After a summer of expansive foods including sugar, dairy, flour, and alcohol, your body may begin to show signs of strain with lung and sinus congestion, aching limbs, fatigue, insomnia, constipation and/or diarrhea, chronic nasal drip, bloating, gas, and consistent acid reflux. Time to clean out and tune-up the body.
According to the Chinese Five Element system autumn is the season of Metal element, governed by Lung/Large Intestine. This sets up the conditions for flu or head cold, which comes from an internal deepening as your body throws off excess mucus, toxins, and inferior oils. Foods with a sour taste help with this elimination, apple cider vinegar, lemons, limes, grapes, sauerkraut, pickles, and sourdough breads. Dairy can be in the form of goat or sheep’s yogurt, but in moderation and eaten with other foods.
Pungent foods such as spices, ginger, and black pepper support the Metal element. These stimulate the appetite and help with the assimilation of food. Include pungent taste with seasonal fall foods such as apples, grapes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, grapes, kale, pears, persimmons, pumpkins, winter squash, and yams.
Here are a few recipes to help get you started.
Edamame Tempeh Salad
3 small heads broccoli cut into florets
1 8-ounce package tempeh, cut into small cubes
½ cup arame sea vegetable, soaked in water
½ cup frozen corn
2 cups frozen edamame soybeans
Dressing: 3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce * 3 tablespoons sesame seed oil * 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil * 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar * 1 tablespoon Mirin rice wine * 1 teaspoon Ume Plum vinegar.
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the broccoli.
2. Return the water to boil and add the tempeh.
3. Return to boil and add the arame.
4. Return to boil and add the corn,
5. Return to boil and add the Edamame.
6. Return to boil and simmer another 6 minutes.
7. Remove from heat and strain, then run cool water over the ingredients to stop the cooking.
8. Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing and pour over the salad tossing to combine. Set aside to absorb the dressing, tossing another time before serving.
Next: Recipes for Kale Shitake Sweet Potato Soup and Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Kale Shitake Sweet Potato Soup
Yield: 6 servings
3 dried shitake mushrooms, broken into pieces
1 small sweet potato, peeled, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh kale
4 cups water or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon Mellow white miso, per cup
1. In a saucepan combine the water/broth, shitake mushrooms and sweet potato and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, wash and chop the kale into bite size pieces and add to the soup.
4. Cook until tender, another 8 minutes.
5. Dissolve a teaspoon of light miso in a bowl with a small amount of broth.
6. Ladle in the soup and serve with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 jar roasted red peppers, rinsed
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Handful pine nuts, toasted
1. Set up a large, saucepan or stockpot with a steamer basket and one inch of water.
2. Halve the squash, lengthwise, then in half again.
3. Place the four pieces on the steamer basket, cover, bring to a boil and steam until tender, about 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, rinse the roasted red peppers with water and place in a blender with the garlic, oil and sea salt.
5. Puree until smooth.