The order of the universe functions in the most amazing ways. Take the seasons for example. With each season comes a time of passage as the Earth shifts and turns in her dance with the Sun. As the human species evolves closer to understanding and accepting our intimate connection to pure and divine consciousness, there occurs an awakening, an intuitive awareness as to what is needed at each transition of the year. If we are to be in synch with this passage then the foods that we eat and the manner in which they are prepared are of the utmost importance. In the hot summer month's raw foods help to cool and strengthen the body, but when the winds blow cold we are drawn to foods that warm and protect the body from the icy onslaught.
In autumn, nature pulls in upon herself moving energy in and downwards. This corresponds to the local foods now in season that strengthen the intestines, such as the root vegetables: carrots, beets, potatoes, rutabaga, celeriac, and sweet potato. Through observation and study the ancient Chinese saw autumn as the Metal Element in nature governing Lung/Large intestine energy. Not surprising then that the conditions for flu or head cold comes from this internal deepening as the body throws off excess mucus, toxins and rancid oils.
According to Paul Pitchford, author of Healing With Whole Foods, foods with a sour taste help with this elimination: apple cider vinegar, lemons, limes, grapes, sauerkraut, pickles and sourdough breads. Dairy can be in the form of goat or sheep's yogurt, but in moderation and eaten with other foods.
Other Metal element supporting foods have a pungent taste such as: spices, ginger, and black pepper. These stimulate the appetite and help with the assimilation of cooked foods. This pungent taste can be incorporated into autumn recipes using local, organic seasonal produce such as, apples, grapes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, pears, persimmons, pumpkins, winter squash, and yams. Here is a lovely cool weather salad that can be enjoyed warm at home or taken to work for a satisfying afternoon meal.
Butternut Vegetable Salad
Yields: 4 servings
½ butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed
4 small red onions, quartered lengthwise
1 clove elephant garlic, peeled, julienned
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup assorted mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup cooked French lentils
4 oz. organic feta cheese
Sea salt¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
Anchovy Dressing (see below)
Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees.
Place the butternut, onion, and garlic in a medium size bowl.
Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and a small amount of salt.
Mix to coat well.
Spread on a well oiled baking sheet and roast until squash is tender, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms and elephant garlic in the butter plus oil until tender, about 3 minutes.
When squash is done assemble on 4 individual plates: squash, onion, garlic and French lentils.
Drizzle anchovy dressing over the vegetables, top with the mushrooms, then the feta cheese and finally the walnuts.
Serve while squash is still warm.
Yield 4 servings
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oi
6 anchovies (more as needed)
Place ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Refrigerate when not using.
Delia Quigley is a holistic health practitioner, author of seven health books and an experienced yoga instructor. She also teaches the exquisite science of preparing whole, organic foods to support and strengthen the mind, body and spirit.