Perfect Autumn Health Secrets
If only we spoke about this every Autumn....
Happy Autumn Equinox kindred spirits! Ok, I’m a little late, but I have a kid under 2 so I get a free pass, right?
I spent my Autumn Equinox completely unplugged, out in nature with my little one and a group of sisters and their little ones. I didn’t make it to the Equinox ceremony held around a campfire because, well, again, I’m a mom to a wild one! But we did celebrate Autumn’s freshness and bounty in our own way by scouring the forest for blackberries and singing songs of thanks to the bushes.
In honor of this new season, I want to share with you some ancient wisdom that I hope you can take with you into the coming months. Today’s wisdom comes from ancient China.
By heeding Nature’s cycles and rhythms, ancient Chinese thinkers found that everything on this planet contains 5 basic qualities or “Elements,” and Energy transforms from one to the next. We humans have the power to change our diets and lifestyle in relation to these Elements; we can move through them to live in harmony and balance with the natural world we come from.
So, welcome to Autumn, the season of METAL. To get a feeling for what the Metal Element is all about, simply imagine sitting on a rock. Metal comes from stone, so we can look to the solidity of a rock to understand Metal. It is a solid structure. It is not going to change any time soon.
We have these same qualities with ourSELVES. We know who we are at our core. We feel our boundaries. We exist within our own skin. We have the ability to experience clarity.
This inward movement that we begin to feel in Autumn occurs in nature, too. The whole planet begins to contract. Leaves begin to fall, they’re drawn into the Earth as minerals and nutrients, and the harvest is complete. The fruits of the previous cycle are stored and consolidated.
What's happening in our bodies?
In our bodies, this energy is held in our lungs and large intestines, which send Qi (energy or life-force), food, and fluid downward and out. Our blood begins to thicken in preparation for Winter, supporting more reflective attitudes.
We can gain a sense of the state of our Metal energy through the health of our skin, the hair on our bodies, our teeth, the power of our voices, our mental clarity, and our confidence.
The lungs are known as the “Judge” of the body, gifting us with understanding, the ability to see the truth, and to separate our feelings from those of others. They prevent as from being easily “rocked.” (See what I did there?)
Oftentimes an imbalance in this meridian stems all the way back to childhood. Perhaps our parents or caretakers did not respect our boundaries or forced us to do what they wanted. We grew up not knowing where our boundaries lie. Perhaps we were an only child and spent a lot of time alone, and now feel it's easier to just be alone most of the time. These feelings and emotions contain a physical charge which we hold in ours lungs and large intestines.
So, how can we heal?
Connect with others in whatever way you can. Gain confidence by doing what you’re good at. We want a network and a community that supports us.
Aerobic exercise is another powerful medicine for stimulating energy in the lungs, sending Qi up and out, and in mild cases, has been shown to lift depression better than your standard prescription antidepressants.
Ok, ok, but how can we heal with FOOD, you ask?
I’m glad you asked :)
Each season is associated with, or creates a specific flavor that is particularly healing for us. In Autumn, seek out pungent and astringent foods. Like exercise, these foods help send Qi up and out. Also look for foods that are silver and white (radishes, beans, onions, garlic, quinoa, rice, daikon radish, parsnips, etc). Sometimes I don’t realize how many foods have a “white” version until I visit my local farmer’s market and see just how many varieties of vegetables grow nearby. Autumn is the time to opt for these white varieties when available. I’m not saying eat ONLY white foods (we still want to eat the rainbow to ensure we’re getting a broad range of vitamins and nutrients!), but when there is a white option that you might typically ignore, why not give it a try?
We can look to the contracting energy of whole grains in Autumn to promote balance between ourselves and our environment, as well as longer, dryer cooking techniques like baking, grilling, slightly longer sautés that are typical of light summer cooking, and pressure-recooking. Try rice, occasional eggs if you eat eggs, seasonal vegetables, and quinoa dishes. Just be sure to cook with PUNGENT flavors like ginger, garlic and onion to spread the Qi (spread the Qi, man).
Avoid stagnating foods like alcohol and processed sugar. These will promote the energetic opposite of what your body, mind, and spirit are naturally seeking.
If you’d like to go deeper, I’m available for 1:1 coaching sessions online and I recently published a book, “The Holistic Antidepressant Diet: Traditional, Edible Practices to Align with Mother Earth, Raise Vibrations, and Naturally Curb Anxiety and Depression.” If you purchase a copy through Amazon, I would be so grateful for a review and 5 star rating because selling is a tough business and I can really use your help!
Yours in so much love, light and longevity,