Friday, October 1, 2010

Reminders for the change of season

It’s seasonal acupuncture treatment time which means I got a “tune up” yesterday to deal with fall allergies along with a pep talk about diet from Doug McLaren, the acupuncturist. Although I eat a healthy diet I can always use a reminder from a professional about what I should and shouldn’t be putting into my body.

Today’s topic: caffeine and sugar. I’m not a huge consumer of caffeine. I like a cup of black or green tea when the mornings are chilly, as they’ve been recently. Sometimes I go for a second, or a glass of iced tea, in the afternoon for a little boost. Doug reminded me that caffeine can have a negative influence on the body. Allergies go along with inflammation. Caffeine, because it stresses the body, can exacerbate that inflammation.

Then there’s sugar. I learned a number of years ago that refined sugar can suppress the immune system, which also isn’t good if you’re fighting inflammation. Of course, knowing that and acting on it are not the same thing! I don’t have chocolate growing in my garden (if only!) but my chat with Doug reminded me that I do have butternut squash, which is wonderfully sweet, and it’s time to get to the orchard for some good apples.

The other reminder I heard today—it’s time to begin to slow down. Summer is a time of long, light-filled days and lots of energy. When fall begins to re-introduce itself, that’s a signal that we should be shifting our energies along with the season. All I need to do is look at my garden to see a reminder of that. Not much is growing anymore—tomatoes, peppers and greens. There are a few scraggly potato plants and the raspberries will continue until frost if we get some rain. That means I don’t have to spend as much time harvesting or preserving. What will I do instead? I think I’ll cut some herbs from the garden, make them into a nice cup of caffeine-free tea and, if I must have a sweet treat, I’ll try to make an apple my first choice.

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