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Your journey to better health

Eating for Autumn

We partnered with our personal chef friends at Lovin the Oven this past weekend to offer a Fall Foods workshop at our office. We got to taste some of their delicious fall-inspired dishes, and we also talked about how to “eat for fall” from a Chinese Medicine perspective. I thought I’d share some of the highlights with you here!

In Chinese Medicine, each season correlates with a particular system of energy that is also at play in our bodies. (For a more detailed explanation of this idea, read this blog post on the Five Elements.) Adjusting our diets to line up with these energetic shifts can help to promote health and well-being and avoid disease or injury.

The season of fall has many important characteristics that guide which foods will be most nourishing during this time.
 
Season of abundance: Fall is about harvest, about taking the gifts the universe offers. To align your diet with this energy of abundance, eat local foods harvested in the fall.
  • Pumpkin, sweet potato, squash, apples
 
Season of contraction: This season is about moving inward and storing up for winter. During the peak of summer, our energy is expansive and moving outward. In the depth of winter, our energy has contracted into our core, and the focus is moving inward. Fall is the transition between these two opposing energies. To support this energy of contraction, eat heartier foods and sour flavors (the sour flavor holds and contains.)
  • Heartier foods: fall harvest foods, hearty grains, lean meats
  • Sour flavor foods: sourdough bread, olives, pickles, leeks, aduki beans
 
Season of dryness: You can probably feel the dryness in your skin, your nasal passages, your throat. Counter dry weather by eating naturally moistening foods.
  • Barley, millet, pear, apple, almond, honey, spinach
 
Season of the Lung & the Metal Element: As we mentioned, each season corresponds to a particular energy within our bodies. The Fall corresponds to the Metal Element and the energy of the Lungs. This, eat foods that are protective of the Lungs, warm temperature foods and liquids, and foods with a “pungent” flavor.
  • Lung protective foods: sprouted grains, navy beans, tofu, almonds, onions, garlic, apricot, pear
  • Warm temperature foods and liquids
  • Pungent flavor: onion, garlic, scallion, ginger, chili, black pepper
 
Season of increasing coolness: Include gently warming foods and spices, especially as the weather gets colder
  • cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, chili, black pepper
 
When cooking for fall, cook with less water, with lower heat, for a longer period of time.
 
 

Happy eating!

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