Spring is the time of year for renewal and rebirth. After a long winter of eating heavier and fattier foods, it is time to cleanse and detox our bodies and get them ready for spring. It is important to start this process approximately six weeks prior to the start of the actual season.

This is done by eating foods that are grown and ready to eat in the spring along with the use of lighter cooking styles, such as blanching and quick sautéing – rather than heavier cooking styles like deep-frying and baking.

Vegetables to emphasize in the spring are broccoli, cauliflower, lettuces, parsley, bok choy, kale, mustard greens, leeks, watercress, napa cabbage, daikon and dandelion greens, scallions and sprouts. Leafy greens help cleanse the body by discharging fats and toxins. Fresh lemon juice squeezed on steamed or sautéed greens right before eating helps nourish the liver, which is the organ that cleans and repairs the body.

The whole grains and grain products to eat incorporate into your diet right now are hulled and pearl barley, oats, rye, wheat, quinoa and seitan (a wheat product).  Not only are they a great source of energy but will provide more fiber in your diet, which will also clean out fats and toxins.

Beans are a wonderful form of protein because they lack saturated fat and cholesterol and are easier for your body to digest than animal protein. Black-eye peas, green lentils, lima beans, mung beans, split peas and tempeh (a fermented soybean product) are the beans and bean-products to eat in the spring.

If you add these foods and cooking styles into your diet, they will help your body detox from the winter and adjust to the spring season. No matter what season it is, it is important to eat foods that are in that season. This will help you acclimate to the weather and feel more comfortable during that season.

About the author

Jill Skeem(http://www.backtorealfood.com/) - Jill Skeem relocated to the Twin Falls area in December 2003 after graduating from the Strengthening Health Institute, a premiere macrobiotic educational facility located in Philadelphia, P.A. and is also a graduate from The Ohio State University. Jill has been studying food since 2001 and is a certified macrobiotic health counselor, educator and chef. She has taught cooking classes at Rudy’s –A- Cook’s Paradise and community education classes focusing on health and wellness at CSI. Jill lectures around the Magic Valley to companies and organizations, is a contributing writer to the Times-News where she was featured for her work with the former Managing Editor, Chris Steinbach, and is the food critic for the popular “Eat Cheap” Series. She has also contributed articles to the Spirit of Valley, Southern Idaho Living, Inside Twin Falls.com publications. In addition, she has a private macrobiotic health counseling practice. She founded the Magic Valley Leads Group, is a Board member of the Rotary Club of Twin Falls and the co-host with Kelly Klaas on Top Story in the mornings on KLIX 1310 a.m.

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