Food Therapy Month Continues: Eating With the Seasons

Just like our seasons, our digestive fire is prone to changes as the weather changes.

Our digestive fire is strongest in the summer, because we derive a lot of energy from sun. It begins to wane in the fall. And, not surprisingly, it’s lowest in wintertime. Then spring rolls around, the world wakes up, and so does our digestive fire.

One of the issues of our culture is that we tend to eat like it’s summer all the time: Sandwiches, ice water, raw veggies. Some people can handle that year-round, but as fall approaches, it’s important to modify how you eat as your fire wanes. You might notice it’s time to make changes if you start to feel tired all the time when you eat raw or cold food. You may tend to start craving comfort food or heavier foods. (Those extra pounds in the winter serve to keep us warm!)

When our digestive fire is strongest, we can eat and tolerate more cold food—fruits, veggies, sandwiches. When it comes to fall, start cooking food more. Fall is also the time of the Lung, and eating apples and pears, which will naturally be in high season, will nourish the Lung. Eat more root vegetables. Start up that crock pot and make some slow-cooked foods. Eating more meat is really helpful in the fall, too, because it both warms and nourishes us.

In the winter, you should eat mostly cooked foods. Think meat and potatoes and casseroles and cooked veggies. Back off on the salads and raw foods. I mean, most people aren’t craving lemonade and watermelon in winter, right? This goes in line with how our body responds to foods seasonally.

Spring will eventually show itself, and you’ll feel like you’re ready to wean off the warm food. You can start to eat lighter foods, but they still need to be cooked. Your digestive fire is just waking up, so it’s not at full strength yet. Broth-based soups, fish, cooked vegetables are all good bets, as are bitter greens such as asparagus, kale and baby greens, which help to detox your body from the heavy foods you’ve been eating all winter.

Then, the cycle heads back around the high summer, where we eat all our fruits, raw vegetables, and summer diets. There’s a season for everything!