For those of you on the west coast where temperatures are still in the 80’s, this post will be relevant to you in a few weeks. However, for my friends over here in the east, we have officially entered the season of Vata and you may be finding that you’ve begun feeling the effects of the fall season that is now upon us. Energetically, the expansiveness of the summer season is now descending, contracting, moving inward, shedding. This shift can leave many of us feeling the effects of seasonal change in the fall more so than any other season. Maybe you’re feeling a little more mentally scattered? Ungrounded? Maybe your skin is beginning to feel dry and itchy? Here are some foods to help bring you back down to earth and into your body.
1. Leafy Greens – Yea I know you’ve heard it all before. Leafy greens are great year round, but the hearty greens we get from now through the winter like kale, swiss chard, and beet greens are great for cleansing the body of toxins and added much needed nutrients like iron, calcium, and vitamin A. Try them sauteed with chopped fresh garlic and olive oil.
2. Squash – My favorite is delicata, roasted in olive oil and herbs of your choice for about 30 minutes, topped with (you guessed it) leafy greens and pumpkin seeds or walnuts. Play around with different herbs and spices like thyme, rosemary, sage, cinnamon, and nutmeg, noticing what flavor combinations most appeal to you.
3. Pungent foods – These hot and spicy foods help to clear toxins that have been building up in our bodies over the summer. Incorporate more hot peppers, ginger, chilies, garlic, onions…you get the idea.
4. Root veggies – Roasted root vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, and carrots are the perfect food for fall because they combine the earthiness of the vegetables with longer cooking times, energetically locking more heat into the food. Here’s a recipe I posted previously for a Roasted Root Salad.
5. Healthy fats – As the air gets cool and crisp, so do your skin and internal organs. For healthy, glowing skin and mucus membranes, make sure to get enough healthy fat and oil in your diet. Think nuts + seeds, olive, coconut, and flax oils, etc. Get creative. Add oils to your smoothies, drizzle walnut oil over your roasted veggies, add pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds to yogurt or oatmeal. Think of moisturizing from the inside out! Fats also help our bodies to feel more grounded and insulated during the cold winter months. To be clear, this doesn’t mean necessarily gaining weight, but just adjusting how you nourish yourself. Allow yourself to eat warmer, heavier meals from now through winter.
Fall is a great time to turn your focus inward, learn new ways to nourish and feed yourself, and begin to build your energy reserves for the coming winter. But it’s also a great time of year to get out in your community, visit nearby farms to get your produce, go apple-picking, make your own cider, and start experimenting with fall foods and flavors. Try new fruits and vegetables you come across and please share your favorite fall recipes!