October 22, 2012

Welcoming Fall in the Healthiest Way

If you have started to decline invitations to do wonderful things with wonderful people this fall, don't worry, you are not the only one, and the reason is simple.

Fall is the time for harvest. For us urbanites who don't have actual crops to harvest, it's a time when we begin to let go of the flowery stuff of summer and look at what's important in preparation for the cold months ahead.

As we simplify our lives, we can take this opportunity to de-clutter our calendars and our budgets in addition to our living and work spaces. Rather than taking on new projects now, we can focus on work that's already in progress while getting rid of what's not essential.

The 5 Elements of Fall

This paring down and filtering of things to what's most valuable is exemplified by the metal element which rules the fall season.

People who have a healthy balance of metal are able to hold on to the important things as well as grieve losses and move on when it is time to let go. 

The lungs and large intestine are the organs associated with metal, and they have to step up to the plate at this time of year.

  • The lungs capture oxygen and release carbon dioxide, while also filtering out viruses and bacteria. In Chinese medicine, the respiratory system constitutes the front line of our immunity.
  • The large intestine absorbs water and lets go of waste and toxins.

People who are out of balance in the metal department can be seen as either anal-retentive (organized and detailed oriented to a fault) or disorganized, having trouble letting go of the less important things that could be slowing them down.

Because of this association with filtering and moisture, metal imbalances can manifest in the body as respiratory, skin and digestive issues. These can include allergies, constipation, loose stool and dry skin. 

Fall's Foods

Fall is the time to prevent the pitfalls of respiratory allergies, asthma attacks, colds and flu by eating simple, easy to digest foods. Warm, cooked foods are generally easier to digest than their cold, raw counterparts.

Seasonal foods like sweet potatoes, potatoes, beets, turnips, squash, carrots, pears, apples, rice and oats are a great place to start. While overindulging in any food can be dangerous, fall is the time to appreciate a little spice. Garlic, ginger and onions boost our immune systems, warm us up, and make our lungs happy. And of course lets not miss out on some of the last leafy greens of the season as they’re being harvested.


Click here to get healthy food recipes for this fall season!

New York City has locally grown farmers markets open every day in all 5 boroughs. There are over 50 local markets available to you that not only offer great fresh seasonal foods, but also offer recycling options, and hold compost drop offs too! You can click here for a list of markets and locations. While the season is coming to a close, you can always set your intentions for next year. 

Take Stock

With so many plants, animals and insects dying at this time of year, it is no wonder that the lungs are associated with the emotion, grief. Fall is a time to be still and reflect on the things you've let go of this year. Turning inward now can help you ward off some of the depression or melancholy that so many of us face in the coldest days of winter. Many find a sense of peace in talking to a friend, writing, or remembering a loved one who has passed at this time.

Deep breathing exercises are a great way to strengthen your lungs so that you can process the transitions that are happening all around us and keep it moving. So start to tone down those high impact exercises of summer that are meant to develop our bodies, and begin to focus more on cultivating your core muscles with gentle yoga, pilates, qi gong or tai qi.

Falls Tips

  1. Get organized–tidy up your calendar, expenses, home and office
  2. Finish up what you started instead of starting new projects
  3. Eat those nutritious seasonal veggies while you still can
  4. Start scaling back your exercise routine and focus on core building activities
  5. Carve out some quiet time to reflect

Stay tuned as we continue into the winter, which is all about storage and stillness. We'll be blogging about it with more helpful hints for the seasons. We’ll also be talking about how to prevent asthma attacks, allergies and the flu.

Looking for more?  

Did you find this post helpful?  Check out this video on letting go in fall and Like us on Facebook.

Don't be shy, leave a comment below or let us know what issues you notice in the cold months.

 


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