We are beginning to see hints of spring all around us, and as we ring in the new season, we make plans and changes that will lead us through the rest of the year. We may choose to plant a garden and enjoy our crops throughout the season, or we might start fresh by cleaning out our homes in order to welcome new energy and intention into our lives.
Produce: Growing in Your Own Backyard
With weather warming up in our area we start to see different produce available at our local markets or in our own backyards. There are many new food options available, including stone fruit, artichokes, asparagus, peas, onions, and a variety of different lettuces. The springtime may bring us away from heavy foods such as soups and stews, and allow us to explore lighter options such as salads, fresh fruits and veggies.
You might be asking why so many people are interested in gardening anyway, but there are many benefits to gardening including getting exercise, learning, and getting our hands dirty. Gardening may require standing, kneeling, and squatting, as well as lifting or carrying heavy bags of dirt and more. This can get our heart rate up and help contribute to our weekly activity goals. The more we garden, the more we learn about techniques that work and practices we can implement to have a better crop. Gardening also gives us exposure to germs and microbes within our soil that we may have lost contact with over time. Many ancestors spent time tending to crops, allowing their gut micro biome to have increased diversity. Nowadays there are less people spending time in the garden, which may play a role in the diversity of microbes within our gut. Increasing our time spent gardening may help to increase our micro biome diversity, and in turn, strengthen our immune system.
Along with produce changes, we see a larger number of flowers and trees in bloom, which may increase the amount of pollen in the air. For some, pollen can be a major irritant causing itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. Although this can be debilitating for some, we can avoid symptoms by taking the proper precautions. We can limit our exposure to pollen by spending less time outdoors on windy or high pollen count days. We can also make sure our windows are closed to not let excess pollen into our homes. Furthermore, it can help to change clothes, once indoors, if you’ve been doing work outside. If you are still having symptoms after trying household remedies, it may help to purchase an antihistamine or decongestant for relief.
Another common occurrence this time of year is spring-cleaning. When it comes to cleaning, it’s important to put thought into what products we might use around our home. You may have heard of ‘eco-friendly’ products before, but what does that truly mean?
Eco-friendly products are made with the intent of doing the least amount of harm to our earth, air, resources, and bodies when used. They are typically non-toxic and may also be produced with organic, biodegradable, or sustainable ingredients in order to not deplete our natural resources. We can learn more about the products we use by researching the companies that sell them in order to see what environmental standards they meet or initiatives they support.
Another part of being eco-friendly is the ability to reuse or up-cycle items we already have. Instead of donating or throwing something away, we can use it in a new way, lengthening its life and further conserving resources. One example of this is a worn out t-shirt. Instead of getting rid of it, we can cut it up and use it as cleaning rags for around the house instead of disposable paper towels. In this way, we find a new use for an old item and we are able to use it again several times compared to a single use paper towel.
This is just one example, but I encourage you to be creative and think of ways you can reuse items you have on hand this season. You might be surprised at what ideas you come up with!