An important aspect of macrobiotic (aka superhero) practice is understanding how to align ourselves with our environment to produce great health and vitality. The model that is used in macrobiotics to understand our connection to nature is called the Five Transformations. Early August is when we start to make subtle adjustments in our diet to prepare for the change in the weather.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Five Transformations, the different seasons relate to different organs as well as emotions that correspond to those organs. We are currently in the “Metal” element, which relates to the lungs and large intestine (colon). It is interesting how in the Fall more people experience colds, upper respiratory issues and digestive imbalances. These paired organs are “cleaning out” so to speak.
The emotions related to these organs when imbalanced are melancholy, despair, grief and in extreme circumstances, depression. When these paired organs are strong and healthy we experience a more positive, upbeat disposition and the feeling of being able to complete things. We feel a sense of hope and positiveness about life!
As the weather gets a little cooler it is time to reduce cooling foods to align with the changing environment. This means less fruit and juice, less spritzers, reducing raw salads and fun treats like non-dairy ice creams due to their cooling nature. While temperatures vary according to location in the country, for the most part reducing colder foods helps a great deal.
So what should we emphasize for the Fall season?
- More root vegetables like daikon, carrot, burdock and lotus root are a great start.
- Cooking styles like nishime (can be found in Alicia’s book The Kind Diet) and kinpira (can be found in Alicia’s book The Kind Mama) are very strengthening for these paired organs. Nishime is a way of slow cooking root and round vegetables by steaming and kinpira is a cooking method where we cut matchsticks of roots and rounds and sauté and then simmer in a skillet.
- To align with the metal element, brown rice with pungent flavors is ideal. Mustard, ginger, horseradish, and grated daikon are great for this. They help support the lungs and colon!
- Longer cooking times, steaming and some pressure-cooking will support the lungs and colon as well!
By making these adjustments we have an easier transition from one season to the next and stay healthy and strong. Don’t forget the importance of daily walks outside, especially by trees in nature. Deep breathing, singing, laughing and yoga are all wonderful for the lungs and colon! The Fall is also a great time to do a cleaning out of your home or apartment, parting ways with things that you do not need. De-cluttering is an amazing cleanse!
In great health,
Warren Kramer is a senior macrobiotic counselor, lecturer, and cooking teaching. Warren will be counseling in Sherman Oaks and Westchester, LA. December 6-10, 2017, event information will be posted shortly. You can contact Warren for more information or to schedule a health consultation while he is in town or via skype: firstname.lastname@example.org / 617-803-6957.
Photo Credit: health line