Eating with the seasons aligns with the Eastern approach to health and wellbeing. It also supports the philosophy of the Slow Food Movement.
Slow foods are nutritious and are grown using social and environmental supportive methods, which promotes the eating of local seasonal foods.
From an Eastern perspective, eating local in-season foods means that we are better matching our health requirements for autumn because we are eating foods that have grown in the same environment as us.
What does the season of autumn offer?
Eastern traditions believe that the seasons have a strong influence on our health and wellbeing. They recognise the change of climate and adjust eating and lifestyle choices accordingly.
Autumn is described as a time for harvesting in preparation for winter. Nature gradually prepares for the coldness and stillness of winter, and we are encouraged to do the same.
Autumn is a time to celebrate your success and acknowledge your achievements.
I relate to the shedding nature of this season too. Just as many trees shed their leaves, we too are encouraged to let go of habits that no longer serve us.
We can then enter winter without unnecessary distractions.
Foods for autumn
The aroma of food is particularly important in autumn and it calls for a greater focus on cooking and the use of astringent and flavoursome foods.
As the weather cools, we require more energy from our food. Slower cooking methods such as baking and casseroles are suggested.
Sour foods e.g. sourdough bread, citrus fruits and fermented vegetables are suggested to assist our body and mind to adjust to the contracting nature of the season.
Bitter and salty flavours in food also assist the drawing of energy (Qi) inwards. This supports our digestion and metabolism, and it keeps us warm!
The autumn environment is considered to be dry, so our food choices would balance any dryness in the body. Eastern medicine considers ‘dry’ conditions in the body as thirst, dry skin and a dry itchy throat.
Foods to counteract dryness during any season include moistening foods—soybean products, dairy foods and the addition of a little salt. Autumn fruits, such as apples and pears, are also recommended.
Local autumn foods
In our autumn garden, we have berries, citrus, pears, apples, quinces, potatoes, tomatoes, a variety of greens and pumpkins. You can check out your local seasonal foods on the Australian seasonal food guide. Food co-operatives often source locally grown food too.
Autumn provides us with an opportunity to celebrate our harvest and gather our energy in preparation for the quietness, coldness and stillness of winter. It is time to introduce warmer more nourishing foods, such as casseroles and mild dhal curries.
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The Eating for You book is a personal guide to mindful eating and living. It is designed as a D.I.Y. guide to changing your eating habits for good.