19 November 2008
In Chinese medicine, the body is seen as a microcosm of the natural world, waxing and waning with the movements of the seasons. The Chinese dietary tradition focuses on eating foods that harmonize with the season one is in.
Autumn, for example, is a good time for loading up on warmer, heavier foods in preparation for the winter.
Beneficial warming foods include whole grains, cooked squashes and other root vegetables, nuts and seeds, and perhaps small amounts of lean meat.
When it's cool out, we need to add more fuel to the furnace.In winter, the focus is on storing up energy, rest and meditation. Strengthening, warming foods like soups and congees (porridge) are eaten, along with immune-enhancing Chinese herbs like astragalus (pron. a-strà-ga-lus).
In the spring, the cycle begins anew. Warming and building foods are replaced by cleansing and revitalizing foods like leafy greens and sprouts to help harmonize the body with this season of rejuvenation and growth. As summer begins, the diet might consist of melons and citrus fruits, leafy greens and cool liquids.