Autumn Eating for Perth

by Debra Hearn 1996

Autumn is a season of change, the body experiences this seasonal change and its requirements need adjusting accordingly, if we were in tune with nature and dependent on the things that were naturally available at this time we would not experience the problem of not knowing what to eat, we would do it instinctively.

This diet is also designed to suite a family, however it may be used for more or less people by simply adjusting the quantities used.

The basic concepts in therapeutic eating used in consideration where as follows:

Digestive times of foods

Oriental five elements theories on this season

Acid – alkaline balance

High nutrition foods

Food combining

Temperature and colour of foods (oriental theories)

Food alchemy (specific foods and their effects)


Ease of digestion

Foods specific for the lungs and the colon

Autumn according to the Chinese five elements theories is known as metal.  The organs and body systems involved during this time of year are:

Lungs and large intestine

Lungs in the Chinese system the metal element is associated with the lung and colon therefore during the autumn season we need to work at strengthening and building health in these two areas.

The lungs and the large intestine are two areas of your body that must stay clean for their best functioning.  Environmental pollutants, smoking habits, or dietary excess can contaminate them.  Our lungs communicate between the inner and outer atmospheres.  Both these organs support the entire body via the blood, heart, and circulation.

Lungs – the breath of life

Through their fine structure and large blood flow, the lungs act as mediators between the air outside our body’s and air within our blood stream.

Large intestine– the fountain of youth

This organ deals primarily with the elimination of solid waste from the body.

Reflexion seen in tissues –

nose, sinuses, nasopharynx,  bronchi, skin, mucous membranes,                         body hair, sclera of eyes (whites of eyes)

fluids and secretions affected – mucous and secretions

The role of the lung network is – refines the Qi establishes rhythm, maintains boundaries and defences

Excerpts from “between heaven and earth” by Harriet Beinfield, L.Ac and Efrem Korngold, L.Ac.O.M.D.

In the lung, the Qi of heaven (air) joins with the Qi of earth (nutrition), forming the Qi that vitalizes human life.  Like a minister who conducts affairs of state and determines territorial borders, the lung governs the relationship between the inside and the outside, setting limits and protecting boundaries.  With restraint and delicacy, expanding and contracting, the lung collects, mixes, and scatters the Qi, instilling rhythm and order.

                    autumn food requirements

Foods to include


use less

Grains e.g. Oats, rice

No excess of cold foods e.g. Melons

Dairy fat

Dense fruit e.g. Apple and pear

Dense vegetables e.g. Turnip





 herbs  — for this time of the year

Fermented rice

Marjoram                                 cayenne


Mustard                                    capers


Nutmeg                                    coriander


Mint                                         dill

Small white fish

Rosemary                                garlic

White warming foods

Safflower                                ginger

Basil                                       leek



As the interface between our inner and outer world, the lung manages external security.  Sometimes referred to as the “third lung,” the skin is the outermost surface of the self, providing an elastic envelope that contains us, shielding against intrusion.  The lung transpires across the dermal layer: through perspiration, plus opening and closing the pores, it constantly adjusts the moisture and temperature of the body.  Like a screen of variable porosity, the lung tightens and thickens the skin to ward off undesirable influences and seal in valuable internal resources, or it loosens and thins the skin to release unwanted internal substances or feelings and permit penetration of desirable influences.  Often the first strategy for treating acute illness is to drive the pathogenic influences of cold, heat, and wind out through the skin by using methods that stimulate peripheral circulation and open the pores.  The lung mobilizes the periphery, called the wei Qi, or first line of defence, which enables the body to adapt to its environment and resist adversity.  If the lung Qi is weak, our physical and emotional protection is reduced, making us vulnerable to infectious disease as well as to the negative thoughts and feelings of other people.

So you may hear people say oh it’s just a little sniffle or it’s just the change of season but in reality it is

The weakness of the lung exposed by the change of the season

Other notes of interesting information for this season

The autumn environment is travelling from a more yang state to a more yin aspect more day to longer nights.

In the Chinese system, the metal element is associated with the lungs and colon and during autumn, we should work at keeping these organs strong and healthy.

As we can see, the body relies heavily on these two organs for its cleanliness.  We can help to support these organs

By doing the following:

Deep breathing exercises

Watching our dietary habits

Daily skin brushing

Applying pure olive oil to the skin daily

Meridian tonification (lung and colon)

Environmental protection i.e. wearing warmer clothing

Complimentary tastes are

Pungent for the lung

Sour for the liver

Sweet for the stomach, spleen and pancreas

To balance energies we need to:

To be excluded from the diet  –                         replace with 

Bread                                                mountain bread,                                                                                                                       pita      or                                                                                                                         lavash bread        (flat bread)

Milk                                  ¼ cup yoghurt to ¾        cup of water


Flour products

Cool drinks

Margarine                        Butter

Cold drinking                                   injures the stomach

Coffee and tea (excess)      hot lemon and honey or herb teas

Micro waved foods                            conventional cooker

Deep fried foods or take-away’s                        fruit

Watch food combining

Don’t have too much water after 6pm

Need 8 glasses of water per day

No aluminium pots, pans, cans etc