Thursday, March 10, 2011
Autumn - Harvest the Spirit
One of our biggest challenges of modern day living is to live harmoniously with the seasons. Urban living often brings with it a disconnect from the energetic changes around us. With watermelon still available at woolies, when it should only be consumed in the height of a hot summer; a testament to how far removed we are from our changing environment. One of the most beautiful things about not only Chinese Medicine, but also other healing arts such as Ayurvedic medicine, is the observation of seasonal cycles and harmonising our own energy with our environment in order to avoid disease and cultivate health.
Autumn is a time to harvest the bounty we grew in summer, and to store and prepare for the winter ahead. Autumn is associated with the metal element, signifying contraction, as opposed to the upwards and outwards movement of summer. It is a time to reflect inwards to the center of our being, to receive what is of essential worth, and to let go of what is not useful to us. It is a time to avoid wind, not only the movement of air, but also any quick sudden changes in your life.
Autumn corresponds with the Lung (fei) system, which dominates the skin, fluid metabolism, respiration, immunity and the emotions of grief and sadness. The dry, crisp weather of autumn makes the lungs more susceptible to disharmony at this time, with symptoms such as a dry throat, dry nose, hair loss, dry and rough skin and dry stools. It is essential to keep warm, protect yourself from the wind, and to eat foods that nourish dryness and the yin aspects of the body.
It is important to transition into eating warmer, nourishing root vegetables, soups and stews. You can start including more pungent foods such as onions and ginger, as well as astringent natured foods such as grapefruit and lemon to prevent the loss of body fluids. I always recommend eating organic produce, not only to avoid harmful pesticides and support environmentally sound agriculture, but simply because you will only ever be able to eat what is in season. Visit your local organic market and see what appeals to your body.
Some foods that are available in autumn - Beetroot, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, fennel, kale, leeks, mushroom, potatoes, pumpkin, capsicum, pears, apples, persimmons.
Remember to care and nourish your body and spirit, and embrace the coming season!