By Monika Bock –
Nourish-Alō Holistic Nutrition
Now matter how long the winter,
spring is sure to follow.
I think we can finally say that spring has arrived and we have started to shed those long black coats in favor of some lighter and more colorful clothing pieces. Perhaps you are decluttering with Julie this month and are seeing the benefit in letting go of some items that no longer serve you. Just like the outside, we can support the brightening up of our insides by “decluttering” some of our winter fare, and starting to include some fresh greens into our daily diet on a more regular basis. This all revolves around the energy that the spring season brings.
Winter is a time of grounding and eating hearty soups and stews that warm the belly. But now the days are getting longer – it’s brighter (and warmer) outside, the birds have returned, and the trees are starting their spring bloom. An abundance of greens has made its return to the markets and in spring we instinctively reach for lighter, fresher fare. In traditional chinese medicine (TCM), the spring correlates with the liver and gallbladder meridians. These two organs are responsible for not only absorbing nutrients from food, but also cleaning our blood and detoxing our bodies. By supporting our bodies and these organs with fresh greens, we can assist them in their own version of “spring cleaning.” Green vegetables provide us with an abundance of phytonutrients (antioxidants) that also support our immune systems.
Last spring, I focused on some lesser know greens that you may see in the markets, as well as the importance of including greens in your diet. Bärlauch (allium ursinum) has recently popped up again in farmers markets and can also be found at the Viktualienmarkt. Have you tried it yet? Remember, the season is short. It makes a great addition to salads or blended into a pesto.
Get your Greens
These aren’t your typical frozen peas or part of your peas and carrots medley. These beauties are sweet and juicy and provide an excellent source of vitamins C and K, protein, and fiber which helps to stabilize your blood sugar.
Fresh peas have a relatively short growing season that starts in the spring to early summer (Italy). They are classified as a legume and if you have a garden, they are among some of the easiest edible plants to grow. Unlike the snow and the snap pea, which you can eat whole, shelling peas (a.k.a. English peas, garden peas) must be shelled as their pod is to fibrous and hard to eat. However, you can use the empty pod as a delicious base for a vegetable broth.
When you look for shelling peas at the market, look for bright green pods that rattle when you shake them gently. Skip the blemished/browning pods as these peas do become starchy and lose their sweetness. The pods are easy to peel, just pull back on the stem and they should crack open. Remove the peas from the pod; you can either sauté them in some liquid or blanch them. You can also eat them raw out of the shell/pod as a snack or add them to a salad.
Spring Onions (Frühlingszwiebeln, Lauchzwiebeln)
Green onions are available year-round thanks to greenhouses and growing practices. Spring onions are almost the same as green onions; however, the bulb at the end is slightly larger. They are a delicious addition to all sorts of dishes – think spring omelette with spinach and onions.
You can grill or roast them, or, if you enjoy the onion taste, which is more subtle than a normal onion, eat them raw in fresh spring salads. You can use the green stems in your cooking as well, but the more mature the plant (the bigger the bulb at the end), the more of the stalk you’ll want to discard.
Nutritionally speaking, they are a powerhouse of the above-mentioned phytonutrients and the antioxidant quercetin, which fights inflammation. They are high in vitamins C and K, as well as minerals like calcium and potassium; just 28g (one ounce) provides 72% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin K. As a part of the allium family, spring onions are rich in sulphur, which help to support the formation of glutathione (our body’s master antioxidant). These vegetables also support liver detox pathways by getting rid of toxins and help with that spring cleaning of your insides.
Fill your plate with as many fresh and multi-colored vegetables as possible this spring, but in April get those greens on your plate!
Monika Bock is a holistic nutritionist based in Munich, she is the owner of Nourish-Alō Holistic Nutrition and whose motto is Nourish/Thrive/Sustain. Monika works with a diverse clientele with various health concerns and goals making changes that are both positive and sustainable over time. Her favorite springtime green is a salad made with fresh dandelions greens, fresh shelled peas, and roasted asparagus. Acknowledging that EveryBODY is different and people have individual needs, she addresses these needs through a whole food nutrition program and lifestyle change approach. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram or sign-up for her monthly newsletter filled with ways to support your busy lifestyle with tips and recipes.
All images copyright Monika Bock (Images may not be used outside of Über Moms without express permission).