“In the three months of autumn all things in nature reach their full maturity….This is the changing or pivoting point when the yang, or active phase turns into its opposite, the yin or passive phase. One should retire with the sunset and arise with the dawn. It is therefore important to remain calm and peaceful, refraining from depression to make the transition to winter smoothly….One must keep the lung energy full, clean, and quiet….If the natural order is violated, damage will occur to the lungs, resulting in diarrhea with undigested food in winter. This compromises the body’s ability to store in winter.” - Nei Jing
Nature is consolidating, harvesting and preparing for the storage of winter. This is when we gather with community and friends enjoy meals that have been freshly harvested together. Cook food that smells good, stimulating the Metal element. This is a time for stews and soups with your freshly harvested plants and meats.
Grains (always fermented)- if you eat grains, this is a time for baking (sourdough bread) and soaking grains in the warmth of your kitchen. Occasionally start your day with a fermented congee with pears and honey to tonify the Earth and moisten dryness. Millet, barley and rice (or any other non GMO or heirloom in season grain) are good grains to consider including.
Veggies- Enjoy all veggies that are in season. Root vegetables, greens, and cruciferous veggies are especially emphasized. Including the sour flavor, which is astringent, helps to draw the energy inward in preparation for winter. Sour flavors include sauerkraut, olives, pickles, leeks, apple cider vinegar, sour cream, kefir, yoghurt (raw milk, homemade) etc. Making pickled foods yourself insures it contains the digestive aiding bacteria and is easy to do.
Meat- Buy a share of meat from a farm that raises grass fed beef, pastured poultry and pork. Support your farmers, not only is it beneficial for ensuring quality food its healthier (look into the benefits of grass fed vs factory farm meat, watch Food Inc. the documentary if you haven’t). Now that it is getting chilly, pull out the crock pot. You can throw a cheap cut of grass fed meat in the crock pot (helping you save money on the expensive grass fed meats) and while you are at work it will transform into a delicious dinner. Simple, fills the house with wonderful smells, cheap, and filling. I recommend bone broth soups during this time (see bone broth article) both as a digestive aid and as a warming hearty tonic.
Body- Do some yoga, deep breathing and meditation. This is the time of the year that is most conducive to meditation and spiritual growth.
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Happiness can be found, even in the darkness of times, if one remembers to turn on the light. - Albus Dumbledore