Thursday, 3 November 2011

Pass me the pumpkin...

Since the clocks went back last weekend I have started to feel the urge of my inbuilt wintry hibernation mode - even if we are experiencing mildish weather!  

We are still moving through autumn, which corresponds to the element of metal in Chinese philosophy.  Metal is associated with the lung and the large intestine, so this time of year some people are susceptible to lung problems and/or digestion issues.  Eventually metal will change to the element of water, which is associated with winter.  During this change in seasons our bodies are at their most vulnerable to infection, so it is now that I am starting to think about how I can nourish myself and be ready for the bombardment of the winter colds and flu!

The five elements outside of us are also reflected inside of us and to live in tune with the changes in the environment is what our ancestors had to do to survive.  The metal (autumn) season is a time to let go of things and only store what is necessary for winter.  During the water (winter) season it is said we need to preserve this water energy so it can go on to germinate the seeds of spring, associated with the element of wood.  An example would be that towards the end of the year always feels like a good time to come up with new goals or endeavours that we want to plan into the following year.  We will need energy for these new ideas to flourish and that is where our reserves over winter will serve us well.

I feel the change from autumn to winter is a time to be gentle on myself, sleep more and stay warm and cosy using both clothing and warming foods.  Right now I am loving the surplus of pumpkins everywhere, left over from Halloween.  The pumpkin is a fantastic vegetable for warmth, nourishment and well-being.  Amongst its long list of benefits is a good dose of vitamin C, vitamin A, iron and magnesium -  plenty to help the body build up reserves during the colder months!  From a Chinese perspective pumpkins are good for cleansing and also can help resolve excess mucus conditions.

A great way to incorporate some pumpkin is to make a soup.  You may think making pumpkin soup after a long day at work is a bit of a chore but I make a 'no rules' quick and healthy thai pumpkin soup that you can have anytime - here is the recipe;

1 x pumpkin or squash
half a can of coconut milk (the thick one, not the one in my earlier block)
Thai Taste red curry paste (free from sugar and gluten -
couple of twists on the salt grinder

instructions - but remember no rules when it comes to taste!
chop the pumpkin into chunks - I don't peel it but its up to you
boil the chunks until soft but not mushy - about 20 mins
drain off the hot water into a bowl and put to one side
add the coconut milk to the cooked pumpkin squares
also add 2 x tablespoons red thai curry paste

using a hand blender just start to blend.

this is then down to your own taste buds....
you can add some of the hot water to thin it out
you can add more coconut milk for a creamier soup (as we have only used half a can)
you can add more thai curry paste for more kick!

Happy Bonfire Weekend..

Zen Dog


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