How good does it feel now that the sun has started to come out, temperatures are becoming milder, blossom is appearing and we can feel the start of Spring? There’s something about this season that inspires us to tackle those jobs that we’ve been putting off for months and taking more ‘me-time’ for self care...
Aside from getting outside into the fresh air and soaking up the Vitamin D, we’ve quizzed some leading wellness practitioners on their tips for optimising health and wellness this spring!
Nutrition Tips from Lucy Miller
Lucy Miller is a qualified nutritionist who embarked on her training after several serious illnesses were diagnosed in her immediate family, curious about the impact nutrition can have on our overall health and wellbeing.
As the seasons change and the sun finally emerges, we have a tendency to move away from hearty, warming dishes and ingredients and think more about lighter, fresh alternatives.
My nutrition principles remain the same all year around; to focus on nutrient dense wholefoods that are packed full of fibre, good fats, protein and complex carbs. To steer clear of processed foods that can be pro-inflammatory, contain little or no nutrients, and are often highly calorific, lack fibre, increase cholesterol and disrupt the gut microbiome.
As we move into the Spring, the seasonal foods are things like asparagus, broad beans, peas, radishes, green beans, spinach, kale, cucumber, spring onions, peas and courgettes. It’s best to buy seasonally where you can for a number of reasons; it should be cheaper because it’s not transported long distances (and better for the environment) and it’s fresher and therefore more nutritious.
My favourite Spring Salad (serves 2)
- ½ bag fresh spinach
- ½ bag kale, chopped
- 1 pack of local asparagus, steamed (al dente), chopped in 3
- 8 radishes
- ¼ cucumber, chopped
- 6 Spring onions, green end removed, chopped
- 100g organic ricotta/goats cheese
- (a scattering of broad beans or peas)
Small handful mixed seeds
Dressing (whisk all ingredients):
6 tbsp Olive Oil
4 tbsp Apple cider Vinegar
1 tbsp Tahini
Chop the kale and rub with olive oil, a little salt and bake for 10 minutes until crisp (190C)
Add the kale and all chopped ingredients to a bowl, crumble over the goats cheese or ricotta and add the dressing. Scatter with mixed seeds.
For more information or advice from Lucy Miller Nutrition please visit: https://lucymillernutrition.com
The most energising yoga poses from Allie Williams
Allie Williams is a yoga practitioner at Indaba Yoga, Battersea Yoga and Substation Yoga where she specialises in Rocket and Dynamic Vinyasa Yoga teaching.
Yoga links breath and movement, providing a host of mental and physical benefits including improved focus, reduced stress, deeper breathing and improved strength and flexibility. It can be difficult to find the time to dedicate to a yoga practice - especially for those of us with busier schedules - but with the lighter mornings spring is the perfect time to incorporate some quick stretching to your morning routine.
These 4 poses are great for a quick energising and awakening warm up that will set you up for your day.
1. Bridge Raises
Backbends are known to raise energy levels and help to protect your lower back by engaging and strengthening the posterior chain.
Start by coming onto your back, lining your feet up with your hips, placing them directly beneath knees close enough that you can tap heels with middle fingers.
Press down through heels and lift toes for active feet, imprinting lower spine on the mat until you feel glutes engage.
Exhale to lift hips to the sky, squeezing glutes at the top.
Breathe to expand into lower back ribs, keeping glutes engaged and inhaling to bring hips to tap the ground, exhaling to bring hips up to sky (x5-10)
2. Elbow to Knee
Core exercises help to wake us up and these very specific crunches engage our transverse abdominal muscle - the deepest of the abdominal muscles and the first muscles in our bodies to engage with movement along any plane.
Come into a reverse table top position, imprinting your lower spine down to the mat so there is no space between your back and the mat. Shoulder blades should be flat, head lifted with hands interlaced behind the head, core engaged, knees lined up with feet as though feet are pushing against an invisible wall.
Keeping the core engaged and the lower spine flat to the mat, bring the right elbow across to the left knee, extending your right leg out 45 degrees as you exhale.
Inhale to come back to your reverse table top before exhaling to bring left elbow to right knee.
