We celebrate another successful spin of nature's cycles in Autumn and feel gratitude for another Spring-Summer-Harvest cycle. Autumn allows us to rest now in stillness and receptivity. The peak of expression will come around again; the Yang will always follow the Yin. But notice how collectively we struggle to yield to the Yin, to the darker, slower, less externally-focused aspects of life.
The Autumn season is aligned with the Lung and Large Intestine organ-meridian pairs, and is governed by the Metal Element. A simple and approachable way to nourish yourself during the colder months is to shift your eating habits and incorporate specific foods into your diet. You can also use these tips any time of the year when you are wanting to give your Lungs/Large Intestine some extra loving.
Nourishing foods & eating habits for autumn
Our Large Intestine also plays a vital role in the Lung Season, so it is important that we look after our digestion. Nourished Lungs also mean a nourished colon, and if we eat well, include fibre, good quality protein and nourishing foods, then we can further let go of anything we no longer need.
The colour of Autumn is white, so white foods are your friends. The food suggestions below are intended to support digestion, immune health and general wellbeing. They are mostly easy to digest foods. It’s important that we really take the time to nourish ourselves now, because if we don’t, we are leaving ourselves more vulnerable to sickness and feeling depleted in Winter.
So set yourself up for success this Autumn with some easy changes to your diet.
Enjoy more warming and cooked meals
In the Summer, the warm Yang nature of the season helps us digest raw foods, but as we begin to welcome in the cooler months, beginning to transition to cooked and warming foods will help to nourish the Spleen, preventing any strain on digestion. This helps your body conserve energy to protect itself from illness. Soups, porridge, and stews are easier on the digestive system, steaming or cooking your food at low temperatures for longer periods of time can also support and nourish the Yin.
Reduce foods that cause dampness
When dampness is created by impaired digestion, it tends to end up in the Lungs and Large Intestine, this can lead to excess phlegm, mucus and congestion, and changes in bowel movements. Depending on your constitution (whether you are more vulnerable to accumulating dampness within the body), reducing the following foods may be beneficial:
- Refined and processed wheat and starch products
- Refined sugar
- Excessive raw fruits and vegetables
- Processed dairy products
- Cold beverages
- Fried, oily foods
Eat foods that lubricate the body
Whilst we are focusing on ourselves warm (Yang) throughout Autumn, it is still important to prevent dryness and Wind penetrating the body (usually manifesting in dry skin and lips in the colder months). Eating moistening foods will nourish the body, and especially the Lungs.
So we are looking to nourish ourselves with Yin foods including:
- Grass-fed ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil.
- Pears, pumpkin, squash, apples and seaweed
- Enjoy congee, broths, soups and stews
These are some of the foods that energetically align with the season of Autumn, supporting Spleen Qi, nourishing and warming the body whilst also nourishing the Yin.
It’s important to note that this is a general guide, and understanding your own dietary needs and constitution should also be considered, but the beauty is in the exploration of new foods and how they may nourish you.
Apples & Pears
Lemons & Grapefruit
Garlic & Ginger
Broccoli & Cauliflower
Kimchi & Sauerkraut
Beans: black, adzuki, kidney, mung & soy
Nuts and seeds (especially walnuts, almonds & black and white sesame seeds)
Duck & Duck eggs
Fish & crab
* When cooking meats, focus on slow cooking in a stew/soup to maintain moisture in the meal
Dive deeper into the Lung Metal Season