Enjoying the energy of fall 🍁
We are now well into autumn and along with pumpkin spiced lattes, the season brings us shorter days and dry, chilly and windy weather. This seasonal change can lead to common symptoms including a scratchy throat, chapped lips and dry cough.
Ayurveda teaches us that by counterbalancing the nature of our local climate we can prevent seasonally-induced health imbalances. Self-care, warmth, nourishment and routine are simple ways to protect ourselves and maintain a strong immune system. So as the leaves change and cold air abounds, here are a few ways to stay healthy according to Ayurveda:
Eat warm & nourishing meals
Notice how you get hungrier during the cold seasons? Well, our appetite tends to be stronger during this period - making it ideal to eat those warm hearty grounding meals that naturally subdue the dry and cold nature of fall.
Keeping your digestive fire stoked is important for your overall well-being. Ditch the raw foods, salads, salty snacks, ice-cream, yoghurts and smoothies for the time being. Instead go with soups, stews, lentils, grains, steamed or sautéed vegetables, dairy, nuts, seeds and foods that are high in protein. These foods will warm your body and keep your digestive fire revving during the cold season.
If you really need your daily salads, then offset the cold nature by adding a cooked vegetable, meat or grain. And if you can’t give up that smoothie then avoid adding ice or just wait till the drink is at room temperature.
Let nature’s harvest be your guide
Eat fruits and vegetables that are in season - such as root vegetables, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, persimmons, pomegranate and quince. All these foods are sweet and dense which balance out the dry qualities of the season. Stop by your local farmers' market to learn what is in season. I always find this to be a lovely outing and experience.
Oil up! Internally and externally
If you are already prone to dry skin then you’ll notice that this increases in the fall. Such are the qualities of the season. Therefore getting adequate healthy fats in your body is important.
When it comes to meals, ghee is my number one choice. It is packed with essential fatty omega acids and improves digestion. Avocado oil is another great option.
Apply warm oil to your skin - an Ayurvedic practice called Abhyanga. Organic untoasted sesame oil is the traditional oil used for this ritual as it is nourishing and warming in nature. Almond oil is a close second.
Get some herbal support
Ayurveda offers a variety of herbs that are especially beneficial during the autumn season. The following herbs have warming properties - incorporate them in your meals or brew a hot cup of herbal tea to your taste:
anise, basil, bay leaves, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cumin, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, nutmeg, paprika, rosemary, saffron and turmeric
Also, sharing my favorite Ayurvedic supplement - Chyavanprash. Taking a teaspoon of this herbal jam in the morning can help reinforce immunity, energy and strength during the fall season. This is especially beneficial for the young ones and the elderly. So be sure to spread the love!
Losing motivation to stay active during the cold weather is normal. The chill in the air tenses our muscles leaving us achy. So get your blood flowing with some movement and a good stretch first thing in the morning. Even a few rounds of ‘child’s pose to downward facing dog’ will have you feeling good!
Cover your 'Wind Gate'
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the back of the neck is considered the ‘Wind gate,’ and when our neck is exposed in the fall we can get sick easily. So now is a good time to don a scarf or high-collared sweater/jacket.
Be present with your autumn emotions
Fall signals the year coming to an end and this can often bring on emotions of grief or sadness. Ayurveda teaches us how emotions, when excessive or repressed for too long, can affect our physical health. With that in mind, remind yourself that these feelings are natural and common. Welcome them with compassion and without any judgment and allow yourself the time to transition.
I hope these tips help you enjoy the season from a place of health, stability and gratitude 🍁✨
🎯 Quote of the week
Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.
🌿 Recipe - Zuppa Toscana (Spicy Italian sausage & kale soup)
I’m excited to share this recipe with you. It is spicy, hearty, creamy and quite easy to make. Enjoy a bowl with some warm toasty bread on a chilly evening :)
I’ve always enjoyed a good roast chicken but my homemade attempts have been hit or miss. And while most store-bought rotisserie chickens are unarguably tasty, I find that many are prepared with too many preservatives for my liking.
Ingredients (servings: 8 bowls)
6 oz bacon, chopped
1 lb Italian sausage (spicy variety)
6-8 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced/pressed
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 cups chicken broth
6 cups water
3-4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/4" thick pieces
1 kale bundle, leaves stripped and chopped (6 cups)
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and black pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese to serve, optional
In a large pot or dutch oven (5.5 qt), over medium-high heat, add chopped bacon and sauté until browned (5-7 mins). Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and spoon out excess oil, leaving about 1 Tbsp oil in the pot.
Add the Italian sausage, breaking it up with a spatula and sauté until cooked through (~5 mins). Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate.
Finely dice onion and add to the pot. Sauté for 5 minutes or until soft and golden then add minced garlic and sauté for about a 1 min.
Add 4 cups of chicken broth and 6 cups of water, and bring to boil. Add chopped potatoes and cook for about 15 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.
When the potatoes are nearly done, add chopped kale and cooked sausage and bring everything to a light boil.
Stir in 1 cup cream and bring to a boil. Season with salt and black pepper to your taste and remove from heat.
Garnish with bacon and grated parmesan.
If you try this out, I’d love to know what you think. Enjoy!! 😊