Best Eating Practices For Living In Harmony With Energetic Spring: Part Two

“Adapting itself to obstacles and bending around them, Wood in the earth grows upward without haste and without rest. Thus too the superior man is devoted in the character and never pauses in his progress.”  – Nei Jing (475-221 B.C.)


We still are experiencing the remnants of the Water energy of Winter so though traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) says we have entered the energetic season of Spring, the new energy of the Wood element, as of February 5, it's a bit challenging to think Spring right now, but let's give it a whirl!

As we've said, in TCM the element represented by Spring is Wood. To live in balance with the 5-Element Theory of TCM and indeed, to live in balance with nature of which we are an inherent part, we’ll want to embrace the following attributes, characteristics and specific organ activity for the Wood element and Spring season.

If you are affected by liver problems (the organs associated with Spring are liver and gall bladder), it’s a sign your body may be suffering from insufficient or lack of Wood chi. You can strengthen your Wood chi by consuming more Wood element foods which tend to be sour in taste (sour is the taste for the Wood element). Sour foods facilitate clearing an overburdened liver.

Wood element foods act as astringents and help the blood to circulate, your energy to flow, and emotions to move more elegantly through you. Eating fresh greens during this season naturally cleanses the body of physical and emotional impediments. 

Wood element foods are cooling and contracting and prevent leakage of body fluids. If you’ve been indulging in a rich, greasy diet, you’ll want to switch to the Wood element foods at this time. 

Check out column two for an exhaustive list of foods for Wood.

Additionally, there are some herbs and spices we can use in springtime food prep that have a sour taste: dill, sour jujube fruit, and hawthorn berry.

Certain pungent and sweet foods such as scallion, garlic, cinnamon, fennel and ginger tend to have an expansive, rising quality. They are very nice to add to springtime meals and will help you resist colds and allergies.

As always, avoid or reduce consumption of foods and drinks that have little redeeming value for the body such as deep fried foods, oil, fat (aside from the more beneficial oils and fat content derived from olive, avocado and coconut), salty foods, spicy foods, alcohol, and sweets.

While we slow cooked our food in Winter by preparing stews and hearty soups, best cooking methods for the Spring energetic season are sauté, stir fry, light simmer, blanch, quick boil, pickle, and marinate.

At this time of year, our diet should be the lightest to enable our systems to cleanse and strengthen the body, mind and spirit.

Check out PHYTO5's Wood element skincare line to address imbalance in the skin such as oiliness, blackheads, hyperpigmentation, and issues of vital energy circulation.


Best Foods for Wood Element (in alphabetical order)

  • adzuki beans

  • almonds

  • baby spinach

  • barley

  • black cherry

  • black currant

  • blackberry

  • celery

  • cheese

  • chicken

  • chives

  • cod

  • collard greens

  • grapefruit

  • green beans

  • green cabbage

  • green tea

  • halibut

  • hazelnuts

  • herring

  • leafy greens

  • lemon

  • lettuce

  • lime

  • liver

  • long string beans

  • napa cabbage

  • nuts

  • oats

  • olives

  • peas

  • pickles

  • pineapple

  • plums

  • raspberry

  • rose hips

  • rye

  • sauerkraut

  • scallions

  • sour grapes

  • sour green apples

  • sour green star fruit

  • sourdough

  • spinach

  • sprouts

  • tomatoes

  • vinegar

  • walnuts

  • wheat

  • yogurt



Nguyen, Phil N. Feng Shui for the Curious and Serious. New Jersey: Xlibris Corporation, 2008. Print.

Thunderhawk, Denise, L. Ac. The 5-Element Guide to Healing with Whole Foods. N.p.: Lulu, 2016. Print.

Anti-Aging Benefits of Chia for Holistic Skincare with Bonus Recipe!


The oil extracted from chia seeds has incredible beauty benefits, too. Not only are they rich in precious Omega-3 fatty acids − they're also intensely anti-inflammatory, calming and antioxidant rich, which means that chia oil is a good bet for restoring vital moisture, diminishing redness and inhibiting wrinkles.Nicholas Perricone, MD

It's amazing how eating one simple tiny little seed can be so good for not only your health but your skin! Even more amazing is how the seeds give texture to food, are bursting with nutrition and anti-aging properties, and don't alter the taste of the food you add them to. You've seen crackers and chips with chia. They make awesome puddings that mimic tapioca pudding and they can be added to cakes, energy and granola bars, oatmeal, bread, salad dressings, yogurt, smoothies, you name it! (Scrolll all the way down for recipes!)

And the more you eat chia, the better your skin looks. Here are just a few of the fantastic gifts chia lends your organic skincare regimen: (Read all the way down for a most excellent chia pudding recipe that's super easy, too!)

