A Springtime Recipe + Practices to Kick Your Health into Gear

barley kichadi

Spring barley bowl–great to put a spring in your step in the spring.

Sick of colds, coughs, and allergies this time of year?

Why do we get colds in spring, anyway?

Spring is the time when kapha dosha melts. Think of this as the equivalent of winter ice melting to make way for spring’s lush growth in our bodies. If we don’t adjust our heavier winter diets to address the melting kapha this can mean colds, allergies, cough, asthma, or just a feeling of heaviness or sluggishness. Blech.

Ayurveda’s wisdom says that that if you’re trying to rid your body of accumulated winter fat and heaviness, it’s time to switch to a light, easy-to-digest diet. OK, most wisdom says that.

Keep reading for dietary tips to keep you healthy and a light springtime barley bowl at the end of this post to help you feel right.

Lighten your (digestive) load

During spring, don’t add heavy foods to your diet: steer clear of sugary sweets (even foods that are overly sweet and heavy, like sweet potatoes, cream, heavier meats like beef and pork). You’ll also want to cut back on rich, oily food, butter, salt, sour, and all of those delicious things you’re likely craving.

Eating a springtime diet that’s easy to digest is key. Opt for meals chock-full of bitter greens, like kale, spinach, broccoli, including some green bell peppers, draws out excess moisture from your body and helps keep the colds away.

You can certainly whip up kichadi (get your kichadi recipe here); it’s light and easy to assimilate. Or try substituting in lighter grains like quinoa or barley for rice. You can even lighten grains further by toasting them in a dry pan for a minute before you cook them.

Here’s a recipe I created just for springtime: barley kichadi! I ate it today, in fact. With its nutty flavor and firm texture, barley is great for pulling excess moisture out of the body. Perfect for spring!

Spring Barley Bowl

(About 3-4 servings)

  • ½ cup pearled barley (unhulled barley is harder to digest and takes longer to cook) If you’re going to toast the grains, do this before soaking
  • ½ cup split yellow mung beans or red lentils
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli or 1 heaping handful kale (or other leafy green), shredded
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • 2 tbsp ghee (or oil, like grapeseed)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 cracks of fresh black pepper
  • Sprig of cilantro for garnish and digestibility
  • Salt to taste, preferably pink Himalayan salt

DIRECTIONS

Soak grains and beans separately for 1-2 hours. Rinse the grains. (If you don’t have time to soak, simply rinse the grains for about 30 seconds in a fine sieve under cool water.)

Add 1 tbsp ghee to a soup pot (or use a pressure cooker if you have one), spoon in ¼ tsp turmeric. Let that roast for about 30 seconds, then add in veggies. (You can add a bit of water if things start smoking.) Then add in barley and beans, sautee for another minute so everything is coated.

Then add in 4 cups of water. Simmer on the stove at medium heat for about 40-45 minutes. (If you’re using a pressure cooker, 20 minutes should do the trick.)

You’ll know it’s done when all the water has been absorbed and the barley is soft with a little bite. The beans will be mostly assimilated. If this hasn’t happened, add a bit more water.

Heat up remaining ghee (or oil) on the stove, and then add cumin seeds and black pepper. Sautee the seeds and pepper for a minute, allowing them to sizzle. Then pour this on your barley-bean mixture. Add salt to taste and a sprig of cilantro. Serve immediately.

Let me know what you think and of course, post your questions below.

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