ANN GREENBERG L.Ac., M.Ac., Dipl. Ac.


Eating with the Seasons: Spring

 Paul Pitchford, writing in the classic, Healing with Whole Foods: Oriental Traditions and Modern Nutrition, writes about suitable foods and their preparation for this time of year -- spring.  He writes:

This is the season to attend to the liver and gallbladder.  In spring we naturally eat less, or even fast, to cleanse the body of the fats and heavy foods of winter.  The diet should be the lightest of the year and contain foods which emphasize the yang, ascending, and expansive qualities of spring -- young plants, fresh greens, sprouts, and immature wheat or other cereal grasses.  Salty foods such as soy sauce, miso and sodium-rich meats all have a strong component of sinking energy and are best limited during springtime.  Too many heavy foods clog the liver, resulting in spring fits and fevers.

He adds,

The expansive, rising quality of sweet and pungent-flavored foods is recommended by the classics as a means of creating a personal spring within.  For this effect, one can use a little concentrated sweetener with pungent herbs, such as honey/mint tea.  The pungent cooking herbs -- basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, carraway, dill, bay leaf -- are desirable at this time.  Most of the complex carbohydrates such as grains, legumes and seeds have a primarily sweet flavor which increases with sprouting.  Young beets, carrots, and other sweet starchy vegetables, thinned from the spring garden, provide a refreshing sweet flavor.  Certain intensely pungent flavors are traditionally employed in the spring by Western folk healers as medicine: a week-long daily dose of raw onions and garlic acts as a vermifuge to rid the body of parasites.  A traditional Japanese parasiticide is the sweet-pungent combination of mochi and mugwort -- pounded sweet rice with mugwort.


“The accomplished ones, of ancient times, advised people how to guard themselves against disease-causing factors. On the mental level, one should remain calm and avoid excessive desires and fantasies, recognizing and maintaining the natural purity and clarity of the mind. When internal energies are able to circulate smoothly and freely, and the energy of the mind is not scattered, but is focused and concentrated, illness and disease can be avoided.” - Qi Bo


Metal Tastes for Autumn/Fall -- for Cooking

Gens_garden According to Feng Shui and the Five Element Kitchen, the following tastes are associated with the metal element:

  • Spices/Condiments: (hot) allspice, anise seeds, cayenne pepper, chile pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, curry powder, galangal, ginger, horseradish, star anise, white pepper, (warm) bay leaves, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin, ginger, mustard;
  • Herbs: (hot) hyssop and lemon grass; (warm) chives, lovage, thyme; (neutral) garden cress, nasturtium, savory; (cool) watercress; (cold) peppermint.
  • Vegetables: (warm) garlic, leeks; (neutral) celery root (celeriac); (cool) daikon radish, green onions, kohlrabi, onions, pearl onions, radishes, shallots; (cold) sweet onions, turnips. 
  • Fruits: (neutral) peaches;
  • Nuts: (warm) unsalted and roasted peanuts;
  • Grains: (cool) long-grain rice;
  • Oils: (warm) canola oil;
  • Meats and Poultry: (hot) aged venison; (warm) chicken (free-range), cornish game hen, partridge, pheasant, quail, wild board, wild duck, young venison; (neutral) goose.
  • Dairy Products: (warm) blue cheese, muenster cheese.
  • Beverages: (hot) spirits; (warm) sake;