Late Summer :: Eating Seasonally with the Wisdom of Chinese Medicine

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As the blazing sun of Summer is subdued and transformed to the amber glow of Late Summer, we are reminded of how our outward relation to the seasons are manifested in the innerworkings of our bodies. Late Summer represents the Earth element in Chinese Medicine. It is a time to hone our digestive organs, namely the Spleen, Stomach and Pancreas.

Late Summer is a time for grounding, reflecting, nourishing. Think of the harvests and bounty of abundance that this season represents as makes way to Fall. As we evolve into the golden sunset of Late Summer, we too, must evolve our dietary habits to coincide with this transformation of seasons.    
This is the time to begin to scale back on the consumption of cooling, raw foods that helped our bodies deal with the blazing heat and depletion of fluids of Summer. Salads and uncooked food should be consumed sparingly as we transition to more energetically warm foods, with the subtle sweetness and amber glow of the changing sun. Think of the rich hues of fall's harvest; buttery yellow spaghetti squash, vibrant orange pumpkin, the deep crimson of roasted beets, the sweet tastes of whole grains, legumes, roasted root vegetables. Hearty, nourishing foods that optimize your digestive organs for peak performance.

When your Spleen, Stomach and Pancreas are working together in a balanced environment, your body is able to transform the food you eat into the vital substances required for the thousands of metabolic processes you personally demand daily. When hampered by improper diet, the Spleen, stomach and pancreas become bogged down in their ability to process your daily sustenance. Dairy, fried foods, extremely spicy foods as well as eating on the run or without attention decrease the efficiency of your digestion and create heaviness, indigestion, acid reflux, and other telltale signs off a less than ideal metabolism.

As we nourish the earth element of the Spleen, Stomach and Pancreas during Late Summer, it is interesting to note that Chinese Medicine posits that the earth element generates the metal element. The metal element represents Autumn, and the Lung and Large Intestine organs. By nourishing our bodies and reinforcing the function of our digestion during Late Summer we are paying forward to the upcoming season of fall in which we are subject to outside pathogens such as colds and flus, dryness of the lungs and throat, allergic rhinitis, etc. By building a strong constitution during Late Summer to nourish and warm the interior we are equipping our bodies with the resources to fight the maladies that attack when the seasons change.

Recommended Foods for Late Summer:
Soups and Stews: Any soup or stew, preferably including a variety of root vegetables, grain or legume from list below. Avoid dairy heavy soups.
Root Vegetables and Winter Squash: Butternut Squash, Spaghetti Squash, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Chinese Yam, Acorn Squash
Lentils and Legumes: Adzuki Beans, Lentil, Garbanzo Beans, Mung Beans,  Black Beans
Whole Grains: Pearled barley (Job's Tears), Lotus Seed, Rice, Millet, Buckwheat, Quinoa, Farro, Amaranth
Nuts & Seeds: Lotus Seed, Pumpkin Seed, Hemp Seed, Chia Seed
Spices: Ginger, Cardamom, Galangal, Garlic, Clove, Turmeric, Fennel, Coriander, Curry
Meats: If you are an omnivore, consider including more chicken, beef or lamb to you diet. Energetically, these meats have a warm and nourishing effect.

If you find yourself experiencing problems with digestion, abdominal bloating, loose stools, fatigue, and want to get extra support now, make an appointment with Luna Acupuncture & Apothecary for further dietary and herbal recommendations as well as a complete assessment to choose the best therapy for you.
Cheers To Your Health!
Luna Acupuncture and Apothecary

Up Next!  Look out for our next blog entry:
Autumn :: Eating Seasonally with the Wisdom of Chinese Medicine

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