Charlotte free spirit

Spring Soul Care | Bye-bye Snow Hello Pollen

Traditional Chinese Medicine {TCM} sees our body as a microcosm and embodiment of nature that mirrors Universal energies and rhythms. Through this lens, TCM observes 24 rather than the four seasons within a year. Some refer to these 24 seasons as solar terms since each is determined by where we are in relation to the Sun’s position throughout a calendar year. In some ways this is similar to the farmer’s almanac some of us are familiar with on this side of the planet. Although the 24-season Chinese almanac is over five thousand years old, TCM practitioners around the world and agricultural communities in China still rely on this detailed mapping of the seasons for farming and holistic health practices.

April is a beautiful month in Charlotte, but it’s pretty impossible to enjoy the blooming trees, chirping songbirds and all the gorgeous shades of green around us when pollen dread takes over.

Following this 24-season almanac we are moving into Early Spring, which consists of the fifth and sixth seasons where the last snow has fallen, rising temperatures and abundant rain {I know…more to come!!} are coming our way next to awaken plant life. For the remainder of April, this phase means it’s easy for our body to accumulate, and trap, rising heat and dampness {think warm and sticky, e.g. mucus}. As a result,

colds and inflammatory responses in the upper respiratory system like allergies, bronchitis, asthma as well as skin, joint and back sensitivities or discomforts tend to creep up.

Good news is – TCM believes lifestyle determines vitality. We can integrate a few practices into our day to move through this season with more ease:

1.First thing in the morning | oil pull | 10 – 20 min.

When you get out of bed – before drinking / eating / brushing teeth – take one tbsp of organic, raw coconut oil into the mouth and slowly swish it around as you go about your morning routine {e.g. wash face / shower / get dressed and etc.}. For the first time the texture of oil moving around in your mouth may feel funny. Keep it in there for at least 10 minutes! Then, spit it out in the garbage. As coconut oil cools and solidifies it will clog pipes so do not leave any of this in the sink or toilet.

2. Second thing in the morning | ACV before caffeine

Take two tbsp of organic, raw apple cider vinegar {make sure the label says “the mother” is inside the bottle}. If two shots of ACV straight up is way too intense in the morning {it is for me!}, dilute with a cup of room-temp. spring / mineral / filtered water. Then wait for at least 20 minutes before eating or drinking your first cup of coffee, tea or juice. 30 minutes in between is ideal. Following this oil pull and ACD protocol in the morning before my first cup of tea has gotten me off my daily dose of Zyrtec and Flonase. Give these steps a week and let me know how things go. On days you are really feeling the pollen, repeat ACV once in the afternoon – 30 minutes before or after a meal – and once more before bedtime, if needed.

3. Avoid dairy and spicy foods

Yep, this includes milk in your coffee, cheese and hot sauce in your eggs, if you already suffer from allergies or any of the aforementioned conditions. If calcium is your main reason for consuming dairy, check this out. Whole-fat, homemade coconut or nut mylks are delicious alternatives and I encourage clients make them on weekends and store in large glass bottles in the fridge for the week. They’ll stay happy in the fridge for up to five days. This minimizes your intake of ingredients as emulsifier / thickener / stabilizer e.g. various gums in store-bought plant milk alternatives that often trigger or worsen gut health conditions.

DIY almond mylk

Amazing in smoothies. Option to flavor with vanilla, a dash of Himalayan salt, cinnamon or sweeten with wild honey, organic maple syrup or dates!! Same process for cashew, hazelnut and other nuts you prefer. Use organic unsweetened, shredded coconut for coconut mylk. I like coconut mylk in warm to hot beverages best.

Soak almonds overnight. Drain and rinse them well in the morning.

Add almonds with fresh water, 1:4, into blender. Blend on high to liquify.

Wash hands. Place mylk bag inside a mixing bowl. While keeping the bag open with one hand carefully pour ½ of the blend into bag, wry and Squeeze mylk into bottle. Repeat this until you’ve gone through the blender.

Store in fridge for up to five days.

4. Sip tea

Now is the perfect time to enjoy any variety of organic green tea. My favorite is jasmine. Keep teabags with you on the road and remember with any tea, rinse before you drink whenever possible to minimize intake of pollutants from the tea’s packaging and transportation process. One of the reasons why in Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies only the second cup of tea is served.

5. Move your body and get in the sun

If you are reading this you already know all about this. Light cardio, long walks, swimming and any level of yoga are especially beneficial right now as our bodies awaken to the elements. Soak up 20 minutes of direct sun when you can.

More on Mind-Body-Soul happy foods for Early Spring Vitality here.