“How about the weather today, Tim?”
“Yea it’s feeling like fall is finally here.
This classic small talk conversation starter might be more helpful to our health than we think! Fall has arrived in some places more drastic than others. You may have noticed cooler mornings and evenings, maybe more wind in the air, a change in the tree’s leaves or local vegetation, potentially new birds arriving or leaving as they migrate. Nature is always changing, and when we can surrender to the flow of seasonal changes we can thrive right along with Nature. The seasonal weather change can be a signal to aid in letting us know what our bodies and minds may need to feel our best is also changing a bit at this time of year.
In today’s blog I want to share with you ways to harmonize with your body’s needs and nature’s changing rhythm. Your body is intelligent and will communicate its needs to you, yet listening and understanding requires you to bring mindful awareness to your body daily. I believe mealtimes are a great time to check in with our body to see what it needs that day.
The best way to harmonize your meals with nature’s rhythm is by eating locally grown foods. Nature provides what your body needs in that season. Can you think of some classic fall foods?
You are probably thinking…
- Sweet Potato / Yams
- Root Veggies (Carrots, Turnips, Beets)
- Greens (Broccoli, Kale, Swiss Chard, Collards)
- Squashes (Zucchini, Butternut, Pumpkin, Acron, Kabocha, Spaghetti)
- Spices like cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, coriander
- Fruits like apple, pear, figs
And guess what, there’s a reason these foods are placed in the fall season for humans to enjoy! These foods have grounding and warming qualities, which is what the body needs as it transitions from hot summer temperatures to cool winter weather. I have learned a lot about this topic through the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda.
Our ancestors lived life very in touch with nature not only for their food source, but also for clothes, shelter, and navigation. They had to surrender and align themselves with what nature provided them within each season. That is how bodies have evolved and by returning to a seasonal diet you may experience great mental and physical health benefits. I suggest shopping at your local farmers market to make choosing in-season produce easy! Shopping locally not only helps your health, but also the planet because transport emissions are reduced since your food doesn’t come from a farm thousands of miles away. Instead you are investing back into your local environment and community so this is a wonderful reciprocal way to give and get at the same time.
Before you begin preparing your seasonal meal I encourage you to tune into the moment with three deep breaths. Then you can have a conversation with your body. You may ask…
- On a scale of 0-5 how hungry am I right now?
- What does my body need right now, is it food, or could I be needing rest, play, comfort or love?
- Does my body need something warm or cool? (warm/cooked is suggested for better digestion in cool months)
- Are there specific tastes or textures that would satisfy my body right now?
It is important to note that communicating with your body requires repeated practice using mindful self-awareness to develop a trust between your body, mind, and food so that you can best meet your needs in the moment. I think eating foods in season is a safe way to start nourishing your body and reconnecting you to nature (you are a part of nature)!
Once your meal is prepared I encourage you to listen to this brief mindful eating meditation. Tuning into your food and how it feels in your body is a key component to building that trust and communication between your body, mind, heart, and environemnt.
With Joy and Gratitude,
Lizzie’s 4 month group coaching program Aligned Life Academy is now open for enrollment. This program is designed for you to cultivate daily mindfulness and design your dream life! Learn more here!!
Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming classes of MBSR or MSC for guided practices in a supportive community.
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Sweet Potato, Lentil, Veggie Soup with Kitchari (Ayurvedic cleansing dish made from rice and mung dal beans).
Sweet Potato Lentil Soup Recipe:
1 Large Sweet Potato
1 Cup of Brown Lentils
2 Medium-sized Organic Carrots
2 Large Celery Stalks
2 Cups of Veggie Broth
4 Cups of Water
1 Inch of Fresh Ginger (I like to use a good amount)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil (coconut oil, ghee work too)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Cardamom
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Coriander
¼ tsp Black pepper + a little Salt
Optional: Kale or leafy green,
Optional Toppings: Lemon squeeze, Cilantro, Sunflower seeds, Avocado
**Soak the lentils in water for at least 3 hours prior to cooking**
Wash and chop the potatoes, celery, carrots, ginger. I personally cube the potato and thinly slice the carrots. For the ginger remove the skin and then dice into pieces, it’s okay if they are not very small.
In a large pot on medium high heat add your olive oil, spices, and ginger. Let these heat and mix together for about 2 minutes. Then add the cubed potatoes, and coat the potatoes with the spices by thoroughly mixing them around.
Next add in everything else: carrots, celery, lentils. Add the 2 cups of vegetable broth and then pour enough water so that it covers everything by half an inch.
Bring the stew to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to low-medium heat with the lid still on. Honestly mine was boiling for a while. It took a bit to reduce the temperature; that is ok because you will test everything at the end to ensure it’s all cooked before serving.
Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir every few minutes. Halfway through you can try the broth and adjust seasonings as necessary, I will encourage you to hold off on the salt until the end.
After 15 minutes you may try poking the potatoes and carrots to judge if they are cooked. They should be very easy to stab. Taste your lentils as well to ensure they are soft.
If you choose to add kale or another leafy green chop it up and stir it into the pot. Allow it to cook for another five minutes.
Plate this dish with cilantro or lemon. I added some leftover kitchari (Ayurvedic dish made from rice and mung dal beans) on the side so if you are feeling you want some more substance you may add rice or quinoa to the dish as well.
Lizzie is a heart-centered entrepreneur who has a vision of helping people all around the world shine their light and live their most aligned life. She recently received her B.S in Horticulture and has combined both her passions for environmental stewardship and helping others by building her online coaching services that connect clients to their body, mind, soul and nature. She believes if we model our lives after living ecosystems we can live our most aligned life. A quote she loves: “We are a part of Nature, not apart from Nature.”