We are entering a season of abundance: the fields and trees are full of nourishment, ripe for the picking.And the fields and trees are indeed where we should be seeking our nourishment.
Eating has become a complex exercise in our society. We are constantly bombarded by health claims and organizations telling us to “Eat this! Not that!” Contradictory information is everywhere.
Truly it is not so complex. When we seek nourishment from the fields and the trees, we are getting exactly what we need: locally grown whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans, with perhaps an occasional bit of meat from a grass-fed animal. Add in some fish from the right source and we will have a menu of well-rounded food choices.
We need only eat mindfully in order to thrive.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (and in most healing practices the world over), seasonal eating is the key to good health. This time of year we are meant to be eating things that are slightly heavier than summer fare, but not yet as dense as winter foods. These foods, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM for short) are thought to strengthen the stomach, spleen and pancreas. Such foods may include yellow or orange foods such as squash and carrots.
Food preparation is considered just as important as food choice in TCM and other healing traditions. Warm, cooked foods are much easier to digest than cold, raw foods. Ice water is particularly challenging for the body. Raw food proponents have created their own means of “cooking” food without heat (using methods such as dehydration) in order to make it more digestible.
Nourishment goes beyond the physical, of course. The fields and trees can offer us much in the way of emotional and spiritual sustenance as well. It is important to get outside during this lovely early autumn season and take advantage of the the multi-sensory adventure that awaits us. A trip to the local farmers’ market or apple orchard is one way of “feeding” ourselves from many different angles.
There is no better time than the present to begin eating mindfully. Nourishment is–literally–within our grasp.