Eating in Tune with the Seasons: Autumn

Autumn is such a great time of the year. Although winter is around the corner, right now it's harvest time.

That means it's time to enjoy nature's bounty at its best. Apples, grapes, pears, squash, nuts, and grains are all ripe for the picking. What a great time touse food to re-establish inner harmony with the seasons. Luckily, we are provided with the right tools at the right time to achieve this harmony. Ultimately, it's best to eat intuitively, but many of us are out of sync and require some guidance to proceed. That's where the wisdom of Traditional Oriental Medicine comes in.  In Traditional Oriental Medicine, it is believed that in autumn, the Lungs and Large Intestine are especially susceptible to disease. Autumn is also associated with pathogenic dryness. Dryness can manifest as a sore throat, sensitive nasal cavities, a dry cough, constipation, or as a skin rashes. Though being afflicted with dryness may at odds with the weather here in wet and rainy Oregon, it is something that afflicts many people during this season (especially those who smoke).  Luckily nature provides us with the best medicine for treating these sorts of disorders.  Remember the saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." With respect to pathogenic dryness this clever marketing slogan proves true. Some of the best medicines for combating these sorts of diseases are apples and pears. They are said to moisten and cool the lungs, relieve thirst, and cleanse the digestive tract. When eaten without the skin they relieve constipation, with the skin they have an overall regulatory effect on the bowels. Another precious jewel offered in this season is the winter squash. Squash are wonderfully delicious and nutritious. They are warming to the body, very moistening tothe Lungs and Large Intestine, and are said to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the digestive system. Squash and Pumpkins seeds are also said to expel parasites. 

Squash can be prepared in a variety of ways. The following is simple and delicious.  Autumn Bisque• 2 lbs of your favorite winter squash• 1.5‐2 cups of water or vegetable stock• 2 tsp of light miso paste• 1 tsp of grated ginger• Cut the squash into chunks and steam or boil until soft.• Mash with a potato masher or food processor.• Add water or stock, miso paste, and ginger.• Heat and stir. Adjust water to get a creamy consistency.• Garnish with parsley, green onions, sunflower seeds, or your choice.• Eat and enjoy.