This post will inspire you to eat seasonally this Fall, choosing delicious seasonal produce to keep you healthy, happy and balanced!
I’m sure you are familiar with the concept of eating with the seasons, or eating seasonal foods. This allows you to live a little closer with nature and makes it easier and cheaper to eat fresh produce. But when viewed through the lens of Ayurveda, there is much more to it than that.
According to Ayurveda, like encourages like and opposites bring balance. This is common sense, but people tend to overlook this in their daily lives until they find themselves completely out of balance.
Our bodies know that opposites bring balance and they push us to make the right decisions. For example, in the summer when it is hot and the air is heavy with humidity, we would likely choose to eat something cool and light for dinner, like a nice green salad rather than a big hot bowl of spicy chilly. However, on a dry, cold winter day, that chili would sound better than a cold salad. Our bodies know; however, sometimes we forget to listen to our own innate wisdom.
Seasons of Change
Where I live, Spring and Fall are the major seasons of change which tend to wreak havoc on people’s bodies. Just think about how common allergies and colds & flu are in these seasons. Ayurveda recommends some sort of seasonal cleansing, specifically for Spring and Fall for this very reason. In Spring, we need to get rid of the excess heaviness accumulated through the winter and in Fall we need to let go of excess heat from Summer and stay centered through the chaotic season.
As I write this, it’s Fall in my neck of the woods, so let's focus there. Depending on where you live Fall might look a little different and that’s okay, you will still get the gist (or Fall may be 6 months away, in which case save this and read it then).
Early Fall often starts hot, with the dregs of summer holding on. Weather can vary a lot from day to day; sunny and hot one day, cloudy, windy and cold the next (and back again). Later in Fall, we lose the heat and just have variable versions of cool and cold.
For many of us, this weather variation dries us up - dry eyes, dry skin and rashes. The changing weather also spurs us toward change in other aspects of life. So many people choose to declutter their homes, take a class or start a new project in the Fall. This can be a great use of the Fall energy, but it can also cause us to take on too much, leading to overwhelm and anxiety. This is why trying to stay in balance is so important, especially during the seasons of change.
The simplest way to live in balance with the energy of the season is to eat lots of in-season foods. Mother nature is trying to help us by providing foods that counteract the seasonal energy.
What’s in-season in Fall? Here are some of the most common foods I find at my local farmers markets:
Winter squash (butternut, acorn, spaghetti, etc.)
Potatoes (white and sweet)
In addition to all the wonderful seasonal produce, if you are a meat eater you will be happy to know that meat products would be considered more “in-season” in Fall and Winter. However, it’s still important that most of your food comes in plant form.
As the weather gets colder and the air gets drier, it is also important to stay warm and well hydrated. Do this by using warming spices in your meals (black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, garlic and small amounts of cayenne). Also, drink herbal teas throughout the day. Avoid iced drinks or too much caffeine or alcohol (and I know, we all have our own definition of ‘too much’ ).
If you don’t currently eat a lot of fresh produce, Fall is an excellent time to start! Get to your farmer’s market before they close for the season and stock up on some of the bounty (most of them have a great shelf life if you store them properly).
If you don’t know where to start in preparing some of the Fall harvest, let me give you just a little seasonal eating inspiration.
Oh my goodness there are so many good recipes out there!!
I encourage you to begin to bring balance to your life by eating in-season foods. Make them delicious. Eat them often. Feel great.
Let me know in the comments section what you are eating this Fall season.