Autumn, or its more descriptive name Fall, is the season of harvest in nature and the season of the Metal Element, with its related organs of lungs and large intestine, in TCM. It’s a time for gathering together food for the body and thoughts for the mind, a time for pulling inwards and settling into the yin energy of the next few cooler months of the year. Our foods become more concentrated to prepare for the cold; we are aware of the aroma of apples simmering on the stove, warm breads and baking in the oven; and our sense of smell is more acute, governed by the metal element and the lungs.
When lung qi is healthy and strong, so is our immune system. Qi is taken from the air and mixed with qi extracted from our food to protect the mucus membranes and interior surfaces of the lungs from bacteria and viruses. The skin is vital and healthy. If it is dry, dull or rough, there is said to be a lung imbalance. Mentally lung qi allows us to be organized and focused, to know when to hold on and when to let go. Physically the large intestine is able to release the parts of the food that are not needed by the body.
To help balance and strengthen lung and large intestine qi our foods in the Fall should be slightly pungent to protect and cleanse, at the same time sour foods will aid in mental focus and contraction of energy internally. White foods are abundant, relating to the metal element. Cooking methods should be focused, with less water, and a lower heat for longer periods. It’s a time to bring out the crock pot and make casseroles.
Try the following foods:
onions, garlic, turnips, daikon radish, white pepper, pickles, sauerkraut, cabbage, cauliflower, yogurt, lemons, grapefruit, sourdough bread.
To counteract the dryer weather and conditions of dryness try:
soybean products, including tofu, tempeh; barley, pears, apples, black and white fungus, almonds, rice syrup, clams, crab.
For conditions of excess mucus:
avoid milk, dairy and soy products, instead opt for seaweeds, flaxseed, fennugreek, onions, fennel.
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