Eat According to Nature’s Cycle

Follow up from last post about TCM, yin and yang, this post will be about which foods we should consume every season and all year around. We are what we eat and according to TCM diet guidelines should follow on from nature. If we consume foods that are similar in nature to external environment we remain in harmony and adapt better to changes and stay healthy. Sounds beautiful and make sense doesn’t it!? 🙂

If you haven’t read my previous post on yin and yang, please check that out first if you are completely new to TCM. But the principle here is nourishing the yang in spring and summer, and nourishing yin in autumn and winter time.

Below I will go over the 4 seasons and which foods are recommended for each season according to TCM.

Spring

  • Element: wood
  • This is the season of new birth and new growth and time for us to reach outward.
  • Organ: liver – which works to detoxify the blood and make bile to help metabolize carbohydrate, fats and protein.
  • To support the liver think spring-cleaning! Good time to develop a regular exercise program.
  • Foods to have: plenty of fluids including lemon in your water to nourish the liver. Eat light foods, greens, fruits, nuts and seeds.
  • Foods to avoid: heavy fatty fried foods and alcohol.

Summer

  • Element: fire
  • Transformation and dynamic movement = think power. The body is more likely to be energized during this season due to increase in heat in the body.
  • Organs: small intestine
  • Exercise should definitely be implemented here as fire also rules the heart, small intestine & circulation of the blood.
  • Food to eat: warming foods (if you are fire deficient) = peppers, ginger, butter, rice. Cooling foods (if there is excess in fire) = cucumber, watermelons, apples, lemons & limes.
  • Good time to get out, socialize & have fun in the day time!

Late summer

  • Element: earth
  • Earth is a unique element as it corresponds to that last period of summer, just before the cold weather sets in and also those few weeks in between seasons.
  • Following spring and summer, this period of time is great to centre and balance ourselves in time for autumn and slowly begin to prepare ourselves for winter, the season for rest.
  • In TCM, the earth element is associated with the spleen, pancreas, stomach and the digestive organs.
  • Foods to eat: you want to choose smart sugars! In TCM, those include: apples, carrots, dates, squash and sweet potato – which all help the pancreas regulate your blood sugar.
  • You should also be focusing on how you eat, mindfully and reasonable portions to not overwork your spleen.

Autumn

  • Element: Metal (similar to air)
  • Great time to get organized, declutter and eliminate anything that is unnecessary or wasteful.
  • Metal and air are connected to the lungs and the large intestine, both of which deal with purification and elimination.
  • Food to eat: vegetables & whole grains. Root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, onion & garlic. Along with cayenne, ginger, & curries promote good digestion and elimination. Advised to eat porridge for breakfast & soups for dinner.
  • As you might be craving more protein during this time, maybe you would want to incorporate weight training to make good use of it.

Winter

  • Element: water
  • The time to turn inward and reflect, rest and restore.
  • Organs associated: kidneys, bladder, blood circulation.
  • To keep the kidneys health, you should keep them warm and well hydrated.
  • Foods to include: warming foods: soups, whole grains, roasted nuts, herbal teas, kidney beans, black beans along with steamed vegetables & seaweed. Fish and shellfish are also great at this time of the year.
  • Although it’s time to conserve energy, we still need to stay active & exercise regularly. Yoga is great for this time of the year.

here are some useful links if you want to read more about it: 🙂

Hope you found this post useful & interesting 🙂

Lots of love,

Arwa

 

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