Eating with the Seasons
Different elements are at work during different times of the year. In the summer, the sun shines more consistently and temperatures rise. Consequently, most of us tend to spend more time outdoors, absorbing more vitamin D, and being more active. In traditional Chinese medicine, summer would be considered a “yang” time of year—hot and expansive.
Consequently, it is in your highest interest to adapt to the season by eating a diet that includes some “yin”—or cooling foods. As it happens, nature provides an abundance of yin/cooling foods during the summer, as it is the time of year that fresh fruit falls from the trees and leafy vegetables spring from the ground—both yin foods.
Although fruit and raw veggies are more indicated in the summer or warmer months, eating too many can weaken digestion. Keep your overall diet balanced, and include these cooling foods in moderation.
During the winter, nature hibernates—the leaves fall from the trees, and we cover up more needing greater warmth and protection. Winter is considered a yin time of year— thus a diet that is more yang helps us adapt. Yang foods—or warming foods—include mostly cooked foods, proteins, healthy fats, and many root vegetables which are also provided by nature during the winter. These foods keep your metabolic fires going, help harmonize with your external environment, and provide the extra calories you might need for warmth. Soups and stews are the natural inclination for many during this time of year, as opposed to the appeal of fruit and salads during the summer.
Listen to your body and let it get in harmony with the rhythms of its environment. It’s acceptable to have a few fruits and raw veggies occasionally in the winter, but for optimal health and wellness follow the trends of nature and eat with the seasons.