My 10-year-old self could sense something different in the air. I inhaled deeply. It smelled like … spring! After several months of a frigid, snowy Michigan winter, my nose told me the seasons were changing. It was a mingling of sun-warmed soggy earth with a hint of blooming daffodils.
If you live in a four-season climate like I still do, you get how a spring day makes you feel alive again. This month, we’re going to explore how to renew your body after a long season of winter hibernation.
What Does Renew Mean?
I love looking up definitions in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary. It often includes scriptures with definitions. Let’s look at the meaning of the word renew.
Number 7 on the list says: “To make new; to make fresh or vigorous; as to renew youth; to renew strength; to renew the face of the earth.”
Number 8: “In theology, to make new; to renovate; to transform; to change from natural enmity to the love of God and his law; to implant holy affections in the heart; to regenerate. And here are two of the verses the 1928 dictionary included with this definition (The Kings Bible version).
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagles. Psalm 103:5
I’ll Take Some, Please
I could use some renewal in my life after several months of winter. How about you? Are you ready to establish a few healthy habits? Let’s get to it.
This month I am spotlighting three experts in their fields, who graciously provided information on this topic.
- Karen Davis – Nutrition. Karen Davis is a Licensed Nutritionist with a master’s degree from the National University of Natural Medicine. She is a Certified Nutrition Specialist® and a Certified Ketogenic Nutrition Specialist ℠.
- Sarah Lewis – Fitness. Sarah Lewis is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer with a bachelor’s degree in community health education.
- Linda Fryer – Skin Care. Linda Fryer is a licensed esthetician from the International Esthetics School in Coral Gables, Florida. She also has a degree in fashion merchandising.
In this post, we’re focusing on renewing our bodies with nutrition.
Renew Your Body With Nutrition
I don’t know about you, but I often crave meat and potato meals in the winter. But it makes sense to switch things up as we head into spring. I asked Karen if we have any special nutritional needs as we transition from winter to spring. “What comes to mind is vitamin D,” she replied. “We get less of it from the sun in the winter, but we still need to maintain our levels.”
To do this, we can target foods high in vitamin D as well as take vitamin D supplements. Karen suggested this resource for information about foods high in vitamin D. The top three food sources listed are:
- Canned Pink Salmon (3 oz) at 465 IUs.
- Canned Boneless Mackerel (3 oz) at 248 IUs.
- Canned Sardines (3 oz) at 164 IUs
Clear Out Toxins
Karen also emphasized it’s not just what we take into our bodies but also what we get out that’s important. “Some folks like to look at spring as being a time to detox, so [focus] more on clearing out toxins at that time,” she said.
If you’ve ever researched detoxing, you probably come across a dizzying number of programs and ways to do this. I prefer a gentle method.
Simple Detoxing With Spring Greens
One very simple and gentle way to add nutrients and help your liver and kidneys detox is to add some wild spring greens. Guess what? You may even have some growing in your yard.
Important NOTE: DO NOT pick greens from your yard if you spray chemicals in your yard. You are trying to get rid of toxins, not absorb more. If your yard is chemical-free, go ahead and pick. Otherwise, you may be able to find spring greens in a farmer’s market or health food store. Or, choose a boxed detox tea to purchase instead. Traditional Medicinals is a reputable brand. I have linked to their Lemon Detox tea, but they also have a few other varieties.
If you think you have edible greens in your yard, but you’re not quite sure, please get a foraging book or ask a naturalist at your local nature center for help in plant identification (bring a good sample with you and a picture of the area you picked it from). I use Backyard Foraging by Ellen Zachos. Remember, never eat a wild plant if you’re not sure what it is.
Greens/Herbs for Detoxing
Here are five common wild greens I often see in my Midwest backyard.
- Violet leaves and blossoms. Viola odorantsa.Add raw violet leaves and blossoms to your salads. Can also use them in a tea blend.
- Chickweed leaves and stems. Stellaria media. Leaves and stems. Cut or pinch the ends of stems and use the last few inches fresh in salad. Chickweed is best in the cooler months of spring and fall.
- Dandelion leaves. Taraxacum officinale. Leaves, flower buds, flower petals, and roots. Eat the tender young greens in spring raw in a salad. They are bitter but so good for digestion — they get your digestive juices flowing. Taste one first to make sure it’s not too bitter.
- Garlic mustard leaves. Alliaria petiolata. Leaves. This invasive plant is everywhere, and it makes a great addition to your diet. It’s a biennial, and you want to eat the leaves the first year. By year two when it flowers, it’s too strong. It does have a garlic flavor, so combine with other leaves in a salad or add to a sandwich or make a pesto with the leaves.
Tea for Detoxing
Pineapple Weed. Matricaria matricarioides. Pineapple weed is a relative of chamomile and is sometimes called wild chamomile. The flowers have a lovely pineapple scent you can steep to make tea. (Make sure you smell them. Other varieties have a noxious smell, so don’t use those.) Pinch the flowers off their stems and make an infusion for tea. If you use them fresh, you’ll need twice as much as dried because fresh have a high water content. Try about 2 tablespoons of fresh flowers. Steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Adjust to taste.
Pick One and Get Started
Out of all the suggestions to renew your body for spring, start by just picking one thing to try. Leave us a comment below on what you’ll do—or if you have any spring renewal suggestions of your own! Check back soon for part 2 of this series. Would you like to download a copy of the infographic below? Click on this link and then click download.
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