Best Foods and Cooking Ingredients for the Five Seasons
We all love the food items, which include various ingredients that can give our meal- flavor, texture, smell and taste according to our pleasure. Did you know, the various cooking ingredients that we make use of, can provide healing benefits on a spiritual level as well? And, this varies from one season to another.
Let me introduce you to the Macrobiotic science, which deals with the division of our lives into five basic elements - Earth, water, fire,metal and wood. These elements represent the five seasons respectively, along with the characteristic foods for each season. Below is a list of these divisions and the corresponding most beneficial food ingredients, which can provide nutrition as well as other healing benefits on physical, emotional and spiritual level.
Maple Syrup, Rice Syrup, Agave and Molasses
This element is the most stable of all the five elements that represent life and has a characteristic yellow color. It also represents the spleen and stomach areas of human body. The food items associated with this element are considered to be of sweet flavor. Earth represents the season which starts from Mid-August and extends to the fall.
This is time of late summer seasons, and most of the human beings may experience a shift of energy from extensive summer heat to the medium and rather cooler form of autumn. The days remain hot during this time,whereas the evenings become cooler. We experience an early sunset. The harvest also begins to get ripe during this time.
The food ingredients which fall under this section that can help in enhancing the earth element, in getting nutrition and in attaining the maximum healing benefits during the corresponding seasons are as follows:
a) Fruits: Sweet Grapes, Sweet Apples, Dates, Papaya, Sweet Orange, Tangerine, Honeydew, Raisins, Figs and Cantaloupes
b) Nuts like Walnuts, Almonds, Sesame Seeds, Pecans and Sunflower seeds
c) Grains like millets
d) Fish like Swordfish, salmon and tuna
e) Sweeteners like molasses, rice syrup, maple syrup and agave.
This element represents the winter season. Winter is a time for hibernation to a lot of life forms on earth. It gives time to the various life sources to store their energies and plunge into new and fresh forms, when the spring season comes next. Water element has a characteristic black color. The flavor represented by this element is salty and the human body parts associated with this element are kidneys and bladders.
The food ingredients, which can help in getting the maximum benefits during winter season, owing to the water element enhancements are as follows:
a) Vegetables like Asparagus and Beet
b) Fruits like Black Raspberries, Black Grapes, Blueberries, Water melon, Blackberries and Raspberries
c) Beans and Pulses like Black Beans and lentils
d) Sea Vegetables like Irish moss, Kelp, Kombu, Nori, Hijiki, Wakame, Dulse and Arame
e) Fish like Oysters, Scallops, Blue Fish, Caviar and Clams
f) Nuts like Black Sesame seeds and chestnuts.
g) Grains like Black Rice and Barley
h) One can also use seasonings and condiments like Salt Cured Pickles, Umeboshi , Gomasio , Tekka (a certain miso-condiment, which consists of a number of root vegetables (Greater Burdock roots, carrots, Ginger root, and Lotus root) which have been stir-fried and boiled to a concentrated powder), Tamari/ Shoyu (Soy Sauce), and Miso (a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans, with salt and the fungus kojikin , the most typical miso being made with soy).
This element represents the hot summer weather. The fire element represents expansion and full throttle energy manifestation, which can easily be seen during summer season. Every thing is in its highest peak, including the Sun, the food, the plant life etc. The color represented by this element is red, and the flavor it exhibits is bitter. The human body parts associated with this element are small intestine and heart. The food ingredients, which can help in getting the maximum benefits during summer season, owing to the fire element enhancements are as follows:
a) Vegetables like Okra, Brussels sprouts, Scallions, Endives, Chives and Asparagus
b) Fruits like Cherries, Peaches, Apricots, Guavas, Strawberries and Persimmon
c) Spices like Turmeric, chilies and other curry spices
d) Grains like Maize, Corn and Quinoa
e) Beans and Pulses like Chickpeas and red lentils
f) Fish like Crabs, lobsters and Shrimps.
This element represents the autumn season. The season displays a gentle reduction in everything starting from the reduction in light, followed by the shortening of days and slow settling of everything which was at high energy in summers. We see the fall of leaves from trees and an overall contraction of the whole energy system in the life forces.
The metal element has a characteristic white color. It represents a spicy flavor. The human body parts connected with this element are large intestine and lungs. The food ingredients, which can help in getting the maximum benefits during autumn season, owing to the metal element enhancements are as follows:
a) Fruits like Pears, bananas and Apples
b) Vegetables like Onions, Chinese cabbage, Radish, Mustard and Turnip Greens, Garlic, Cucumber and Cauliflower
c) Beans and Pulses like White Beans
d) Grains like White Rice
e) Herbs like Rosemary, Cinnamon, Basil, Ginger Root, Thyme,Dill(Soya) and Fennel.
(Apart from Fennel, rest all items can be easily found in a grocery shop or super market near to your home. Processed Fennel can be bought from a Health food store.)
This element represents the spring season. The spring seasons embarks the onset of magical outburst of energy after a long and dormant season of winters. It represents a fresh start of everything and new life resonates from all the life forces, thereby marking a fresh start. This element has a characteristic color of green. It represents sour flavor. The human body parts associated with this element are liver and gall bladder. The food ingredients, which can help in getting the maximum benefits during spring season, owing to the wood element enhancements are as follows:
a) Fruits like Lemons, Limes, Plums, and Sour cherries, Green Apples, Grapefruits, Avocado and Quince
b) Vegetables like Mushrooms, Carrots, Beets, Alfalfa, Zucchini, Parsley, Lettuce, Artichokes, Kale and Shiitake
c) Beans and Pulses like Green Lentils and Lima
d) Grains like Rye, Wheat and oats
References: Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford; The Five Transformations by Tom Monte and Sam McClellan
The above information has been purely for educational purposes