Traditional Chinese Medicine concepts of food and diet can help play a positive role in keeping you healthier this Fall and Winter season.
This time of year is a time when a person’s energy (“Qi”) can be somewhat unstable. Now is the time to strengthen your Qi as your body prepares for winter. Our diet, and how we eat, plays a huge role in our health.
During this Fall/Winter time of year we experience an abundance of holidays, most of which have many traditions involving family get-togethers and dinners, office parties, social get-togethers, etc. Holidays and festivities always seem to end up involving some sort of eating, with lots of food, it seems.
Many of our holiday traditions involve a lot of sweets – cookies, pies, cakes, candies, and other sweet treats. All of this means that to help keep ourselves as healthy as possible we need to really focus on what we eat and be sure we include a lot of seasonal, healthy foods — and not fall into a diet trap of letting all these sweets over-ride our diets.
Here are some tips for eating as healthy as possible during the Fall and Winter months — and trying to balance out all the sweet treats that are sure to tempt us all.
‘Warming’ foods are best for the Fall and Winter season
- Eat warm foods like bone broth, stews, soups, and hot gluten-free cereals
- Eat beans, such as lentils, kidney beans, adzuki beans – if prepared from dry be sure they are well soaked
- Use herbs and spices that are good for the lungs such as: chives, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, caraway seeds, cardamom, dill, fennel, leek, oregano, nutmeg, rosemary, thyme, and turmeric
Best healthy fruits and vegetables for Fall and Winter
- Eat plenty of seasonal vegetables, especially vegetables that have been steamed, or are in soups
- Stimulate the lungs by eating a lot of pungent vegtables, such as horseradish, pepper, onions, garlic, watercress, cabbage,
turnip and ginger
- Protect the spleen Qi by eating fermented vegetables which are easier to digest
- Fruits that are low in sugar are best for the Fall and Winter season, such as Granny Smith apples, lemons, limes and grapefruit
Eat foods that lubricate the body, combat dryness, and moisten lungs
- Be sure any oils used are healthy oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, organic ghee, or sesame oil
- Eat seasonal foods that are considered ‘moistening’ such as squash, apples, seaweed, pears, pumpkin, grapefruit, and lemon
- Drink herbal teas such as licorice root, burdock, comfrey and ginger
Avoid foods that cause ‘dampness’ which creates fluid and mucus congestion
- Eat different foods than you may have eaten in the summertime, such as beans, seeds, gluten-free grains, proteins, meats, fish, dairy and nuts. But be careful not too much, as these foods can cause ‘dampness’
- Avoid foods that build ‘dampness’, such as noodles, flours, sugar, processed, gmo foods, potatoes, bread, bananas, cake, or cookies
- Try to avoiding products that have wheat as wheat can cause ‘dampness’ to build up
- Avoid sugars, fruit juices, processed foods and refined flours, which have been shown to cause premature aging and ‘dampness’
- Avoid foods that cause ‘dampness’ such as cold foods or drinks, dairy, and fried foods
- Make your own salad dressings to avoid store-bought salad dressings that are made with gmo oils and sugars
Money-saving healthy Fall foods
- Avoid dairy when possible and substitute with homemade nut milks that are easy to make in any blender
- Soups, bone broths, stews, and beans are nutrient dense and economical – and can be easy to prepare in a crock-pot
- Homemade coconut butter can save money compared to store-bought brands
- Sprouted grain hot cereals are economical and then served with homemade nut milks
Seasonal acupuncture treatments help keep the immune system healthy
In addition to paying special attention to the foods we eat and trying to be sure that the foods we are mostly eating are the best for the season — and for our health — it is a good idea to get a seasonal acupuncture “tune-up” from your licensed acupuncturist to help strengthen your immune system.
To help keep a person’s immune system strong, even a few acupuncture treatments annually — as the seasons change — can go a long way to help keep a person’s immune system healthy.