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I take my cue for the change of seasons from the heavens. The winter solstice will fall this year on Thursday June 21 and marks the start of winter in the Southern Hemisphere.  Follow these guidelines below for a smooth transition into winter and to keep yourself healthy.

  1. Take good care of your Spleen  The Earth element governs the transition between seasons, so between now and June 21, its important to nourish your spleen.
    1. Eat warming foods that have been well cooked like soups, congees, dhal and kitchari. Warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, aniseed, star anise, cayenne pepper, fennel, cardamon, nutmeg and vanilla will be beneficial for your spleen and provide your body with yang energies it needs to function well and stay warm.
    2. Minimise or avoid cow’s dairy, including cheese, yoghurt and milk. Butter supports the spleen so this can be eaten in moderation. Substitute cow’s products with sheep’s and goat’s or vegan alternatives.
    3. Avoid food that is cold, i.e. cold drinks or anything cold or frozen from the fridge, especially ice cream/sorbet.
    4. Eat seasonally. Avoid tropical fruits like pineapple, mango, banana, etc. These are cool thermally and can cause cold damage to the body in the cooler months of the year (unless you have a lot of heat in your body). View the seasonal eating guide for May. Link: Seasonal Food for May
  2. In late Autumn and Winter, use warming cooking methods such as roasting, grilling, frying or simmering in liquid. Roasting is the warmest of the methods, so if you know you are yang deficient, try adding in some roasted veggies to your weekly meals.
  3. Overthinking can also damage the spleen. If you know you are a chronic over-thinker, try bringing some awareness to your thought patterns. Awareness is the first and most important catalyst for change. You can also use mindfulness techniques to help you work with your mind in a constructive way.
  4. Get enough rest As the weather gets colder, it is natural for us to want to rest more. If you are doing too much, start to look at what activities you could reduce, at least until the spring time. Resting enough will help to nourish our yin, so that we can build up our energies for the yang times of spring and summer.
  5. Let go Autumn is the time for letting go of anything that no longer serves you. If there is anything holding you back or creating suffering for you and others, use the last few weeks of autumn to make a conscious effort to let go of any thought patterns or behaviours that are no longer beneficial. Mindfulness and contemplation are wonderful ways to work on yourself.