We are moving from summer into Autumn and of course during this transitional time our diet should start to reflect this seasonal change, in the Chinese philosophy this is called the Five Elements this late summer period is linked with what is referred to as the Earth element. We can probably all relate with the thought of it being harvest time, and a short hot spell would normally have happened which in Northern Ireland we are currently experiencing.
But this really is a busy time for most of us because the kids have gone back school, we are gearing back up for the next few months of work, so there tends to be far more running around for those of you who are parents. Keeping energy and the immunity high after a lovely restful (I am hoping) summer is now important to focus on.
If you are out walking you should be seeing blackberries, lovely and ripening, a great addition to breakfasts, you can freeze them to be added to smoothies, although we are naturally coming to an end with colder foods and the introduction of warming porridges, soups and stews will become our focus. You can warm your blackberries in a frying pan with either a little water or some coconut oil, this makes a lovely addition to your breakfast. They are high in antioxidants and vitamin C, keep them away from the white school shirts!
But with all the focus on new school terms, and work it’s easy to become quickly unbalanced, and overwhelmed again, particularly with all the after school clubs to take the kids to, trying to fit in a workout for yourself, and just general day to day stuff that has to be done. Becoming ungrounded is really easy in our lives now, almost too easy, but being clear about connecting and looking after yourself is important, in particular on how you will invest some of your own time doing this.
Filling your home with Autumn scents such as the pines, cedarwood, Eucalyptus, essential oils helps to keep things clear, the cleaning product companies know this which is why they use them. Essential oils are a great way of doing this diffusing them in the background for yourself will also help with respiratory issues, by doing this you are helping to clear the mind.
Any pain and stiffness in the joints are likely to start to show itself soon if you are affected by the weather, Winter and cold weather is more dehydrating and so ensure that you are getting into the swing of drinking enough each day. Warm water rather than cold. Keeping things moving with those stews and soups, I love that so many clients have slow cookers and soup makers, they are brilliant, go and dig them out, this is the time to start to use them again. Make life easy for yourself, these pieces of equipment mean you can make meals either overnight or in the day ready for eating later.
Adding dates to your porridge helps to bring natural sweetness that we tend to look more for, in these transitional months, dates are rich in iron helping to improve immunity and energy. Porridges can be made from quinoa, millet, oats, and buckwheat flakes, so much variety now you don’t have to be bored just organised really! Each one brings a slightly different flavour and level of nutrients.
If you are having digestive issues particularly with your stomach, this is the time to address them, winter meals tend to become more carbohydrate rich due to those root vegetables, and resolving these issues now will help with digestion at a time when nutrients are important to keep health high when winter arrives. It’s easy though as I said to lose track of looking after yourself, and with the stress of work and trying to balance everything it can soon end up affecting that digestion. Take the time to eat your meals, chew them properly, calm the body and the mind, take some time to meditate, bombarding yourself with too much of anything isn’t helpful and we all know that we pay for burning the candle at both ends.
A lovely tea to include is dried orange peel, rosemary and juniper berry, steep them and drink 20 minutes before a meal. Those lovely dandelions that are currently up can be used in meals with endive and chicory for those of you with poor digestion.
Sitting down and taking time for ourselves is frowned upon in a culture where we now spend a lot of time telling other people how busy we are. The ability to relax and sit is something that we are losing, become content, and calm and this will help the digestion far more than most dietary changes do.
At this time of year apples, pears, grapes, tomatoes, beans courgettes should all be abundant in your diet as they would have been in our environment if we were to stick to the seasons. The diet would naturally at this point be starting on the process of building us up, increasing protein and fats at this point, with lots of the seasonal vegetables lightly steamed as we move out of the lightness of summer. If you are thinking of doing a cleanse then it needs to be now, the window is closing on this happening, adding in juices but not too many at this point because it is starting to become cooler and it’s time to invest our time in balance. Parsley, mine is currently abundant so if you are not growing it, do, because it is awfully easy, it is great for cleansing as well as being supportive of the body with it’s rich array of vitamins and minerals. Add to your end of summer salads or to those lovely new potatoes, you can also steep it for a lovely tea.
Enjoy the transition.