Eat­ing with the sea­sons

Good Health Choices - - Be Nourished -

As the sea­sons ebb and flow they of­fer us an ar­ray of beau­ti­ful fresh pro­duce to keep us in har­mony with the rhythms of na­ture. TCM be­lieves sea­sonal pro­duce con­tains within it the en­ergy prop­er­ties of yin and yang for ab­so­lute bal­ance between the in­ter­nal qi of the body, as well as the ex­ter­nal qi of the en­vi­ron­ment.


“Dur­ing the sum­mer months, we’re at the height of yang time; the en­ergy of the body is flow­ing at its fullest and our bod­ies are try­ing to cool down,” says Dr Cass. “This is where the calm­ing ef­fects of bit­ter foods keep our body cooler, as en­er­get­i­cally they’re con­sid­ered to ben­e­fit the heart en­ergy by cool­ing down flared up emo­tions.

“Se­lect more yin fruits, like pineap­ple and wa­ter­melon, and veg­eta­bles in sea­son to clear heat and hy­drate the body. And while this is the op­ti­mal time to eat more raw foods, if you have di­ges­tive dis­tur­bances steam or boil your veg­eta­bles to help break them down for eas­ier ab­sorp­tion.”

Late Sum­mer:

Tra­di­tion­ally starts around the third week in Fe­bru­ary and lasts around six weeks. “This sea­son tran­si­tions from the yang en­ergy of spring and sum­mer, and moves into the yin en­ergy of au­tumn and win­ter, so it’s vi­tal to nour­ish and nur­ture the body, es­pe­cially the di­ges­tion, in prepa­ra­tion for the cooler months ahead,” ad­vises Dr Cass.

Eat more sweet foods, which are the over-ripe fruits in sea­son, golden to yel­low in colour, like pump­kin, sweet potato, ap­ples and al­monds. “As the weather be­gins to cool, it’s also time to in­cor­po­rate more warmer and cooked foods, through fry­ing, steam­ing and boil­ing,” adds Dr Cass.


Just as the tem­per­a­tures be­gin to cool down, we need to eat more yang pun­gent and spicy flavours. “Th­ese are great to stim­u­late the di­ges­tive fire to get rid of ex­cess heat that’s been lin­ger­ing from sum­mer and to pro­mote warmth through­out the body,” ex­plains Dr Cass. “In turn, pun­gent foods bring about sweat and, as it’s flu sea­son, this helps get rid of in­ter­nal pathogens that are start­ing to creep in,” she adds. Be­gin to stir-fry and oven bake your food.


“This is the peak of yin time when ev­ery­thing is cold, both ex­ter­nally and in­ter­nally, so you want to have very salty yang types of foods to help keep your ex­trem­i­ties warm,” says Dr Cass. “Drink plenty of room tem­per­a­ture wa­ter to main­tain en­ergy lev­els, herbal and black teas and kom­bucha. Slow cook your meals and have plenty of soups, bone broth and stews.”


“As you tran­si­tion back from yin to yang time and out of hi­ber­na­tion, this is when sour flavours are best in prepa­ra­tion for be­com­ing more phys­i­cal in the up­com­ing warmer months. How­ever, don’t overdo it on sour foods be­cause this can also in­jure the liver,” says Dr Cass. Light foods eaten raw or lightly cooked are ben­e­fi­cial. Be­gin the day with hot wa­ter, lemon and mint to detox and re­new your en­ergy.

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