November 2009

A little belated with this article for the Good Tern Coop newsletter…

Welcoming Fall from an Oriental Dietary Perspective

Looking ahead from August, with the days shortening noticeably and the nights growing chilly, I relish the thought of meals with winter squash, sweet carrots, and beets. I get such a great satisfaction in raising some food and being able to get so many excellent locally grown crops. I enjoy storing these and other roots for the winter.

    At this moment, we span two seasons in the Oriental tradition: our fifth season, Late summer and Fall itself. The yellow color associated with Late Summer, which corresponds to the Earth element or phase, is evident not only in the Goldenrod and Black-Eyed Susans seen so commonly now, but in the fruits of our gardens: squashes, carrots, and some beans as well. Provided they are cooked sufficiently, these naturally sweet foods are all very nourishing to our digestion. The stomach and spleen/pancreas are the organs connected to the Earth element or phase. This is the time of year to bolster your system with lots of these readily available veggies. Sweet potatoes are another fabulous food for the digestion.

    By the time this is in print, we may well be full on into Fall, which is associated with the Metal element/phase and the Lungs. The Lungs are sensitive to cold and dry conditions, and easily overheat in reaction to cold. Many “colds” start with signs of cold such as chills and clear runny nose but quickly turn to symptoms indicative of heat such as scratchy, sore throat with thicker, colored mucous. There are many ways to support the lungs through dietary approaches, both preventatively while healthy, or if signs start to appear. Kale and collards are fantastic lung food. Their slightly bitter quality keeps the lungs cool in addition to being great for the bowels. If the inkling of a cold calls, lots of fresh garlic or ginger may well nip it in the bud. Many people swear by very heating concoctions of cayenne, and garlic for a cold. The traditional Chinese approach to throwing off a cold is a miso soup with scallions, a little milder and more palatable than raw garlic. Garlic is also helpful for coughs of all sorts due to its anti-viral and biotic properties. However, it needs to be raw for these benefits. Some like to chop it and spread it on toast. Another method is to take a tiny nibble with a bite of apple. [May I recommend an old time Maine variety such as the Snow, or Fameuse apple for late September?]

   Each of the seasons has an emotional quality associated with it. For obvious reasons, Fall is about grief and letting go. It is small wonder that someone grieving a major loss is susceptible to lung infections. As we scurry about readying for winter it’s important to take time to notice what we can let go of besides the warm weather and gardens. Having a bit of time to take in the natural world’s changes can facilitate our own, which makes maintaining good health so much easier! 



With great anticipation I look forward to moving my office to the Center for Health and Healing, 17 Masonic Street, directly behind the courthouse. My space will be somewhat smaller, and cozier, with a waiting room adjacent on the second floor. I plan to continue drop-in community style treatments Mondays from 5-6 PM and Thursdays 11-noon. I will be in the good company of two homeopaths, a child therapist, and several bodyworkers of differing modalities.  I plan on offering a Taoist style 5 Element sounds qigong  at the center in January, tentatively on Tuesdays, from 5-6 starting January 12th. Hope to see you soon. Stay tuned for dates on the center’s December holiday party.