How can we align and transform our daily health rituals with the coming of fall? Can we convince ourselves to slow down enough to honor the intelligence of our emotional energetics as summer transitions to autumn and stay healthy all season long and beyond?
Fall is about taking things in and then letting them go to stay emotionally fortified. It’s about reaping what we have sown, gaining clarity, and realizing that there are consequences to our actions.
The energetics of the season cue us to become aware of what is no longer necessary. We leave the past behind, acknowledging what we have learned and create space for newness to flow in. Fall is the quintessential time to root down. In this rooted state, autumn encourages us to become discerning and to reflect what is at our core ethically and how we are connected cosmically.
I ask my clients to consider how their physical wellness mirrors the natural transitioning of the seasons. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fall corresponds to the lung and large intestine — the very organs that breathe life in and eliminate what no longer serves us. The lung rules the skin and therefore plays an intimate connection with the immune system. We call it wei qi or defense qi. As we regulate the surface with the opening and closing of the pores, our self-awareness is perhaps even more vital. When we let down our defenses, the wei qi can become compromised, allowing pathogenic influences in. These pathogens tend to show up as upper respiratory infections and influenza.
Simple, yet powerful gestures like acupuncture, cupping, qigong, tai chi, food therapy, specialized breathing techniques, and plant-phytoceuticals are all seasonally appropriate to keep us aligned as we transition from summer all the way through fall.
Lifestyle Energetics —
A simple way to keep qi moving is to take stock of our lives through organization and activity that mirrors the taking in and letting go process.
Take Inventory —
The beginning of fall is a great time to clean out the closets to gather donations together, delete old files on your computer, and go through stacks of papers in your office and home. When is the last time you cleaned out your kitchen cupboard by cupboard? This is the time to clean out the pantry, and then stock it up for the colder months ahead.
Do Not Disturb —
It’s okay not to get it all done in one day. Create time to do nothing except meditate. Turn the Do Not Disturb mode on on your phones and devices. Get in your garden to harvest what’s been growing all summer long. Meditate on how you will nourish yourself and your family.
FALL FOOD THERAPY
Fall is the time to bring those fall staples like golden turmeric and beetroot lattes into the rotation again. To keep it simple, think warm, pungent and spicy foods and drinks like mulled ciders and warm pear and applesauce. Combine with extras like cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, and a dash of cayenne. These more fragrant spices will optimize digestion, clear up dampness, and help transform icky phlegm that comes with seasonal colds.
Mushrooms also come into season in the fall — just in time to protect your immunity. The “friendly fungus” can be added to soups and chopped into stir-frys or enjoyed with your favorite Four Sigmatic magic mushroom blend!
My personal favorite fall staples that are guaranteed to warm the lungs and keep qi fortified are: garlic, ginger, onions, leeks, sea veggies, sweet potato, radishes, turnips, pumpkins, delicata, summer squash, pears, apricots, bananas, apples, grapefruit, limes, eggs, broth, soups, stews, walnuts, black pepper, chilli, cinnamon, cardamom, sauerkraut, pickles, rice, broccoli, asparagus, cucumbers, and celery.
A FEW LAST FALL TIPS
Essential Oils —
Consider keeping a spray with you at all times to freshen up your environment and your immunity throughout fall. The following essential oils are antibacterial and antimicrobial and have been shown to reduce fall-seasonal illness: lemon, palo santo, lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, and peppermint.
Protect Your Neck —
I say this every year — wear a scarf to stay healthy! I don’t know why people don’t take this one seriously, but if you’ve ever had a cold or the flu arrive suddenly with the wind, then you’ll understand how a scarf can protect you. Conventional medicine will tell you that we can’t get ill from the weather, and, while that may be true, we can get sick because the wind and weather act as a vehicle influencing how well pathogens can travel in.
So remember, stay warm, wrap up, and get sippin’ on some broth to stay upgraded this season!
Christine Dionese, co-founder of flavor ID is an integrative health and food therapy specialist, as well as a wellness, lifestyle, and food journalist. She has dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health by harnessing the power of the epigenetic landscape. Christine lives, works, and plays bicoastally between Southern California and upstate New York with her family.