September is like the second wind you may feel after lagging a bit during a (physical or mental) marathon. Traditionally many people start resolutions in January but I don’t find that very conducive to change. The cold grey days are harsh enough, why put more pressure on yourself?
September is a much better time to bring add some health changes if your lifestyle is slightly lacking. There’s still light in the evenings but the crisper weather makes it easier to add some physical activity than in the sluggish mugginess. It’s also quite a while yet till Christmas so you can concentrate on just getting it into your stride before the hectic festivities. Here are some things I do at the start of every autumn.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) autumn is characterized by dryness, much like the crinkling of fallen red and brown leaves under your feet. The Lung is most susceptible to dryness, characterised by dry, sore throats, nosebleeds and the common cold.
This is the time to for moistening foods; plenty of salads (not too cold, remember the Spleen!) and vegetables. Pears, although available year-round nowadays, is in season now and are wonderfully moistening. There’s a variety of pear called li (available in Chinese supermarkets) which are very crunchy. Some people remark how they have less flavour and more water than the normal “green” pears but I love how refreshing they feel around this time of year.
Have your fill of tomatoes before the winter, and include tofu, pine nuts, peanuts and pork. The picture above has pan-fried lemon sole on a bed of stir-fried greens, cabbage and mushrooms with steamed asparagus. Tomatoes were quickly tossed in the pan to warm them up but not over-cooked and all this was served with a nice juicy beetroot salad (which I have prepared and sitting on the counter while the rest of dinner is being made so that it’s not fridge cold). A dollop of Greek yogurt can be added if you want.
Photo credit: K Leoungk
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