The Five Phases of Food and the Fall Season

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Fall is always a bittersweet time of the year for me.  Although I welcome the cooler weather and the thought of slowing down for the winter, I already miss the carefree summer and mild weather.  And of course, being a foodie, I will miss watermelon, light salads, corn on the cob, and blueberries.  It has been a nice run, but to Fall we must go, turning our attention to warmer, heartier stews and soups, winter squash, and slow-cooked meals.

One way I like to plan my food and to help me figure out what to eat seasonally is to follow the Five Phases of Food – the Asian theory that corresponds with the seasons.

What Are The Five Phases of Food?

The Chinese believe that the seasons are surrounded by five energy fields: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.  These energy fields dictate things such as our emotional states and correspond to specific areas of the body.  The fields also correspond to our tastes and senses and therefore to the food choices we should be gravitating towards in a particular season.

Fall corresponds with the Metal element.  We might intuitively at this time gravitate towards the color white and foods such as rice, tofu, cabbage, or white beans.  Fruits would include pear and apples.

The Metal element of Fall is also connected with your lungs and large intestine and you might find that you are trying to establish a rhythmic order at this time or feel weepy or blue at this time.


At the very least, the Five Phases can help you balance meals and eat seasonally. If I’m feeling out of sync in the season of the moment, I like to refer to the Five Phases.  Click here to learn more about the phases and how they can help you.

Every year when entering the Metal phase I start thinking about warm nourishing soup.   I love this simple White Bean and Kale Soup (click here to get this nutritious, delicious recipe). This warm, healthy recipe encompasses foods right out of the Metal phase and is perfect for cooler weather cooking. Try it today and let me know what you think.

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