Eating with the Season

Eating with the season is eating what is local and to support the energy and element of the season.

What to eat is perhaps one of the most homogenizing forces we know. It’s part of our cultural, historical, regional, and national identity. So often the diet regime we choose is based on getting to a certain weight or on medical diagnosis. Our comfort food is what helped us to feel safe at home physically and emotionally in childhood. Happy memories of certain people. Not-so-happy triggers as well.

My own diet has changed my entire life. Labelled a “picky eater”, I had an interesting relationship with food. I didn’t like eating organ meats, which are now in vogue, and I didn’t like shrimps, which we are now told are pretty dirty. Raised with having to eat regular was tough – I wasn’t always hungry.

One approach I’ve been exploring is eating with the season, as we move through the five elements.

When I relocated back to Canada, I basically ate to keep warm! It’s a lot colder than Singapore where I was living for nearly ten years. The first year back, I had a few morsels of meat. I drank a lot of soups and ate a lot of fish in the Winter (water element).

Buying local is pretty easy since farmers’ markets are abundant and we can join a CSA program. Doing this means my food is fresher and hasn’t been harvested too early, transported long distances, and subjected to not widely known health measures that may involve chemicals.

Or even better is if you can grow some of your own veggies, fruits, and herbs.

What does Eating with the Season mean?

According to TCM, eating with the season helps us be in harmony with our environment. Adapting to environmental changes is an important part of our well-being. The general principle is – “nourishing yang in spring and summer time, and nourishing yin in autumn and winter time.”

The Spring, for example, is the wood element and corresponds with Liver and Gall Bladder. Wood energy is yang – youthful, upward, and active. This can be sprouts and green leafy vegetables. We also want to nourish the Liver and Gall Bladder. This may just be eating lighter, not to burden these organs. Here are some suggestions of foods that nourish and heal the Liver and Gall Bladder.

Suggestions for seasonal eating according to TCM

My general approach, however, is to follow my inner authority. According to Human Design, we are each designed to eat in one of 12 ways. This is how we can ensure we are supporting our cognition and living correctly according to our design.

For me, as a Manifesting Generator, listening to my sacral response is my inner authority. Yours may be listening to your spleen or be invited.

Going with the body, listening to our inner authority, will lead us naturally to eat and consume what is correct for us. It may not be logical!

Given the way our food industry has developed, including lobbying and campaigning for specific foods, has meant many people have an unhealthy relationship with food and eating patterns. We’ve been told, for example, how addictive sugar is and yet much of what’s eaten is heavily processed and includes high fructose corn syrup. What we eat is very conditioned and most of us are not even aware of it.

What do we eat when we don’t experience the four seasons?

I’ve pondered this a lot when I lived in Singapore. I mostly ate local (non-spicy versions) such as veggie hor fun and seafood noodle soup and my old favourites – salmon and veggies in a coconut broth, smoothies, and juicy fruits. Sticky to what I love and tastes good to me is my design.

Whether you are “born and raised” or new to the area, research the traditional diet. You’ll find a lot of insight of why they eat certain foods, spices, and combinations. And go with your inner authority. Experiment.

Are you eating with the season? What have you found in your experimentation and experience?

For me, no matter what I eat, blessing it first, enjoying it, and being grateful for it raises my frequencies and those of the food. Properly and completely digesting what we take in is also important. I boost my stomach and spleen energies by holding my thumb.