasted Brussels sprouts, apples, and a simple vinaigrette dressing (see recipe). Dairy promotes snotty noses, so swap it out for a warm mug of nut milk infused with a dab of honey. If you just can’t live without cheese (like me), opt for hard cheeses over creamy.

Also, think light—light fish and meat, light on the oil, light on the sugar, light on the salt. And think heat—hot spices, warm drinks, room-temperature dried foods. Your body will thank you when summer arrives. //

 

Originally published in the March 2018 print edition of Out There Outdoors under the title “Aperitif: Spring Renewal.”