Fall officially starts September 22 and every year as I watch the crisp dried fallen leaves dance circles in wind gusts I smile that my favourite season has arrived!
When the mornings & evenings turn crisp & cool and the afternoons are sunny and warm I am reminded of my university days back in the early 90’s. An image, smells, the colours of the leaves almost instantly transport me back to the colorful fall tree lined streets of Kingston, Ontario. I get nostalgic about those days in my early 20’s (I am now 45) and just as I was so keen for study and fall foods then, every fall the same passions come forth again.
Now, as a Chinese medicine practitioner, I love this time of year because it gives me the opportunity to pull out my crock pot and cook warm soups and stews again, to plan my continuing education for the fall & winter, to pull in my squash and late season veggies from the garden and prep the garden beds for next spring & summer. The fall equinox..where there is equal balance of day and night & yin and yang invites me to ask how can I bring more balance to my life.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, according to Paul Pitchford author of Healing with Whole Foods, “fall is the season of harvest, a time to pull inward and gather together on all levels, a time to store up fuel, food and warm clothing, a time to study and plan for the approaching stillness of winter”
1. Food Preparation
•Choose foods that come ripe this time of year; tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, carrots, potatoes, yams. They have spent all spring & summer growing & gathering nutrients to nourish your body. Concentrated food and roots thicken the blood for cooler weather.
•Choose foods that reflect the qualities of autumn~abundant & yet contracting…and a little bit of sour (pickles, sourdough bread, sauerkraut, olives, pickles, leeks, aduki beans, salt plums, rosehip tea, vingar, cheese, yogurt, sour apples, plums and grapes )
•Reduce the amount of raw and cooling foods, choosing steaming, saute, slow cooking and baking, cook for longer periods of time
•Add moistening foods like pears
Chicken Bone Broth & Fall Veggie Soup
•chopped onion sauteed in grass fed butter
•1 small pumpkin peeled and chopped
•3 carrots washed and chopped
•chopped chicken pieces & bone broth from roasted chicken
•1/2 cup toasted long grain brown rice
•toasted pumpkin seeds with salt for topping
~Saute onions and carrots and add other ingredients, cook 1 hour and add spices…yum!
2. Put on Some Warm Clothing
As the mornings are crisp and the evening cool, be sure to always carry a scarf to wrap around the back of the neck to ward off cold & flu invasion.
3. Boost Your Immune System
Fall is the season of the Lung and the lungs receive the vital energy from the air and combine it with the vital energy received from food to make your overall energy. Some of this is directed to protecting the outer surfaces of the body from colds & flu bacteria & viruses. Visit you acupuncturist for treatment to boost your Lungs and ward off illness at the first sign of a cold or flu (sneezing, chills &/or fever, sore throat, body aches, fatigue). There are some AMAZING Chinese Herbal mixes that you can keep on hand in case of early colds (Gan Mao Ling)or colds that start with a sore throat (Yin Qiao San), a cough (Sang Ju Yin) or sinus congestion (Xanthium Nasal or Magnolia).
4. Plan Studies
What have you been craving to know? This year I will likely take the Integrative Fertility Sympsium again and am also interested in creating space for a regular yoga practice again.
5. Invite Balance & Get grounded
Everything in nature contracts and moves its essence inward and downward. Take 5 minutes to sit in the warm afternoon sun and just breathe. Draw in the warmth and let it ground you; Inhale and think “I am in balance” and exhale “calm”. I help myself stay more balanced by going to bed early and waking early…some days I am able to get myself up and do some yoga postures. Other mornings I I know I need more rest so I snuggle in with my son and breathe deep full, expansive breaths.
How do you celebrate, ritualize or keep balanced in fall? Share your comments below.
If you’d like more insight on how to Align with Fall you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org