The Late Summer season corresponds to the Earth Element. It is the time between the full heat of summer and the cool advent of autumn. Late Summer is a short season, but it is a time of great and rapid change in nature and within ourselves.
This transformation is also expressed in the functioning of the organs of the Earth Element, the stomach and the spleen. Chinese Medicine says that there are two ways to replenish our Chi. One, is the food we eat; the other, the air we breath. Thus, proper digestion plays a crucial role in maintaining good energy and health. As the Earth Element governs the muscles, the proper nourishment of the body can help prevent pain, stiffness, and fatigue.
The spleen and stomach are the body organs connected with Late Summer, they provide the nourishment to feed our body, mind, and spirit through all the transitions of our life. This is the season to stop taxing our digestion with too many raw, cold, or sugary foods and to increase our exercise.
Chinese dietary wisdom can help maintain the balance of our energy, not only during Late Summer but throughout the year. In the Late Summer, nature’s energy is beginning to descend. Fruits are ripening, sunlight is waning, and the air is becoming more humid. Eating cold and/or damp-producing foods (such as cold dairy, raw vegetables, salads, cold desserts, etc) can hamper the function of the stomach and spleen. Because the Summer Season is warmer, we can include cooler foods in our diet. If we have a weakened digestion, it’s during the Late Summer that we may find it harder to digest cold and/or damp-producing foods.
Late Summer is the time to begin building toward the Fall and Winter by eating more seeds, nuts, proteins such as fish and poultry, hot soups and steamed vegetables. This diet will strengthen the body and build reserves for the coming seasons.