Eating for Autumn

As the days grow shorter and nights linger longer, those of us in the Northern hemisphere are entering Autumn. This is the time of year when trees shed their leaves and produce aisles fill up with colorful squashes. Preparations for the holidays begin popping up everywhere you look.

This time of year has its health challenges as temperatures fluctuate dramatically. We leave the house wearing a thick sweater or jacket, and end the day shedding these in favor of something lighter. When the weather varies we have more difficulty regulating temperature and fending off colds.

During Autumn, we want to bolster our immunity and eat nourishing foods. In traditional Chinese medicine, this season is connected to our Lungs and to the element of Metal. Our lungs need special attention and we want to invite more Yin energy to our physical bodies.

Some helpful foods:

Fruits & Vegetables: Apples, Fig, Ginkgo Nuts, Guava, Kiwis, Pears, Peaches, Pomelo, Tangerines, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Chinese yams, Chestnut, Fennel, Leek, Lotus Root, Shiitake Mushroom, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Parsnip, Pumpkin, Onion, Watercress, Water chestnut

Carbohydrates & Seasonings: Oats, Red Rice, Honey and Spices.
Protein & Fats: Black Bean, Crab, Duck, Sesame, Silken Tofu, River Fish, Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

About four weeks ago my son came home with a preschool cough and a nonstop runny nose. The first rule we have at home is to avoid all dairy and sugar. We also pay attention to gluten or anything ‘sticky’ that might create more mucus or phlegm. Instead we offered organic udon noodles cooked in homemade bone broth. We added  soft tofu and spinach to give it color and texture. For breakfast, he asked for oatmeal and we cooked this on the stovetop with macadamia nut milk, honey, apples and cinnamon. For a snack, he ate  small tangerine oranges or a bowl of warm applesauce.  With a humidifier and cough syrup for extra support, it seemed that incorporating these foods into his diet helped his body to increase its own defenses. As a result, his cough began to clear up.

If you are susceptible to Autumn’s transitory climate, bringing some of these foods into your diet will be beneficial, and eliminating or reducing dry or baked goods, along with alcohol and excess sugar will prepare your body for the easing into Winter.

What foods would you like to try? What are some ways you can add some spices and warming foods to your meals? If you are interested in exploring how to achieve some of your nutrition and wellness goals, contact me for a discovery session.

Image by M.Langevin via Unsplash