Pause and Take a Deep Breath to Connect with Late Summer – the Fifth Season.
These warm sunny days have provided us with the perfect transition from Summer to Autumn – to wind down from the high energy of Summer and adjust to the lower energy of the cooler months ahead. This time of year, Late Summer, is considered a season of its own accord in many cultures around the world, in which five seasons in the year is the norm. In fact, us Westerners, are one of the few populations that do not recognize this extra season that falls in between Summer and Autumn. From our perspective in the modern world, it probably doesn’t resonate in our busy lives but in reality, it is a wonderful opportunity to pause after the high energy of Summer and take a deep breath before we hunker down for Autumn and Winter, going with the natural flow of energy of the Seasons. While this might seem like “woo-woo” to some, Nature has its own calendar – Nature follows its own course and no matter what is happening in your world, seasons will change regardless. Use this time to get ready to go with the flow and fall gently into Autumn with your body and mind intact.
Late Summer occurs in August or September, a brief pause while Nature adjusts itself to fall towards the ground to rest and recuperate. It is a time when nerves maybe frazzled, tummies are nervous and breathing begins to slow down as we adapt to the change. This “in-between” season provides us with the opportunity to get the body and mind right for the darker, cooler times of Autumn and Winter. Resistance is futile! We have all witnessed the fall out of dis-ease and stress while living our lives to the max but after 18 months of restrictions and the privilege to examine our lifestyle and working routines, we must realise that there is wisdom and understanding in the Natural world that is worth heeding as we navigate our way out of this prolonged pandemic. Here are some of the best ways to be at ease with the change and get the timely tune-up for our health and well-being.
The organs associated with Late Summer are the stomach and spleen. Closely situated to each other in the body and central to our nourishment and immunity. The foods of Late Summer, grown locally or foraged from our surroundings replenish and nourish these organs ahead of Autumn and Winter. Blackberries, plums and other dark-skinned fruits are packed with Lutein, Astaxanthin and Zeaxanthin to repair damage done to our skin and eyes by UV light during the Summer. These powerful antioxidants are most potent right now because this is when we need them most. Eat them fresh from the briars now and preserve the surplus in jams and jellies for the months ahead. Apples, pears, damsons and other fleshy fruits support the stomach with pectin, a protective fibre source to prevent seasonal tummy bugs and bouts of gastro-intestinal illness. The gut microbiome will also benefit from these fruits, building up the colonies of bacteria we need during the Winter. This is a good time to include fermented foods in your diet, prepared from the lush harvest or supplement with a broad spectrum probiotic for that extra boost.
Late Summer is the time to replenish energy spent during the high intensity and activity of Summer months. You can do this by going to bed earlier, taking more time after your evening meal to unwind and giving yourself permission to take care of yourself. With the evenings closing in, Nature is reminding us to slow down, listen up. The emotion associated with Late Summer is Worry. Before the distractions of modern living, our ancestors staved off worry preparing for Autumn by celebrating the harvest, preserving foods and revelling in gatherings now that the hard work was done. Today, we are far removed from the seasonal traditions of our past, yet these were common Late Summer activities just a couple of generations ago. To dissipate some of the worry that comes with change, trust Nature and do what you need to make life flow easier as we move through the Seasons.
The Late Summer kitchen is well-stocked with a wide variety of produce. If you’re not into preserving your own food, there are plenty smaller producers doing this very well. Pick up some jams, chutneys, pickled foods and dried herbal teas to soothe the nerves and build up the stomach barriers. And what about those kitchen cupboards? It’s also a good time to clear them out and go through your herbs, spices and dried food staples – swapping out the old items for fresher, more nourishing produce.
Cooking in Late Summer brings some warmth to the menu. After a Summer diet of fresh fruit, salads and minimally cooked foods, you can now enjoy a little longer cooking, baked foods and stewed foods. Aim for a 50/50 ratio between raw and cooked foods serving up dishes like Quiche with salad, chunky vegetable soups, topped with a little raw foods or sauerkraut. Sushi made with cooked rice and raw fish or vegetables is a good example of getting this ratio right. The spices that bring warmth and comfort to your meals in Late Summer include ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and cardamom – perfect partners to the foods of the season. Herbal teas of sage, lavender, chamomile, St. John’s worth and lemon balm will soothe the frazzled nervous system and help bring you down to earth after the busy Summer.
Lastly, before Autumn kicks in – get your Vitamin D levels checked. Optimizing your Vitamin D status after the Summer sun is simple and your test results let you know whether you need to supplement to maintain levels or if you need a more therapeutic dose to make up a shortfall. Either way, having Vitamin D levels within a healthy range will dramatically improve your health, immunity, bone health and mood throughout the next few months.
These are just a few things that you can do for yourself right now. If you would like to know more or are interested in adapting a wholefood, seasonal pattern to your eating - get in touch by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 353 86 1662562 .
All the best, Irene