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Eating With the Seasons

In Chinese medical theory it is suggested to eat with the seasons. Of course, the medicine came about before there was refrigeration, but our bodies are aligned with and affected by the seasons.

We are now officially in Summer. It’s a bountiful time in the northern hemisphere. Vegetables, fresh herbs and fruit are ripening. And for many it’s an okay time to eat salads (of course, if you’re still getting bloated, gassy or seeing undigested food, your body is telling you it does not want raw food). It’s the perfect time to cook with fresh herbs, and eat fruit for a snack or dessert.

Most produce that ripens in the summertime are considered cooling foods. Watermelon, strawberry, lemon, orange, banana, persimmons, lettuce, mushrooms, celery, asparagus, spinach, cucumber, radish, and summer squash are all cooling, summertime produce.

We each have our own physiology, along with our “strengths” and “weaknesses” when it comes to what to feed our bodies.

As a generalization, whole foods are necessary for optimal nutrition. What is a whole food? One that is close to 100% natural form. Fruits and vegetables are an easy whole food to identify. Whole grains? Whole grains are grains that haven’t had the outer layer stripped off (brown rice vs. white rice, for example).

Proteins? Pieces from a roasted chicken, cuts of beef (or whatever protein you’re called to) are considered a whole food. What's processed? Cold cuts, sausage, bacon (anything that’s more than just the protein.)

Once a food is processed, it strips away a lot of the nutrients. When it’s put in a box/can/jar/package, it needs to have some sort of “preservative” which denatures it from its nutritious state.

This doesn’t mean you have to be overly concerned about your food choices. Getting tense about it also stagnates Qi flow, not allowing the digestive system to work its magic.

The general rule of thumb: if you’re already feeling healthy follow the 80/20 rule. 80% whole, organic foods that your body loves and 20% “cheat” foods.

If you’re trying to heal something, follow the 90/10 rule, and if you’re really suffering, try 100% whole foods for one to three months.

If you’re feeling tense about giving up a particular food or beverage for a while, invite yourself to look at the emotional attachment to it. Why is that food/drink more important than your health? How is keeping that as a top priority serving you? These are questions that invite you to look within. Attachments to food/beverages are ways our mind likes to keep control of something that feels out of control in the emotional realm of our wellness. There’s nothing “wrong” here, just another piece of the puzzle we’re all working on to build and maintain vibrant health.

Your body will always tell you what foods and beverages it wants. Start to listen to it. How do you feel after a meal? If you feel energized, identify what foods are in it. These are foods your body likes. Do you feel bloated, achy or tired? What foods are in it? These are foods your body does not like. Some foods and beverages will always irritate your digestive system; others may just identify that your body is out of balance and doesn’t like them right now.

There was a saying when I was growing up: You Are What You Eat. Enjoy the bounties of summer with fresh produce and treat yourself to feeling joyful and vibrant.

From July 6, 2021

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