Fall is the season to build our immunity, and strengthen the organs of Lung and Large Intestine. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the two organs are considered to be of the metal element and the season of metal is autumn.
It is also the season where many viruses start to make the rounds. Our bodies immunity will be much stronger if we build it up with a diet supporting these organs at this transition time of year. Also avoiding or reducing foods that cool us may also prove helpful. And all seasons I promote a while foods diet and minimize processed or deep fried or overly sweet foods.
To break that down we’ll talk about what foods strengthen the lung and thereby our resistance to respiratory viruses first.
Our Lungs are so necessary to our overall energy – if we don’t breath well or deeply on a regular basis we feel sluggish and lethargic.
One of my favourite foods to build energy is Sweet potato or yam. It’s very high in nutrients- , carotenoids, Vitamin A, specifically. It’s temperature is neutral – meaning great for all, and can be made more warming on a cool winter day with the addition of warming spices. Or still great for those suffering from hot flashes by leaving those warming spices out and opting for others. It aids the organs of Lung , kidney and spleen – all helpful organs to battle any phlegm in the body. It soothes coughs, diarrhea , frequent urination, or excess discharges of mucus. It has no contra indications.
Todays Yam soup recipe is African recipe where yams and peanuts are staples.
1 large yam chop in cubes and boil in 4 cups of water
1 onion diced
1 or 2 stalks of celery or 1 small apple diced in small pieces
Salt and pepper
1 tsp or less of coriander
1 tsp or less of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of ginger grated or powdered
4 tbsp peanut butter
Simmer vegetables until soft , adding spices and peanut butter for last 5 minutes. Puree with stick blender or in blender. Serve and garnish with parsley if desired. Parsley also is an aid to draining dampness from body so helpful for colds or phlegm build ups.
This soup will build energy and strength of lungs at the same time as aiding in fight against any build up of phlegm or mucus that may be affecting the lung. Great for both prevention and treatment of lung challenging colds or coughs.
Foods to avoid when feeling weak in energy or lung area are: raw foods ( salads) dairy and heavier grains.
Another of lungs challenges is heat – as in fevers or even hot air inhaled repeatedly ( eg smoking) .
I’ve included a Borsch in our sampling today for that reason and it is so full of colourful veggies brimming with anti oxidants to cleanse and nourish your body.
I have used a bone broth base which is filled with collagen and Vitamins K as these bones are from grass fed happy animals.
To 4 cups of bone broth, add 2 cups each grated beets, cabbage, and carrots. Beets build blood , they are moistening and again good for all with no contra indications. Carrots feed the lung and spleen , clears toxins and infections, drains dampness ( phlegm) , reduces coughing, and is even recommended for tonsillitis. Carrots are known as vegetable ginseng.
Cabbage is helpful for the common cold both in preventing and treating , and is also recommended for arthritis, constipation , indigestion and varicose veins. To these powerhouse veggies I usually add salt and pepper to taste and a pinch or two of dill for it’s warming tendency and ability to expel colds and stimulate appetite. My Ukrainian grandma would also add a dollop of sour cream for creamy texture.
Foods to avoid when experiencing lung heat &/or fever are: warming foods like : coffee, alcohol, onions, garlic , cinnamon , ginger, fennel, chicken or lamb.
Ok we’ve covered building immunity, feeding coughs & fevers, reducing phlegm.
Now to address another lung ailment – the dry cough/sore throat with moistening foods. This type of cough is sometimes the lingering after a long cold, or the tickle at the start of a virus.
Foods that aid these symptoms include : seaweeds, spirilina, orange, peach, pear, apple, tomatoes, banana, green beans, tofu, honey, eggs, clams, pork , slippery elm and marshmallow root.
Foods to avoid if experiencing this are: coffee, grapefruit, leek, onion, & chill pepper. i
Todays dessert is a peach /pear compote with additions of honey, and slippery elm. Simmer all together until soft and blend if smooth consitency desired.
Old Chinese saying “if you eat peaches you will look like a peach!”
Pears help all types of dryness – skin, lung, throat, cracked lips, dry mucus membranes, constipation.
I hope you can incorporate this season information to build yourselves and your families up in the coming weeks.
Thanks for your contributions to food bank. If any of you would like specific dietary consultations from a TCM perspective I am happy to offer sessions here at Mtn Hub with a 30 – 60 minute consultation to address your specific needs.