Are you prepared for autumn? Really?!
by Carolyn Chan
Here in the west, the autumn, (also known as “the bile season”), is starting, and the body-mind should be prepared for the subtle and profound effects of the new season.
The bright picture postcard days of summer sunshine will soon be shortening into long shadowy afternoons, signaling the start of autumn. In Tibetan medicine, the seasons are considered to have subtle and profound effects on the body-mind energetically, physically and mentally, and the continuous cycling from one season to the next creates changes in the overall wellbeing of the body-mind, in ways we may not even be aware.
Although the days become shorter and cooler, in autumn the sun is still dominant and its slanting rays focus sharply on the earth and our bodies, like laser beams. The heat of the sun influences the bile energy in particular in the autumn, and qualities of food, environment and the body all naturally become oily and sharp, leading to a situation where the bile humor can easily increase unless care is taken of the diet and activities. This is especially important where care was not taken in the hot summer months and bile has already accumulated in the body, as there is an increased likelihood of the manifestation of bile pathologies such as headaches and gastric disorders at this time. Autumn is therefore known as “the bile season”, and there is a tendency for bile disorders to be easily provoked.
The recommended diet during the autumn months would include increasing the intake of sweet fruits and foods, adding complex carbohydrates such as rice, bread and pasta, and including bitter salad greens such as chicory, arugula, rocket, Belgian endive, as well as more astringent foods such as bananas, lentils, and artichokes. The best beverage at this time would be plain water, at least two liters per day. Because bile is heat and easily provoked to burn the body’s micro-substances, the ideal counterbalance is to wash and clean the body products so as to prevent the development of inflammation and slow down the body ageing processes. Also good beverages to include at this time would be light quality, cooling drinks, such as jasmine tea, other light teas such as green tea, mild cooling quality fruit juices, cool mineral and spring waters.
During the autumn it is best to avoid or at least cut down on bile increasing foods such as oily, spicy, fatty foods, milk and milk products and strong alcohol.
Recommended activities during the autumn should be geared towards staying balanced, cool and comfortable, so for example, the outdoor activities of taking walks in a shady park or along a cool river bank would be excellent.