Throughout the year, nature provides us with the appropriate foods to protect us from the climate, support our health, and keep us in balance. Becoming aware of seasonal foods and seasonal eating habits can attune us to the natural cycles of nature, and our bodies.
Fall is the harvest season for rich, dense foods that support and fuel the body, providing additional heat to protect us from the cooler, damper climate. The concentrated foods and roots available at this time also “thicken” the blood in order to keep us warm in cooler weather. Our diet should shift toward foods rich in protein-fat and whole grains. These complex carbohydrates may lead to a few added pounds put on during the season, so it’s important to keep active. Preparing foods in harmony with this season means cooking with more astringent, sour foods. Some foods that are sour to include in your diet are – sourdough bread, sauerkraut, olives, pickles, leeks, aduki beans, salt plums, rose hip tea, vinegar, cheese, yogurt, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and sour varieties of apples, plums, and grapes. Be careful with extremely sour food, because small amounts have strong affects upon the body and blood pressure. (Avoid large amounts of sour foods if you have a history of high blood pressure.)
Our appetites are also stimulated by the fragrance of aromatic flavors and spices. Other foods that are useful during the Fall are pungent foods. These foods both cleanse and protect the lungs and large intestine. Some pungent foods are – garlic, turnip, ginger, horseradish, cabbage*, radish*, daikon, and white peppercorn.
To help boost your Wei Qi, consume dark green and golden-orange vegetables. They are high in beta carotene and appear to protect the lungs and large intestine against illness. Carrots, winter squash, pumpkin, broccoli, parsley, kale, turnip, mustard greens, and blue green algae are foods to consume this time of year. You may also want to use herbs such as ginseng, yerba santa, nettles, mullein, and astragalus.
Adding the above foods to your daily diet may help bolster your immunity and support the health of your lungs. In general, cook with less water, and at lower heat, for longer periods of time.
*These foods are “cooling” and should be used sparingly with an autumn diet.