Now that we have entered October, the nights are definitely cool and dry, even if we still have some hot days here and there. We’ve had a full month of typhoons and atmospheric pressure mayhem bringing us sudden rain and temperature changes. Autumn allergies have begun, our kids who are back in school start bringing home colds, and our schedules have filled up again with this and that.
This is the time when our bodies are the most vulnerable and start feeling the fatigue from the summer, piled with the stress from school/work and the new routines. It is the time when we most need to be careful to nourish our bodies and build strong foundations for the winter to come. So how can you do that? The key is to eat in season, stay hydrated and slow down your daily routine, just as the natural world does the same.
Eating in season in Japan is very easy as most supermarkets will emphasize seasonal produce. So when you go to the supermarket you will find lots of Japanese Nashi pears, different varieties of persimmons, roasted chestnuts, sweet potatos, kabocha pumpkin and more. So don’t be afraid to try new recipes with all the seasonal goodness.
One of my favorite sights of this season is the dry persimmon hanging from the balconies and roofs of Japanese houses. The dry Japanese autumn is perfect for drying fruit. However, it is also very good at drying our lungs and throats. As the air gets cooler and loses its moisture, our whole body is exposed to this dryness and often manifests as sore throats, dry nose, constipation, dry cough, dry skin, and dry scalp. That is why it is important to stay hydrated, even after the summer months have passed and we are no longer perspiring.
Lastly, as the days get shorter, drier and cooler we also have to start slowing down our routines and daily grind. In the natural world, animals, plants and most living beings start to prepare for winter. We also need to do the same to stay strong and healthy, especially as winter approaches. Slow down, enjoy the fresh cool air, spend time in nature and enjoy the changing of the leaves. This will do wonders for your nervous system and keep you healthy and free from colds. And as you slow down (consciously or not), your metabolic system also slows down, so make sure to eat lots of fiber-rich foods that can help you metabolize your nutrient intake and keep your digestive system healthy. For that, just keep your ears attentive for the “Yaki-imo” trucks playing their music and calling out like ice-cream trucks, full of fragrant, hot, roasted sweet potatoes. (If you can’t find one in the city, just head to the supermarket and look for the sweet-potato roasting machine.)
♫ YAKI-IIIIIMOOO…. YAKIIIIIII-IIIIIMO ♫