In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), one of the common methods of preventing disease and maintaining good health is to eat according to the seasons. The Chinese have the belief that we are what we eat and most of the dietary consumption follows the shifts of nature. TCM philosophies says that if we eat seasonal foods that are similar to the environment at the time, we can remain in harmony with nature, adapt to changes in the season and stay healthy.
Autumn is the time of year where things begin to mature and fall. In TCM, autumn is connected to the lung system. The lung system controls the skin, respiration, body fluid metabolism, blood circulation, immunity and melancholy emotions. The weather in autumn is cold and dry, and so it is important to keep warm and prevent dryness by nourishing Yin. TCM holds that everything needs to turn inwards to prepare for the harsh winter. The dry weather of autumn usually causes an itchy throat, dry nose, chapped lips, rough skin, hair loss and dry stools. Therefore, we need to eat foods that help promote the production of body fluids and their lubricating effects within the body.
Beneficial foods for the season of autumn are lily bulb, white fungus, nuts or seeds, pear, lotus root, pumpkin, honey, soy milk and dairy (in moderation). The Chinese traditionally added these ingredients to rice porridge for breakfast and soups for lunch and dinner. It is also recommended to eat foods that are sour and reduce foods that are pungent such as onions, ginger and peppers which induce perspiration. Instead, include sour foods such as pineapple, hawthorn, apple, grapefruit and lemon which have astringent properties that prevent loss of body fluids. During this season, the body needs extra body fluids to counteract the dry environment of autumn.
Here is a great recipe to popular soup for the season of autumn.
Snow Fungus Dessert Soup
Written by Natural Flow of Life Acupuncture and Herbs