4 Ways to Change Your Diet for Autumn
Every year around this time I find myself asking the same question – where did the summer go?! With the blink of an eye, the days begin to get shorter and the trees transition to a variety of beautiful fall colours. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the season transitions from yang to yin, and the expansive growth that accompanies spring and summer moves to a more inward and cooler energy for fall and winter. What we eat during each season is important in TCM to help our body adapt to the changes and best use our energy. Our spleen and stomach organs, which similarly to the western medicine organs, are responsible for the digestion and distribution of our food and nutrients. These organs help extract qi, or energy, from what we eat and is used by the body for immunity, vitality and warmth – which we can all agree are much needed this time of year! During autumn, you may find you crave the heartier flavors and foods that are beneficial to the body during this season. Our appetite is even stimulated by the warm fragrances of baked and sautéed foods.
Here are some tips to help you transition your diet this autumn!
1. Swap salads for soups and stews
As the weather cools off, it is a good idea to eat less cooling foods, such as salads and raw foods. These foods not only cool us off, but also take more energy to break down. To help our TCM spleen and stomach out, during the fall our foods should be cooked at a lower heat for a longer period of time. This helps nourish our bodies and support our immune system. Soups and stews are perfect for this. They are warming, easier to digest, and can incorporate many foods that are in season (see below).
2. Minimize raw foods, such as smoothies
I know, I know, we all love a good nutrient packed smoothie in the morning. But as mentioned above, raw foods should be limited as we transition to the fall and winter. Try switching your smoothie for oatmeal topped with baked fruit, nuts and seeds. It will be warming, filling and taste like pie for breakfast! If you just can’t drop the smoothie, try adding warming herbs such as cinnamon and ginger to balance the cooling nature of the raw drink.
3. Buy produce that is in season
Fall fruits and vegetables are colourful, packed with nutrients, and warming by nature. They tend to also require longer cooking times- bonus! Fruits and vegetables that are in season include some of my favourites: pumpkins, parsnips, yams, winter squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, apples, pears, figs and cranberries.
4. Sip on some tea
As the temperature outside cools down, there is nothing better than warming from the inside. Drinking warm teas, such as chai tea or ginger tea, can help our bodies’ transition to the cooler months and smell delicious. Herbal teas can also count towards your daily intake of water! (Sorry chai lovers!).
Let us know your favourite ways to warm up during the fall!