How To Stay Healthy This Fall...Look inside your own kitchen!
One of the reasons that I love Chinese medicine, is the concept that if we align ourselves with the natural elements around us, then we can achieve balance and health, emotionally and physically. Fall is a big transition, the Fire element of summer gives way to the late summer Earth element harvest and then onto the Metal element of fall which asks us to dig deep into ourselves and start preserving, storing and slowing down.
Today my blender went in the closet and the crock pot got a coveted spot on my kitchen counter. It's time to slow cook your food and reduce the amount of cold and raw food in your diet. It's time to choose seasonal vegetables such as winter squash, yams, kale, potatoes and beets. Time to choose pungent foods that keep the lungs clear and strong, such as onions, garlic and ginger. They all have warming, antiviral and antibiotic properties that can help with staying healthy.
First and foremost, you want to focus on boosting your immune system so that colds and flus can be prevented. Along with eating warm seasonal foods, one of my favorite healing herbs is astragalus (or in the Chinese pinyin it's called Huang Qi). It is a safe herb to take daily throughout the winter, and add to soups and stews for its immune benefits. Astragalus is called an adaptogen, meaning that it helps protect the body against various physical, emotional and mental stresses. It's been shown to improve white blood cell count and it is widely used to improve the immune system, preventing colds and upper respiratory infections. If you want to find some astragalus to cook with this winter, you can find it on-line or at a local herbal apothecary.
I hope this recipe inspired you as much as it does me! Here's to a vibrant and healthy fall. And of course, if you do get sick, come get some acupuncture as soon as you feel the symptoms coming on!!
Super Immune Boosting Chicken Soup
Start by adding Astragalus to 4 quarts of water in your crock pot. Coat chicken in olive oil, salt, garlic powder and sauté in a pan for several minutes, then add to crock pot with ginger, scallion and garlic and slow cook for several hours, remove bones and herbs/spices from the soup and add veggies, herbs and salt to taste.
Optional: add cooked short grain brown rice at the end for more digestive and energy nourishing properties.
Melissa is a self described 'nerd' about all topics relating to health and wellness. She is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and co-owner of Open Circle Acupuncture & Healing.