Eat what is in Season:
I believe one of the best things we can do for our health, is to eat seasonal foods. When foods are freshly grown in their season, they not only taste better, they nourish our body the way nature intended. Locally grown seasonal foods meet our nutritional needs. For example, the beta-carotene in the orange pigment of pumpkins, squash and carrots will help strengthen our immune system just in time to help ward off winter colds. And the oils of nuts ~ fats in their purest form, will provide nutrient rich calories that help keep us warm as the temperature drops.
For thousands of years, Chinese medicine has taught that all of our organs are paired with a season that best supports and nourishes their function. They discovered during each season, certain parts of the body were more enlivened than they were at other times during the year, concluding that each organ was specifically affected at certain times of the year. What this means for us is that we can learn to support and redirect our body’s function to be more efficient and healthy, and figure out why certain things are happening at different times throughout the year.
Practice eating seasonally and pay attention to times throughout the year that you have weakness, allergies, sickness or extra strength. The foods listed below will give support to the seasonal foods that grow naturally, and strengthen the organ systems affected during that season. It’s really very fascinating!!
Winter is the time of year when our kidneys, bladder and reproductive organs are renewed. It was typically a time when we rested and rejuvenated, but in our modern culture, we tend to keep going and overburden these organs with little concern for gathering and refreshing their strength, leaving us tired and weak. The cooking style that works best for our body during the winter is steaming and salt pickling, and foods that nourish these organ systems.
Foods to be eaten during Winter are:
|Shiitake Mushrooms||Sea Salt, Soy Sauce, Tamari|
|Water Chestnuts||Umeboshi Plums and Vinegar|
Spring is the time of year when our liver, gallbladder and nervous system open and relax, by removing toxins accumulated from the winter. Like spring, the energy in our body is clean, sprouting and moving. ‘Spring cleaning’ is a desire we have for our homes after a long winter, and it’s equally necessary for our body as well. It’s the perfect time of year to fast or do a cleanse. The cooking technique that supports these organs in the spring is blanching, light pickling and sautéing, and foods that help stimulate this cleansing.
Foods to be eaten during Spring are:
|Oats||Granny Smith Apples|
|Rye||Lemons and Limes|
|Peas (Split, Black-Eyed, Green)||Pomegranates|
Summer is when our heart, small intestines and circulatory system are strengthened. During this time of year, we blossom, just like the summer season does. The energy of nature and inside our body is expansive, free and easy. The cooking styles are grilling, roasting and deep-frying, and seasonal foods.
Foods to be eaten during Summer are:
|Amaranth||Red Bell Pepper|
|Broccoli Rabe||Sesame Seeds|
|Brussels Sprouts||Sunflower Seeds|
|Dandelion Greens||Tropical Foods and Fruits|
Indian Summer Foods:
Indian Summer or late summer is believed to be one of the most balanced energy phases. The organs that are enlivened during this season are the pancreas, spleen and stomach and the cooking technique that supports these organ systems is boiling, simmering and stewing. The foods that give strength.
Foods to be eaten during Indian Summer are:
|Winter Squash||Brown Rice Syrup|
Autumn is when our lungs and large intestine are renewed. This season is grounding us after summer and getting us prepared for winter. The cooking style that best supports our lungs and large intestines is pressure cooking, baking and roasting, and foods that strengthen these organs.
Foods to be eaten during Autumn are:
|Sweet Brown Rice||Ginger|