I wrote in a blog post back in February about the Five Phases of food and how this ancient theory of Chinese medicine has really influenced how I eat and plan my meals (read that blog post here). The Five Phases follows closely with the seasons and adds in another unofficial season, Indian Summer, as the fifth element in the wheel.
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.
Whereas the Winter/Water phase encouraged us to go dark, deep and salty (think seaweeds, shellfish, or miso) we are now entering the Wood phase. This phase corresponds with spring, green foods, sour foods and the liver. This is a very cleansing phase and the liver, the champion of natural detoxing, supports that perfectly. Foods in the Wood phase help with this cleansing. Citrus fruits, avocado, cherry, barley, lima beans, artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, parsley, peas and lettuces are all great examples. We are leaving the heaviness of winter foods and transitioning towards more fresh salads and lightly steamed vegetables. Most of these vegetables can be easily grown in your garden right now.
We need to balance our meals according to all the phases but if I am feeling out of synch 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 Wood phase I start thinking about this vibrant green Fresh Pea and Watercress Soup. This recipe encompasses foods right out of this spring phase. Try it today!
Now let me know what you think. Do you ever use the Five Phases? Do you want to learn more? Leave a comment below with your story.