(NaturalNews) Seasonal changes are often associated with nagging illnesses. The key to staying healthy through seasonal shifts is to transform your diet, lifestyle choices and routines into a potent seasonal medicine. Autumn is the season for condensing, conserving and concentrating the life force.
To maintain our balance in body, mind and spirit through seasonal changes, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) teaches that we need to harmonize our personal energy field with the larger energy of nature of which we are energetically connected. Seasonal changes in TCM represent shifts between yin and yang energies.
In autumn contracting, yin energy replaces the expansive yang energy of summer. Yin energy moves inward and downward in contrast to extroverted yang energy which moves outward and up.
Each seasonal change requires specific adjustments in our body, mind and spirit, so we can maintain and create abundant health year round.
Suggestions for energetically harmonizing with the autumn season
Consider the Buddhist practice of letting go. Eliminate clutter in your home by discarding what you no longer need. Consider donating or selling your best and most useful unwanted items on Craigslist or eBay.
Start a journal practice. Review the year's previous attitudes, emotional patterns, values and goals.
Create a fire ceremony for letting go. Ritually, write down on little pieces of paper specific issues and/or limitations that you need to resolve but instead have been hanging onto and throw each piece into the fire.
Start a daily deep yogic breathing practice. Slowly breathe in (from the belly) healing energy and slowly breathe out via the nose old emotional baggage and negativity.
Include saunas (for detox) as well as massages with warming qualities like that of unprocessed sesame oil imbued with an earthy, therapeutic grade, aromatherapy oil such as vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli or clary sage.
Remove old energy blockages with acupuncture and/or a restorative yoga practice. Turn inward toward your source or center with a meditation practice.
Chinese medicine classifies food energetically according to taste: sweet, bitter, pungent, astringent, salty and sour; and according to temperature: cold, cool, warm and hot.
Bitter foods move energy to the lower, or yin, part of the body. Astringent foods are contracting and sour, and pungent foods are also balancing during autumn.
Cooked organic root vegetables are an excellent autumn and winter food. Autumn energy is moving inward and downward (yin) toward the earth like the energy in root vegetables.
For example, beets, carrots, rutabagas, parsnips, turnips, potatoes and celeriac are widely available in the fall. Spaghetti squash and braised fennel are tasty choices.
In autumn, eliminate raw, cool and cold foods in favor of cooked, warm and deeply nourishing foods. Instead of ice cream, frozen foods, cooling vegetable or fruit juices and salads, move towards soups, stews and warm beverages.
Seasonal fruits like apples and pears and especially cooked fruits like baked apples with cinnamon are favored for fall.
Add some pungency to food with leeks, onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric and cumin, which stimulate the lungs and helps digestion by not only stimulating the digestive fire but also by eliminating excess wind or gas.
In autumn, it's important to keep the lungs slightly moistened without creating mucous and the bowels moving regularly without constipation. Your diet and lifestyle choices are the key to maintaining your health through the seasons.
There's an old Chinese saying: "When you are sick, don't look for a cure -- instead find your center and you will heal."
About the author: Paul Fassa is dedicated to warning others about the current corruption of food and medicine and guiding others toward a direction for better health with no restrictions on health freedom. You can visit his blog at http://healthmaven.blogspot.com