  1. Wrinkle fighting with Vitamin E. Chia is rich in vitamin E which is a potent antioxidant and fights inflammation and wrinkles. Some companies extract the oil from chia to apply to your skin but the best way to derive the benefits from chia oil is to consume the chia seeds whole. Oil extraction involves a process that results in a product that is not all that easily assimilated by your body.
  2. Prevention of acne, redness and lifeless skin with blood sugar stabilization in three ways:
    1. "Chia seeds help to slow down the digestion process and the "jelly" coating that develops when they're exposed to liquids is thought to prevent blood sugar spikes, which can lead to weight gain." – Nicholas Perricone
    2. The fiber in chia keeps your blood sugar stable and prevents surges in your insulin levels. When your insulin levels drop, your skin takes a major hit possibly resulting in acne, redness, or lifeless appearing skin.
    3. With presence of magnesium: Magnesium also helps regulate your blood sugar.
  3. Hormone balance which promotes youthful, clear skin in three ways:
    1. With Omega-3 fatty acid content: Just as fish oils contain beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids which combat acne and wrinkles and help regulate hormone balance, chia seeds provide the same but with less volume consumed. Eat just two tablespoons of chia seeds to get the same amount of benefit that four ounces of salmon provides. You'll also notice other side benefits such as more healthy beautiful hair and nails and if you've been prone to depression, the Omega-3 fatty acids in chia will assist in this arena too.
    2. With presence of magnesium: Magnesium serves to keep your hormone levels healthy which in turn creates beautiful healthy skin.
    3. With presence of potassium: Potassium also helps keep hormone levels in check leading to more beautiful unstressed, lively looking skin.
  4. Toning and anti-aging effect from abundance of zinc in chia. Zinc is known to help skin become more taut and supple so chia provides an obvious anti-aging effect. Other benefits include reducing skin inflammation and acne.
  5. Blood circulation assisted by magnesium creates beautiful radiant skin. Did you know that only cacao contains more plant-based magnesium than virtually any other source?
  6. The protein in chia and its protein synthesis created by its phosphorous content is vital to healthy tissue generation. The protein in chia is not particularly high but it is highly absorbable by the body as an excellent plant-based protein and so quality rather than quantity is key with the protein content in chia.
  7. Potassium in chia helps prevent bloating and puffiness. Sometimes our face gets bloated and puffing looking because of poor diet and lack of nutrition. Potassium helps ensure this doesn't happen!

Join the chia craze! You won't be disappointed and your skin will love you for it!

Vanilla Chia Pudding Recipe (However this lovely pudding can be flavored any way you want!)


  • 2 cups almond milk (Scroll down to learn how to easily make your own fresh, all living almond milk to far surpass what you can buy in the stores!)
  • 2/3 cup chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of your favorite sweetner (raw blue agave is nice)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of high quality pure vanilla extract


  • Stir together the chia seeds, almond milk and vanilla extract, mixing well.
  • Let soak for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring the mixture every five minutes or so until it achieves a pudding consistency.
  • If necessary, add more almond milk if the pudding gets too thick for your liking.
  • Finally, add in the sweetener, chill and serve garnished with chopped fruit, nuts, coconut flakes or spices.

#holistic #organic #chia #anti-aging #skincare #swissskincare #organicskincare







Fresh-Made Almond Milk Recipe

  • 1 cup raw organic imported almonds (Try not to buy California almonds. Even though they say they are raw, they are flash pasteurized. Imported Sicilian or Spanish almonds have much more integrity and taste fantastic!)
  • 2 cups of fresh, pure water (can be room temp) for soaking the almonds
  • 2 cups of fresh, pure, chilled water
  • nut bag

How to:

  • Soak one cup of almonds in the room temp water for at least four hours; you can soak them in the fridge if you prefer.
  • Drain and rinse the almonds very well and place in a high speed blender, preferably a Vitamix.
  • Add the 2 cups of chilled water and run on high speed for approximately 45 seconds.
  • Pour into a nut bag and squeeze out your beautiful fresh almond milk into a bowl. Transfer to a jar and chill immediately.

Cooling Foods of Summer with Bonus Recipe!

The wise nourish life by flowing with the seasons and adapting to cold or heat, by harmonizing joy and anger in a tranquil dwelling, by balancing yin and yang, and what is hard and soft.
— The Neijing Suwen, an ancient Chinese medical text that has been treated as the fundamental doctrinal source for Chinese medicine for more than two millennia.

We have entered the energetic season of Summer and the Fire element (May 6 to July 9) according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

In the summer, we tend to naturally gravitate to cooling (yin) foods. Now is the time when local cooling organic fruits and vegetables are in abundance. If you eat in harmony with the season, you're going to feel and do better!

The warming and cooling properties of a food have less to do with actual temperature, cooking temperature, spiciness or even individual ingredients—and more to do with the food’s balance and contrast among ingredients and the effect of these on the body when the food is ingested. (

Here's a list of Cooling Foods for the Summer Courtesy of

  1. Apricot
  2. Cantaloupe
  3. Watermelon
  4. Strawberries
  5. Tomatoes
  6. Lemon
  7. Peach
  8. Cucumber
  9. Orange
  10. Asparagus
  11. Sprouts
  12. Bamboo
  13. Bok choy
  14. Broccoli
  15. Chinese cabbage
  16. Corn
  17. White mushroom
  18. Snow peas
  19. Spinach
  20. Summer squash
  21. Watercress
  22. Seaweed
  23. Mung means
  24. Cilantro
  25. Mint
  26. Dill
  27. Bitter gourd
  28. Mung beans
  29. Wax gourd
  30. Lotus root
  31. Lotus seed
  32. Job’s tears
  33. Bean sprouts
  34. Duck
  35. Fish

Watermelon Cooler Recipe

  • 2 cups watermelon flesh
  • 1 cup young Thai coconut water (C2O brand in health food stores is good!)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • raw blue agave to sweeten and to taste

Run a few seconds in a high speed blender with some ice and enjoy.

Pay Attention to Your Inner Dynamic Duo!

In Chinese medicine, your liver and gall bladder are paired. This means that anything you do to strengthen one will strengthen the other...

Gallbladder is the yang organ for Spring according to the 5-Element Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Best eating practices to maintain a healthy gall bladder are:

  • Eat fiber rich foods;
  • Consume fresh fruits and vegetables;
  • If you eat meat, make it lean!
  • If you eat dairy, make it low fat!
  • Add walnuts and almonds to your diet. Some studies have shown them beneficial in preventing gallstones;
  • Research suggests moderate amounts of coffee may also help prevent gallstones;
  • Keep your weight in check.