Eat With The Seasons

We’ve been blogging recently about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and its theories about Blood and its relation to our health. We’ve discussed how blood is produced, how it affects our body, and what organs work in concert with different aspects of blood and Qi. An aspect of TCM that is always relevant no matter what the subject is nutrition. What we eat directly affects our bodies — how they produce blood, build up immunity, and feel over all.

What we put in our bodies is very important. Some guidelines to a good diet are fairly simple. Avoid sugar. Stay away from fast food and overly processed foods. The more natural the food, the better it is for you. Another way to help you decide what food choices are best is to eat with the seasons. What this means is eating foods that are in season; things that grow naturally during that time of the year in the part of the region/country that you are currently living in. Different parts of the world and even in different parts of the United States these options will vary, but there are some general guidelines to this way of eating and living.

  • Spring brings new growth and greens. You can represent this with tender, leafy vegetables including Asparagus, Swiss chard, spinach, Romaine lettuce, fresh parsley, and basil.
  • The heat of summer can be balanced with with light, cooling foods. These foods include fruits like strawberries, apple, pear, and plum; vegetables like summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and corn; and spices and seasonings like peppermint and cilantro.
  • As autumn cools down, warm things up with the harvest. Foods that fit into this category are carrot, sweet potato, butter nut and acorn squash, pumpkin, onions, and garlic. Also emphasize the more warming spices and seasonings including ginger, peppercorns, and mustard seeds.
  • With winter’s cold, it’s time to turn even more exclusively toward warming foods. Foods that take longer to grow are generally more warming than foods that grow quickly. All of the animal foods fall into the warming category (e.g., fish, chicken, beef, lamb, and venison). So do most of the root vegetables, including carrot, potato, onions and garlic. Eggs also fit in here, as do corn, and nuts.

-Adapted from Worlds Healthiest Foods

Another good resource for seasonal eating is the book by Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  She chronicles a year where she and her family grow and eat all their food in season. An interesting read.  Follow the seasons and you will be naturally led down the right path to right nutrition — a cornerstone in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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