In Chinese medicine, spring is the season of the wood element which governs the organs of the liver and gall bladder. During winter, with its sedentary lifestyle and rich, heavy foods, the liver can become congested and this can affect the flow of energy, or Qi, throughout the whole body, causing feelings of irritability, lethargy and depression.
To help the flow of energy in the liver, eat more raw or lightly cooked foods, plenty of vegetables (especially green ones) and pungent foods such as onions, cumin, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, rosemary, basil and mint.
Beetroot , broccoli, cabbage are all good for the liver, as are moderate amounts of sour foods such as lemon and vinegar.
Some sweet foods aid the flow of Qi, so you can include carrots, sweet potato, a little stevia, agave or rice syrup in your spring diet too.
This raw, vegan beetroot salad is quick and easy to make and just perfect for spring. It’s perfectly balanced as a meal on its own, but also makes a good accompaniment for warm food such as burgers or curries.
2 medium beets, grated
2 large carrots, grated
1 large stick of celery, finely chopped
fresh parsley, coriander or mint (or a mixture), chopped
handful of pecans (or walnuts)
handful of dried cranberries (or raisins)
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar, coconut palm sugar or a tiny pinch of stevia
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1 lemon
olive oil to taste
Prepare the dry ingredients and mix them in a bowl. In a small bowl or glass jar, whisk the mustard with whatever sweetener you are using, the salt and pepper and lemon juice. Then add the olive oil slowly, whisking as you go, until the dressing thickens slightly. Taste as you go to decide how much oil to add. I usually have about half and half lemon juice and oil for a nice, tangy dressing.
Pour the dressing over the other ingredients (you may not need all the dressing). Unlike other salads, this one actually improves with standing as the dressing as has a chance to soak into the vegetables, so let it rest for an hour or so before serving if you can. It keeps well for a day or two in the fridge as well.