Written by Mindie Flamholz
Ever learn the idiom “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”? Well, with this winter’s crazy weather, who knows if March will be that predictable! Thankfully, March is known for something that is predictable and controllable! March is National Nutrition Month, and we can pretty much predict, control and even enjoy - our nutrition!
Started as National Nutrition Week by a Presidential Declaration in March 1973, the program quickly expanded to be National Nutrition Month. It is now an annual campaign by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to provide information about the importance of healthy food choices and physical activity. This year’s campaign slogan is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right”.
Support Your Digestion
In addition to eating flavorful healthy foods, it’s important to consider how we support our digestion, making it easier for our bodies to use the quality nutrients in our foods.
Embrace the Freshness!
In addition to the food we eat, National Nutrition Month focuses on increasing our physical exercise to help nourish our bodies, minds, and spirits.
AND - What better time to choose to eat healthfully and to move our bodies more. It’s almost Spring! Time for Spring cleaning homes, gardens, and our bodies – a fresh start in this New Year of the seasons. Just as nature begins to come out of resting, our bodies do, too. The earth moves forward from the cold, dormancy, and stagnation of winter. As water begins to flow more freely the earth greens and freshens. We can freshen our bodies with greens by eating more of them (ok, not the artificially colored ones) and being outdoors in the greening of the trees, the plants pushing green blades through the cold brown ground, and leaves unfurling and opening, making way for the vegetables and fruits of late Spring, Summer, and Fall. (For green vegetables and herbs to flavor foods consider mustard greens, asparagus, collards, kale, green onions, basil, cilantro, dill, and parsley.)
For Spring cleaning our bodies, try adding “sour” foods (sorry not Sour Patch Kids!) such as green apples, apple cider vinegar, lemons, and those crunchy sour pickles kids love to help rid our bodies of toxins which may have accumulated through our winter’s stagnation and consumption of fattier, more warming foods. According to Chinese medicine, the liver is the “organ” of Spring and the “color” of the liver is green. Eating sour green foods and blood building foods (yes! chicken, beef, pork, and fish liver) help our livers support our bodies as we move naturally from Winter to Spring. (Liver and onions anyone?)
As the air warms and the days lengthen, we can grab more moments outside in nature - breathing out stale and angry thoughts and breathing in the fresh spring air with the intention to take in fresh ideas and healthy attitudes and emotions. Observing the changes in the natural world around us nourishes our bodies, minds and spirits. Just watch kids as they run out to play at Recess, tearing off their coats and aiming for the mud! (Ok, maybe not the mud! Too much mess back in the classroom.) And our kids developing bodies and brains need Recess, so this is a great time to advocate for it if your school does not provide it.
What better time than Spring to eat well, move our bodies, spend time outdoors, and build our positive energies! As individuals and as families, at this New Year, let’s Savor the Flavor of Healthy Eating and Healthy Living.
And, remember - April Showers Bring May Flowers! Which means more fresh vegetables and fruits to follow AND more time outdoors! In the meantime, be in the Season and breathe in beginnings!
Family-Friendly Recipes for "Spring Cleaning"
For National Nutrition Month, Spring, and our livers here are a few flavorful, simple to make, and budget friendly recipe ideas. You’ll need: ingredients, supplies, counter space, a little time, and a smile on your face!
About the Author: Mindie Flamholz
Mindie is a certified Health Coach, Infant Massage Teacher, and Qi Gong Instructor. She believes in nurturing the mind, body, and spirit through healthy eating, exercise, education, positive attitudes, and PLAYFULNESS. In all her work, she concentrates on our ability to notice and to control our breath, which can deeply impact our attitudes, emotions, relationships, vitality, and our overall health and wellbeing. Mindie enjoys working with individuals, families, and groups and is working to provide access to quality programs to anyone interested in preventing and treating illness and in maintaining wellbeing. Mindie can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 410-336-5686.
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