As the fall season is arriving, I feel like a little squirrel trying to get ready for the colder months: eating the great variety of fruits and vegetables, storing up foods, making last minute repairs and just mentally getting ready. By now we are aware that summer is gone and a new season is coming with all its beauty and challenges. It was the Autumnal Equinox a couple of days ago, when the days and nights are equal and from now on the days are going to get shorter and colder as well.
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
by Robert Frost
Autumn is a very special and unpredictable season. Every year, I marvel the beautiful vibrant colors of Autumn, the leaves on the trees and the vegetables on the table. It is the time when nature puts on its fancy clothes for the last time just to drop everything within a few weeks. It is the ending of a cycle and we know that all those leaves will turn into something new in the spring.
To attune to the fall season, we need to make some changes in our eating and cooking habits. This is the Harvest season and “we must be aware of its abundant yet contracting nature”. We can do this by eating more heartier and astringent foods. Also, we need to pay more attention to cooking now as more complex dishes are needed compared to the summer quick foods. It is getting colder so try to eat more heartier soups and warming dishes instead of the salads.
Astringent foods for the fall are cranberries, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, rosemary, turnip, potatoes, chestnuts, walnuts, pears, apples, spinach, burdock root, buckwheat, millet, buttermilk, whey, kale, chard, lavender, rose, grapes and many types of beans and lentils including black, mung and aduki beans, tur dal, urad dal etc.
In Ancient Chinese Medicine, the fall season belongs to the Metal element. Like every element has corresponding western organs, the Metal element’s organs are the lungs, the large intestines and ultimately the skin. If you experience problems during this season like having frequent colds/flus, dryness, skin problems, excessive mucus, try to pay attention to your eating habits as well. If the metal element is strong, the qi, the life force will circulated easier and can help our body stay health.
Let’s look at the nature of the lungs. The lungs like to be moist and warm. Moistening foods can help the lungs stay healthy (foods include spinach, barley, millet, pears, apples, almonds, eggs, home-made soy products and a little salt). Of course, warming foods of the season are great like all the squashes, carrots parsnips etc. In addition, fall is associated with the color white (leeks, white onion).
The flavor related to the metal element is pungent. The pungent flavor is both protective, dispersing and cleansing for the lungs and the colon, exactly what they need now. To stay healthy, the stuck energy in the lungs and colon need to be dispersed. Pungent foods include all white vegetables, onions, garlic, hot peppers, chilies, cabbage, turnip, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.
As I mentioned earlier, this season is also associated with the large intestine. It is important to include fiber rich foods. And yes … in addition this is the season of letting go … letting go of things that no longer serve us physically and mentally.
If you are looking for dishes to make during the fall, please, click on the fall or autumn ‘keyword’ on the right and you should get all my fall recipes.
- Paul Pitchford. Healing with Whole Foods
- Art: Wang Fine Art
Written by twincitiesherbs.com.