The Tastes of Early Spring: Recipes to Reduce Kapha
It is late February, and here in Whistler where I live we still have snow on the ground. But the snow is wet and melting fast, the streams in the forest are running full, and the damp earth is beginning to show through winter’s receding blanket of frost. It is early Spring and this means we have entered the “Kapha Season” , a time that is cold, wet, and rather heavy energetically. A time when we are susceptible to boggy chest colds, dullness of mind, and a kind of lazy lethargy that is not helped by the wet and often grey days. Kapha Dosha, as it is known in Ayurveda, is a force of energy created by an abundance of the Earth & Water elements. These elements have been accumulating over the winter and are now moving into aggravation as the dry and cold season of deep Winter leaves us behind and the Spring energy begins to stir. The new year is beginning to awaken, but that movement is still below the surface and sluggish.
Lifestyle practices such as engaging conscious action, igniting our creative intentions, and moving our bodies vigorously are all good ways to reduce excess Kapha at this time of year and will support us in accessing greater clarity & inspiration. I made a video series about this and you can watch it here.
Food choices can also be adjusted to cut through any physical stagnation we are experiencing, and according to Ayurveda this means favouring foods that are Bitter, Astringent, & Pungent. These rasas, or tastes, help to bring in Fire, Air, & Space elements (the ones lacking in Spring) and can strengthen digestion, support detoxification, and reduce excess congestion. Below are some of my favourite simple Spring Cleansing recipes to reduce Kapha Dosha.
Beets are great for cleansing your blood and lymph, and this soup has the astringent and pungent tastes that make it perfect for Spring. A gently detoxifying and nourishing option.
- 4 cups veggie stock or bone broth
- 2 medium beets chopped small or grated
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tablespoons ghee/oil
- 2 red onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 can white beans
- 1/2 head green cabbage
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp fennel or caraway seeds
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1-2 inches fresh turmeric root (if you can find it)
- salt & pepper to taste
- fresh dill to garnish
Saute onions and fennel seeds in oil. Add chopped root vegetables and saute for 5 minutes. Add celery and cabbage, stir for another 5 minutes. Add stock, tomatoes, white beans and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer low until vegetables are tender. Take off heat and let sit for 2 hours for the most flavour.
Smoothies can aggravate Kapha Dosha as they are often cold, heavy and a bit sweet, however this version includes bitter greens and cacao as well as fresh pungent ginger so can be a good choice for a springtime smoothie fix.
- 1 Pear
- 1 handful dandelion greens
- 1 handful cilantro greens or parsley
- 1 -2 inches ginger root grated
- 1 TBS raw cacao nibs
Blend with almond or other nut milk to create the consistency you enjoy. For extra richness you can add 1 TBS coconut oil.
Red Lentil Soup
Beans and legumes are astringent in nature which are ideal for the damp spring season and the addition of carrots and beets makes it extra hearty, while the pungent spices help to turn up your digestive fire.
- 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
- 1 medium beet, cubed
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 3 cups veggie stock or bone broth (add more for thinner consistency as desired)
- 1 medium onion, cut fine
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing)
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 2 tsp salt
Rinse lentils and soak in cold water for 30 minutes then strain. Put lentils, beets, and water in a saucepan. Bring to boil stirring occasionally. Saute onion in ghee or coconut oil with spices and salt. Add onion/spice mixture to beets/lentils with the lemon juice. Boil for a few minutes. Stir well and turn down low. Simmer for about 45 minutes or until lentils are soft. Add extra salt and fresh cilantro to taste.
Super Spring Cleansing Juice
Fresh juice can be a nice choice for refreshment when you feel heavy or dull. Too many raw veggies or cold juices in Spring can aggravate Kapha Dosha, but again by simply adding in more bitter, pungent and sour tastes you can increase it’s Kapha reducing benefits and enjoy a cleansing Spring juice.
- 1-2 small beets
- 2-3 small carrots
- 2 handfuls of dandelion greens
- 1 small pear or green apple
- 1 inch ginger root
- 1 inch fresh turmeric root
- 1 lime
My Living Yoga Online Immersion for Women goes much more deeply into the study of the 6 Rasas or 6 Tastes of Ayurveda, the energetics of food & herbs, and Seasonal Wisdom teachings. I offer this program in Spring & Fall each year and you can find out more here.