late summer

The Fifth Season

Starting in the third week of August and lasting until the Fall Equinox is what Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) calls the season, Late Summer. This season is the transition between the long, hot summer days and the cool, crisp air of Fall. You can feel the difference, right? The end of August is the final burst of growth before Nature lends itself to harvest its efforts in the upcoming fall season.


Each season in TCM is associated with a different element: Spring (Wood), Summer (Fire), Fall (Metal), Winter (Water) and Late Summer (Earth). The Earth element corresponds with the Chinese Medicine organ systems, Spleen and Stomach. Don’t get too caught up in the names, they aren’t exactly the same as our Western spleen and stomach and for simplicity purposes, we will just categorize them as “digestion.”


Did you know that our body’s digestive system also had different needs throughout the year’s seasons? Late Summer is the time to start winding down the cold, raw, fruits and veggies that we tolerate so well in the heat and begin to focus on foods that are warm, cooked, and heartier to better prepare our digestive system for the upcoming winter.


So, what should we be eating during this Late Summer season? Load up on carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, corn, apples, plums, figs, beans, rice, wheat, and anything else that is in season and local if possible. Think of all the yellow, orange, and brown foods that symbolize the vibe of this time of year. It really is pretty cool to reconnect with Nature’s diet plan versus the endless list of manmade ones. Keeping it simple, ya know?



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