Fall

by Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM

Fall, Johanna Utter, L.Ac., FABORM in Davis, CA

Most people love fall. The air starts to become cooler and crisp, wonderful scents start to fill the air, leaves start to fall off the trees, and it’s time to pull out sweaters again!

In Chinese medicine, fall is associated with the Metal element, the color white, the Lungs and Large Intestines, and the emotions grief and sorrow. It is a time of endings (harvests, leaves) and a time of anticipated beginnings (seeds, school starting.) During the fall, the Qi (vital energy) of the environment begins to contract as we have fewer hours of daylight and warmth.  

After the abundance of summer, fall is a time to prune, pare down, and cut back on our energy expenditures.

A couple of the qualities of the Metal element are refinement and discernment. At this time of year, it is beneficial to begin to slow down and be more reflective; to sift through and release what is no longer needed, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  

This is a particularly good time of year to get an acupuncture “tune-up” to keep your immune system strong. People are often more vulnerable to colds and flus due to temperature changes at this time of year. Begin dressing in layers to accommodate changes in weather and avoid getting sick, and wear a scarf to keep the neck from being too exposed to the cold. 

Fall is the time to begin moving our energy inward. This is not a time to engage in forms of exercise that expend a lot of energy, but rather to engage in forms that are enjoyable and leave you feeling more grounded and energized.

Classic Chinese medical texts from over 2000 years ago advise going to bed at sunset (early) to stay away from chilliness and to rise at dawn to appreciate the crisp air of autumn.

It is especially helpful to eat foods in the Fall that are moistening, astringent, and warming. This is the perfect time to pull out the crock pot and begin eating warm, nourishing soups and stews.

Foods to eat in the fall:
Pears
Nuts
Seeds
Root vegetables
Cooked foods
Soups
Stews
Beets
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Kale
Winter Squash
Pumpkin
Turnips
Apples
Pomegranates
Eggs
Carrots
Sweet potatoes
Bok Choy
Broccoli
Barley
Wild Rice
Turkey
Garlic
Onions
Persimmons

Foods to avoid:
Raw, uncooked, frozen, or fried foods