Maintain engaged core and flat spine, repeat 5 times on each side.
3. Marching Sun Salutations
It’s important to open up your hips and get the blood flowing with marching sun salutes.
Begin at the top of the mat, standing with big toes touching, heels slightly apart. Inhale to bring arms to sky. Exhale to lower your hands around and down to the mat.
Inhale to bend knees and lift chest half way before stepping right foot back, knee hovering in a low lunge.
On the exhale step left foot back and find a plank pose, inhaling in plank.
Exhale to bring knees, chest and chin to the mat.
Inhale to slide chest forward to cobra pose, before exhaling to sit bum to heels and then lift into a downward facing dog.
Inhale to bend knees and look forward, stepping right foot forward in between the hands.
Exhale to step left foot forward and forward fold.
Inhale arms to sky, gaze to hands, before repeating everything on the other side.
Repeat marching salute at least 3 times.
4. Downward Facing Dog to High Lunge
High lunges engage leg muscles to get you moving whilst downward facing dog opens up the shoulders and gently stretches out the posterior chain.
From a downward facing dog, step the right foot forward in between the hands, lifting the back heel and reaching arms to the sky to find a high lunge (think of working your right hip back, left hip forward).
On a long exhale, frame the right foot, stepping back into a plank. You can find a low plank from here for your chaturanga, or take the knees, chest and chin down to the mat. Inhale to find your cobra or upward facing dog, and exhale back into a downward facing dog
Repeat on the left side
Follow Allie Williams on Instagram for more yoga tips (and mind-boggling poses): https://www.instagram.com/alli.e.xplores/
Green Fingered Tips from Charlotte Figg
Spring is synonymous with homemaking and one of the best ways to instantly add some vibrancy and life to a room is to add a gorgeous vase of flowers, but it’s important to bear in mind what’s in season when you select your blooms.
Seasonal Spring Blooms
All it takes is a quick stroll to your local park to see that the early spring flowers are in full bloom. After a winter of very little colour or flowers, we like to think of early spring as ‘bulbtastic’ season - when all those powerhouse bulb plants that bloom year after year come into their own.
If you’re after British-grown flowers then you can’t go wrong with these lovely blooms:
Hyacinth - you may have spotted these in your local supermarket; a very popular early spring plant that look brilliant in the centre of the kitchen table
Ranunculus - these beautiful flowers look like little cupcakes with their intricate petals
Narcissus - more commonly known as daffodils and one of the most iconic signs of spring
Grape Hyacinth - typically bright blue in colour with a mildly sweet, grassy scent
Tulips - whilst they lack a lovely scent, tulips add a beautiful pop of colour to any room
What to Plant in Spring
As the days get longer and the weather turns warmer there’s less chance of frost and it’s the perfect time to get outside and do some planting. In colder areas, you may want to consider holding off a few weeks before you get planting!
Here are some of our favourite flowers to plant in spring:
Pansies - a great choice for novice gardeners and generally widely available in local garden centres. They come in a variety of different colours and are tolerant of the (unpredictable) British weather!
Sweet Pea - a little harder to grow than the average spring flower (but totally worth it). We recommend planting these in their own planter next to something tall for them to climb up to their full glory.
Petunias - one of our favourites thanks to their long blooming season, Petunias are perfect for adding a splash of colour to hanging baskets or around the border of your flowerbed.
Morning Glories - hold out until late spring for this one (they like slightly warmer soil) but once they flower in summer they give off a lovely fragrant scent. The lovely colours will attract butterflies and make sure you give them plenty of space to grow!
If you fancy turning your hand to vegetable growing, spring is when things really get going in allotments. Here are some of the best things you can plant in spring:
Seed potatoes - they can be planted in early spring and don’t mind some of the chillier temperatures seen overnight. They grow best with plenty of sunlight!
Aubergine, tomato and chilli seeds are best planted in spring as they need the full growing season, but they’ll need to be planted under cover (a greenhouse is ideal or a bright windowsill)
Shallots and onions are best planted in April for optimum growing conditions. Our top tip would be to buy onion sets that you can simply pop straight in the ground outdoors.
Stress-Free Spring Cleaning with Purdy Rubin