Beyond the pumpkin spice lattes, seasonal shifts bring about changes within our physical and emotional systems that we should be listening to.
According to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), the fifth season of late summer (mid-August to Fall Equinox) is one of the most important times of year as it focuses on the health of our digestion.
We spend most of the summer craving and eating raw foods which are necessary to clear excess heat within our body, but they can also be hard on our digestive system.
In TCM our digestive system is our soul nutrition, it is the root of our overall immune health and even our emotional well-being. Therefore we must take great care of our gut during this transition as it will also boost immunity and prepare you to be well during the winter season.
Every year in the fall, I see a drastic increase of colds, flus, mood shifts, rashes and asthma. In TCM, each season correlates to a different organ system. The season of fall correlates to the lungs. If not protected now during late summer, the lungs are easily weakened.
The best way to protect ourselves is to begin cooking more of our foods. Luckily as cooler weather emerges we tend to do this fairly naturally, however, it's important to be fairly consistent. Cook foods that are easy to digest and that are “warming in nature” such as soups, stews, teas, and congees. Congees are types of broths and porridge made from rice.
Another suggestion is to implement mindfulness into your eating. Enhance your digestion by doing what we call mindful eating. Sit down with your meals, focus on the flavors you taste as well as the textures and think about how it is nourishing your body.
Limit excess synthetic ingredients, which are usually the names you can’t pronounce on the ingredient list! Shop foods that are in season. That’s a great way to seasonally eat and is also a great budget tip as foods in season are less costly than those out of season. Great options are yams, sweet potatoes, zucchini, radishes, onions, cabbage and turnips.
Try to avoid overindulging especially with bread or dairy. Foods eaten straight from the refrigerator also are harmful to our digestive system as the cold nature isn’t as nourishing for our digestive system.
Seasons are also correlated to specific emotions. Late summer is about nourishing our center (stomach). Within this, we should focus on harmonizing ourselves. That means saying no when you need to, and taking rest when you need to.
Take time to meditate or mindfully concentrate on what is good and wholesome in your life. When we are at ease and when we are happy, our souls are content. Our body is warmed with love and gratitude which will ultimately protect us in the upcoming months.
I truly wish you the best and healthiest season!