Leaves fall from the tress covering the earth with fiery oranges, reds and golds. Autumn is here and the earth is changing her disposition. the air has turned from the hot and heavy heat of summer to the cool and crisp of fall. As the planet shifts our bodies must follow suit. Fall is harvest time, a time to reap the hard work of the year and preparing for the dormancy of winter. The days are getting shorter to let us know that it is time to transition from the utmost and outward yang of summer to the most inward and yin time of winter. This makes fall the time of lesser yin, an important time to transition.
The element of autumn is metal. metal is the element that can be both malleable and rigid, so it is a good time for self-examination for these personal traits. Do I give and bend to easily or am I too rigid and can break with an adjustment? somewhere in between is the healthy balance. Money and intellect are also associated with the metal element. Interesting that it is the time of year that school traditionally starts and it is the time to store the efforts of one’s hard work. Take advantage of the energy and take a class, read an educational book or look into investment plans to save for the future.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the metal element rules the Lungs and Large Intestine. Dryness is the disposition of winter, so dryness will harass these organs at this time. It is common for one to experience dry mouth, nose and lips. Drink beverages, especially warm ones to stay hydrated. Fall allergies are common and the chief complaint will be dryness. If ones has the tendency toward constipation, it can also become predominant with the fall weather. The flavor of the metal element is pungency, so pungent foods can help to open the orifices effected by the dryness. These warming, pungent foods can help to stimulate and awaken the senses at this time of year.
The body has the desire to contract and go inward at this time of transition, so sour food will help to support this natural process. Favor things like sourdough bread, sauerkraut, olives, pickles and other fermented and/or vinegary foods. Leeks, adzuki beans, salt plums, sour apples, lemons, limes and grapefruits will support the system. Also, dairy is moistening for the body, so eat cheeses and yogurts that can support the mucous membranes to strengthen for the coming winter months. Other foods that counter dryness are soy, barley, malt, rice syrup, pears, persimmons, loquat, mushrooms and nuts. Cook with less water on lower heat, so start up the crock pot for fall slow cooked meals. Add salt to your food to release the moisture from it and help the body to transitions to winter.
More energy is needed from goos as you prepare your body for winter in the fall months. It is a time to reap and restore in preparation for the restful time of winter. Enjoy the crisp air and the beautiful fall colors.