The weather is getting cooler, the days are getting shorter and the still afternoon air echoes with the sound of migrating birds heading for warmer places…
Autumn is a time to gather together the abundance created throughout the Summer, and to store it away for the cooler months. It is a time to start looking inward, to prepare for the stillness of Winter.
In Chinese medicine philosophy, Autumn is associated with the element of Metal. Metal relates to the ability to let go and to express grief. If your Metal element is healthy, you are able to hold on to your values and principles, while letting go of the ideas and possessions that no longer serve you. Autumn is a great time to get rid of clutter, to simplify your surroundings and to only hold on to the things you need.
While it is a good time to “detox” your home or office, Autumn is not a great time to detox your body.
Instead, it’s a time to start having more nurturing foods. Root vegetables are nature’s energy storage and you can start introducing them now – try baked potato, carrot, sweet potato, kumera and parsnip.
Raw food is too draining in cool weather, so you can start replacing salads with healthy stir fries instead (use a tiny bit of oil and splash in water so you are steaming rather than frying). Light soups are a great way to extract the energy from your food to help with storage, and to reduce the strain on your digestive fire as the body’s energy starts to contract inwards.
Autumn’s energy is abundant but contracting, so use sour-flavoured foods to astringe the food’s energy, drawing it inwards to help with storage. Sour foods include sourdough bread, sauerkraut, olives, pickles, leeks, aduki beans, salt plums, rosehip tea, vinegar, cheese, yoghurt, lemons, limes, grapefruit and sour varieties of apples, plums and grapes.
The organ energies that relate to Autumn and the Metal element are Lung and Large Intestine. These also relate to the nose, air passages, skin, mucous membranes and immunity. Imbalance in any of these areas can signify that your Metal element needs adjusting.
If you have symptoms in any of these areas then please contact the Clinic for further advice. You might need some acupuncture or herbal treatment, or we can give you a personalised food plan to support you.
Easy Autumn recipe – Shepherd’s Barley Soup
¼ onion, chopped (optional)
4 carrots, grated
2 parsnips, diced
1 tablespoon oil
2 ½ litres water
1 cup barley
1/3 teaspoon ginger, grated
1 teaspoon sea salt or 1 tablespoon natto miso
• Sauté onion, carrots and parsnips in oil
• Add water, barley and ginger. Simmer 1 ½ hours
• Add salt/ miso and simmer 15 minutes
• Garnish with parsley