Have you ever noticed that as summer ends, your cravings for salad diminishes? And pumpkin everything is everywhere? This is the natural transition from cooling, light foods to denser, warming foods that will get us through the colder time of year. As the seasons transition, so too should our food choices. Eating in season increases the nutrients you get from your food and gives us the nourishment we need to meet the demand of the season. Plants send their energy down to the roots to make it through winter, something we can see with the dropping of leaves and the dying back of flowers. This is the energy that we now harvest and take into ourselves, helping to ground and root. Preparation of foods also begins to shift, away from lots of raw dishes to more cooked foods. Here are some ideas for this cozy fall season:
Pumpkin spiced everything is beginning to come out, but that doesn’t mean you need to consume sugar laden drinks and sweets. Try making a pumpkin curry soup to serve with crusty bread or gluten free crackers. You can also puree pumpkin and add it to coffee (or a smoothie!) with some nut milk, cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg for a latte style drink without the sugar.
Kale is a cool weather crop, and if you’ve been eating it as salad for the summer, it is time to bake it. Toss a large bunch of chopped kale with 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce (or tamari if you’re vegetarian) and some dried coconut, then bake in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes. The best kale dish I’ve had!
Root vegetables are starchier than above-ground vegetables and help to ground us in this time of transition. Beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips are great chopped, topped with olive oil and your favorite herbs and spices and roasted in the oven until soft.
It is finally apple season, and while enjoying an apple raw with a little nut butter or cheese is delicious, so is baking with a little coconut oil and cinnamon. Yumm!
A great dinner that can be adapted for vegans and meat-eaters, you can cook once and eat a few times, which is always a plus! Try swapping in a fall vegetable like butternut squash in place of a more traditional summer vegetable like peppers.
There is also the tendency to indulge in larger portions as the weather cools, so it is important to practice mindful eating to make sure you are eating just what your body needs and no more.