Climate instability has afforded us unusually warm autumn days this year. We all know that the pernicious force of cold will soon be upon us.
Do not let these warm sunny days bribe you into being unprepared. In spite of climate disruptions, fall is the metal time in Chinese Medicine, the season of the lungs & large intestine. This is the organ pair for this transition time from summer to winter. This is the time when cold and dampness make these organs weak & challenged. Many of us are more prone to clearing our throats & respiratory infections when the darkness comes and temperatures drop. Strengthening our lungs and large intestines during the fall is good self-care in preparation for the winter. Warmth is therapeutic to the lungs & large intestines along with healing foods.
Most of us are more inclined to be filled with congestion this time of year. Eating lots of dairy; especially cheese, and ice cream seems to only make matters worse. Consciously, reduce the amount of mucous production by eliminating dairy and mucous-producing foods to better support these organs this fall. Turn to hot, broth-based soups, stews, oven-baked roots, steamed and pressure-cooked foods. Now is the time to get in plenty of hot, free-radical-reducing teas. (green, rooibos, & herbal teas, see selection) Keep that hot teapot on the stove, ready to go. Our bodies need that warmth to prevent & move stagnation. This will keep your defenses up, ready to fight off infections.
Roots are healing foods to reach for in the fall. They are mentally and emotionally grounding & stabilizing. These qualities help one to transition into the slowdown, inner reflective time this season ushers in. Ginger root is excellent for this time of year. Its anti-inflammatory, warm and pungent qualities will help to correct stagnation and move phlegm out! Use it in teas, soups, and stir-frys to soothe and clear both the lungs & large intestine. It is strong yet gentle enough to give to children diluted with 5-10 parts broth or water. Ginger will help to resolve, gas, constipation, and menstrual cramps. Radishes, onions, and garlic have warming, grounding qualities. They too tonify the lungs & large intestine. Potatoes, beets, and carrots are roots that can be baked to support internal warmth along with rutabagas, & turnip bottoms. (see Winter Roots Bake) for a calming side dish or main meal that even diabetics and salt-sensitive hypertensives can enjoy.
In addition to roots, apples & pears baked or cooked into a hot morning grain are soothing and foster elimination. Don't let climate instability throw you too off kelter. Know the cold is coming and be prepared!