Fall is here! That means the leaves are falling, the rain is upon us, and all things pumpkin.
The changing of the season brings new cycles in weather and in our health.
In Chinese Medicine, fall is the season of the element metal, which is associated with the lungs and large intestine. Last week on the blog, I discussed Herbs for Lung Health. Be sure to check that out if you missed it.
“The lungs and the large intestine are both organs that must stay clean for their best function, and often have difficulty when they are contaminated by environmental pollutants of cities, by smoking habits, and by the dietary excesses common to the American culture”, Elson Haas in his book, Staying Health With the Seasons (one of my favorite books—available used at Powell’s).
Here in Portland, our lungs are already under stress from smoke exposure from the recent forest fires. And, most of us haven’t been eating our best since the beginning of COVID-19.
Now is the perfect time to pay attention to what we’re breathing and what we’re eating, and how we’re caring for our lungs and large intestine.
For the Lungs:
~Read the blog from last week and consider incorporating an herbal infusion into your daily life.
~Deep breathing, like 4:7:8 Breathing, a simple breathing technique where you inhale for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts, and breathe out for 8 counts, then repeat 4 times. Read here to learn more.
~Get fresh air (now that we can). How much fresh air are you getting every week? Try to get outside at least 30 minutes every day.
For the Large Intestine:
~Make sure you’re having a bowel movement at least daily. If you’re not, first check in with your water intake. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of constipation. Next, what about fiber? The Rainbow Diet is an easy way to add more fiber in the form of colorful fruits and vegetables.
~Pay attention to what Mr. Haas calls, “congesting foods”, like meats, dairy, refined foods, and foods high in sugar. These foods can slow movement in the large intestine and keep you from detoxifying properly.
~Keep your microbiome (good bacteria balance) happy. Eat some foods that contain good bacteria like kombucha and sauerkraut.
As far as seasonal eating, it’s pretty obvious, eat what’s in season.
It’s the harvest, so tomatoes, peppers, squashes, and fresh herbs abound. If you can shop the farmer’s market, it will be obvious what’s fresh and available. I love to throw everything together into soups and stews.
What’s your body wanting right now? Can you slow down and listen?
The last piece of moving into fall has to do with living our best way of way of living. It’s about allowing yourself to do what feels best to you and be the person you most want to be. I’m going to go into more detail in my Sacred Sundays newsletter this week. This newsletter focuses on the mind-body aspects of health and healing. If you’re not signed up, you can do that here.
Fall is the time when the dark returns and we get to start turning more inward. Take a moment to ask what you need at this time.
Let your breath and your food move through you with ease and use these tips if any stagnation occurs.
Questions, comments? I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below and share this blog with your friends.