By. Dr. Shari Phillips, LAc
The most basic foundation of good health and longevity is nutrition. Nutrition is the one thing that the majority of us have full control over and thus can make a conscious decision of what we eat on a meal to meal basis. However, the simplicity of nutrition is often overlooked, as many of us lead a busy lifestyle, which often results in grabbing food on the run. Although many “fast food” institutions now have an improved selection of healthy snacks and offerings than ever before, we still miss the simplicity of what to eat and when.
Eating within the seasons, is a 3000 year old philosophy founded in Chinese Medicine and is a basic rule of thumb to provide proper nutrition. This philosophy is based on eating foods that are nourishing to the body within each particular season, keeping the body’s immune system sharp and able to fight any flu or cold that tries to invade. Additionally, the Chinese have also discovered that each food has an “energetic” temperature as well, which make certain foods more appropriate to eat in a variety of ways to provide optimum health.
For example, when you have a flu or cold and you are lacking in energy, the body needs foods that are easy to digest and supportive to the immune system while the body continues to fight the illness. Do you recall when your Mom or Grandmother suggested a good bowl of chicken soup when you were feeling low? Chicken soup is exactly what the body needs to fight a flu or cold. Chicken itself has a “warm” energetic nature that also helps keep the body warm while trying to fighting the pathogen. Additionally, the broth in the soup supports easy digestion, while the noodles and light vegetables nourish the brain and body with the correct amount of nutrients. Eating in this manner, combined with good rest and adequate fluids, speeds the body’s recover and helps strengthen your immunity.
The concept of eating within the seasons not only ensures that the body gets the nourishment it needs during a particular season, but also provides a “preventative” measure to keep one healthy from season to season.
In Chinese Medicine, each season has an associated organ:(how can a belief that has lasted 10,000+ years be too far off?)
Fall = Lung Winter = Kidneys
Spring = Liver Summer = spleen and stomach
Although the seasons are sometimes “blurred” here in Southern California, and we often enjoy a warm, sunny day, it is very important to continue to eat foods that are warm and nourishing, as February is still a “winter” month. Foods like soups and stews, root vegetables (carrots, yams, onions, potatoes, beets and parsnips, etc) are still the best choice during this season versus choosing foods that have a “cold” energetic nature, such as salads and some fruits. Yogurts, ice cream, cold smoothies, salads and certain fruits, are best reserved for summer, when the days are hot and our bodies naturally desire foods with an energetic cooling nature.
Food is medicine, so choose wisely to ensure optimum health!
Shari Phillips is a highly decorated Acupuncturist who originally practiced in Toronto, Canada. She has post graduate degrees in Cardiology, Nutrition, Orthopedics and Womens health. She practices next to CSI in Westlake, Ca. For more firstname.lastname@example.org