Autumn in Chinese medicine is considered the neutral buffer zone between the seasons. The weeks before and after each of the two equinoxes and solstices represent pivotal pauses in the light patterns we experience from the sun.
At these times of transition, nature goes from the expansive growth phases of spring and summer to the inward, cooler seasons of fall and winter. Unity, harmony and the middle way are summoned between these extremes. During these times our bodies are most vulnerable to viruses and weakness. Encourage stomach and spleen-pancreas health. These organs represent the centre and are of the earth element. By creating strength and balance in these organs, your body produces a strong immune system to help resist diseases. Eat to create warmth, vitality and focused mental function.
The flavor of autumn is sweet. Attune to autumn surges with spearmint (also pungent), sweet rice, sweet potato, rice syrup, amasake, molasses, sunflower seed, pine nuts, walnut and cherry. Consume fruits as juices, dried or canned if they’re not available fresh.
Eat in moderation. Too much sweet food damages kidneys and spleen-pancreas, weakens bones and can cause head-hair loss, obesity, tumors and edema.
Consume foods that encourage harmony. Think of mildly sweet foods, yellow or golden foods, round foods. Think: millet, corn, carrots, cabbage, garbanzo beans, soybeans, squash, potatoes, string beans, yams, tofu, sweet potatoes, sweet rice, rice, amaranth, peas, chestnuts, filberts, apricots and cantaloupe.
Prepare simple meals. Avoid complicated combinations and use moderation in preparation methods. Foods you eat now help create a strong, active, stable body.
Do a three-day fast to help with seasonal transitioning. Do this on the last week of the season. Try a single-grain fast during the fall and winter interchanges, leaving the vegetable or fruit fasts for the cusps of spring and summer. A colon hydrotherapy session is also recommended at this time.
Fall is the time of pulling inward, gathering and harmonizing our deep-rooted connection with natural cycles. Harvest foods of autumn and fall to create harmony.
Receptivity, openness and willingness to let go are encouraged by consuming nourishing and strengthening foods. This is the time of the metal element. Concentrate on foods that build strength for protection from viruses and pathogens in the upcoming cold season.
Pungent foods used in moderation help cleanse and strengthen lungs and colon by dispersing mucus build-ups from high mucus-forming foods like dairy and meat.
Use: hot peppers, chilies, members of the onion family, garlic, turnip, ginger, horseradish, cabbage, radish, daikon, white peppercorn.
Emphasize a diet using fibre foods:
bran, oats, apples, broccoli, mustard greens, brown rice, sesame seeds, winter squash, kale, beans, pignoli nuts, pumpkin, parsley, domestic beef/bison, turnip, watercress, tofu, carrots, wheat, barley grasses, common green algae, blue-green algae and golden micro-algae.
Emphasize herbs: yerba santa leaf, mullein leaf, nettles.
Consume smaller portions of sweet and fragrant foods for balance: leafy green vegetables, millet, mallows, dates.
Use small amounts of sour-flavored foods to help bring better mental focus: sourdough, sauerkraut, olives, pickles, leeks, aduki beans, yogurt, lemon, lime, grapefruit, sour apples, plums and grapes.
Food preparation method: Cook with less water and lower heat for longer periods of time. The warm fragrance of baked, stewed and sautéed food creates a sense of well being and stimulates the appetite. Concentrated foods thicken the blood in preparation for cold weather of winter.
Pauline Wolf, CHHP, Certified Provincial Instructor, is a practicing Colon Hydrotherapist in Campbell River and loves to share her wealth of knowledge of holistic healing.