October 02, 2018
How Diet can Contribute to Mental-Emotional Problems in Chinese Medicine
Autumn is one of my favourite seasons of the year, though according to Taoist philosophy, there can be no favourites – the seasons are as they are and we can enjoy them all! The weather is mild, the air feeling fresh and crisp and of course, the change that is happening in nature is beautiful and fascinating.
The season of Autumn is related to harvesting, pulling in together and gathering. There is abundance but also contraction to prepare for Winter as it approaches – leaves and fruit fall, seeds dry, the sap of trees enters the roots. The foods to focus on this season are astringent foods and heartier flavours and foods to prepare to store energy for Winter.
Astringent foods are sour-flavoured and are contracting in nature. Some of these foods include sourdough bread, sauerkraut, olives, pickles, leeks, aduki beans, salt plums, rose hip tea, vinegar, cheese, yoghurt, lemons, limes, grapefruit and the sour varieties of apples, plums and grapes. Sour foods are very effective in small amounts so take care with the consumption of extremely sour foods.
The cooking method for these foods is to cook with less water, at a lower heat and for longer periods of time to internalise the energy of the food.
Autumn also tends to be drying in nature, though dryness affecting the body can occur in any season. Some symptoms of Dryness in the body are thirst, dryness of the skin, nose, lips and throat, and itchiness. Foods which moisten the boy include soybean products, spinach, barley, millet, pear, apple, persimmon, loquat, seaweeds, almond, pinenut, peanut, sesame seed, cooked honey, milk and dairy products, eggs, clam, crab, oyster, mussel, herring and pork, as well as a little bit of salt. The milk and other animal products are more appropriate for people who have dryness with weakness, frailty and diagnosed as Deficient in Chinese Medicine.
Foods to limit to avoid drying include bitter, aromatic and/or warming foods which include many spices and herbs.
Enjoy slowing down with the cooking and gathering into yourself!