By Hayley Stobbs R.Ac.
Spring seasonal eating calls for increasing trips to the farmer’s market, steamed vegetables, dark leafy greens to nourish liver blood, sprouts to attune to the up and out energy around us, and root cellar treasures such as carrot and parsnip to keep the body-mind grounded and balanced with the atmosphere’s increasing yang influences. As physical activity rises and plant foods become more available, our intake of carbohydrates can naturally increase during spring and summer months. According to traditional medicine, spring is related to liver and gallbladder energy and the wood element. Stay tuned to an upcoming post to learn how to balance liver-gallbladder health physically, mental-emotionally, and spiritually. For now, explore below for a list of foods and a recipe that can support liver and gallbladder health during their peak influential season of spring.
Before we begin: Food Energetics 101
Over thousands of years ancient medicine practitioners have gathered observational information from the energetic effects of food in humans. This information has been categorized into data that enables food qualities to be recommended medicinally. Although this practice is ancient in origin it is practiced intuitively in our modern day kitchens. In your own home you have most likely applied the balancing wisdom of inherent food qualities intuitively, for example you may crave to pair a hot food such as lamb curry with cool mint and yogurt, and within a season such as summer you may crave cold watermelon on a hot day.
Foods contain inherent energetic qualities as derived from their flavour, temperature, and preparation. This is influenced by season, colour, direction of growth, and climate. Each food in isolation enters meridian(s) and have specific regulatory affects on the organ systems that they engage with. For example, cucumber enters the large intestine, stomach, spleen, and bladder meridian, and regulates heat and toxins. In this way medicinally, foods are recommended to help balance meridian and organ system patterns. When a person is generally healthy, food energetics that relate to the present season are emphasized. This helps the individual ‘attune to the season’, allowing one to engage and harness the inspirational gifts of each season.
Liver-Gallbladder Supportive Foods:
My favourite resource for food energetics information is from the book Helping Ourselves by Daverick Leggett.
Vegetables: Artichoke, Asparagus, Eggplant, Beet, Broccoli, Carrot, Celery, Chicory, Dandelion Leaf, Fennel, Kale, Leek, Mushroom, Onion, Parsnip, Plantain, Scallion, Sea Vegetabls, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Sprouts (especially broccoli), Tomato.
Fruits: Apple (Grannysmith), Avocado, Blackberry, Blackcurrant, Cherry, Crabapple, Date, Gooseberry, Grape, Kumquat, Lemon/Lime, Lychee, Mulberry, orange, Plum, Quince, Raspberry, Strawberry, Umeboshi plum.
Beans: Lima, Mung
Nuts + Seeds: Flax, Pistachio, Pumpkin, Sesame
Fish: Clam, Crab, Lobster, Mackerel, Mussel, Oyster, Shrimp + Prawn, Trout, Whitefish
Animal: Beef, Beef liver, Chicken Liver, Lamb liver, Quail, Rabbit, Venison
Dairy: Cheese, Chicken Egg, Quail Egg, Egg yolk, Yogurt
Herbs + Spices: Anise, Chive, Cumin, Fennel, Fenugreek, Garlic, Hawthorn, Juniper, Licorice, Mint, Nettle, Oregano, Purslane, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Tumeric
And now on to the recipe. . .
Yields 1 1/2 cups
The following spin on my classic chickpea hummus recipe combines liver and gallbladder loving bitter artichoke, parsnip, sesame, garlic, cumin, and lemon or cider vinegar with kidney and spleen supportive sweet potato. The bitter, sweet, sour, pungent, and salty flavours balance taste, satisfaction, and therapeutic effects. I recommend doubling the batch to enjoy throughout the week. Serve with liver supportive steamed and raw vegetables such as beet, asparagus, carrot, and radish.
1 jar whole artichoke hearts (I use Native Forest brand, 5.8 oz, 165g)
1 cup parsnip, peeled and diced
1/2 cup sweet potato (yellow flesh), peeled and chopped
1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 - 2 garlic cloves, minced
½ - 1 teaspoon cumin powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt, to taste
1. Peel, chop, and steam the parsnip and sweet potato until soft.
2. Drain and rinse the artichoke hearts.
3. Place the vegetables and remaining ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
4. Serve with steamed or raw vegetables.
I hope my post has given you insight today. If you’re interested in nutrition and acupuncture I’d be happy to guide you along. Please visit www.vcaspa.com to book online or call 250-590-4341. To learn more about my acupuncture practice, follow @hayley_stobbs on Instagram.
Wishing you love & vitality,
Hayley Stobbs R.Ac.