I was at the grocery store this week and saw the first signs of fall…apples and pears!
Welcome to fall. Ok, officially the new season begins on September 23rd, but we’re already feeling it here in Austin, TX. We spent four months drenched in sweat from100+ temps and for the past week it has been raining like crazy with temps dipping into the 70’s & 80’s. It feels like a cold front! And yes, I’m actually wearing pants for the first time since May!
Another sign that things are changing is that summer break is officially over and school traffic is in full swing. As new schedules take hold, we collectively look towards the increasing fur on our horses’ coats and a calendar of indoor shows. Goodbye open spaces and bright sunshine. Hello cramped quarters, artificial air and overcast skies. But how do we effectively stay balanced while we begin to transition into shorter and cooler days?
One thing we can do is to take a look at our diets. You’ll begin noticing that the foods that were once abundant this summer are changing as well. At the markets and stores, we’ll now be seeing more root vegetables, squash, lots of onion and garlic, pears and apples and our food menus will include more nuts and seeds and lots of warming herbs and spices.
In spite of my love for all things fall, these seasonal transitions can wreak havoc on our bodies and create internal dysfunction for our immune systems. What to do? Start tuning into your body and listen to what it needs.
Here’s a little clue…according to Chinese medicine beliefs, if we ingest too many cold and raw foods during this time – ie, the cold melons and chilled foods that make up the bulk of our diets in the summer months – we can put our bodies at risk for catching colds and flus.
Here are a few suggestions, including foods, herbs, spices and oils, to add into your routine as the weather begins changing:
Time to make some soup
If you haven’t jumped onto this craze yet, it might be time. It’s super easy to make, but it’s also readily available from a variety of retailers. I’m talking about grass-fed, bone broth. This is my go-to ‘liquid gold’ when I’m hungry for soup and looking for an extra, nutrient-rich food source. It’s full of protein, minerals (we’re often depleted of these during times of stress) and amino acids. It can improve your digestion, immunity, energy levels as well as improve our hair, nails and skin from the collagen in the broth.
Another favorite soup of mine is miso soup. It’s the yummy broth made from miso paste (fermented soy), with hot water, tofu, seaweed and scallions. It’s super nourishing and takes minutes to prepare. It’s full of good bacteria (probiotics) that will boost your immune system.
Warming Herbs & Spices
I LOVE ginger. I usually make a tea from fresh ginger root, a little honey (moistens the lungs and coats the throat; great for coughs) and hot water. If you want a creamy warm tea, add in a few splashes of coconut milk. Delish! Ginger has so many uses - it’s anti-inflammatory, protects the liver and can ease pain and cramps. I also toss grated ginger in as many recipes as possible, including stir fries, sauces, soups, etc. Carrot ginger soup is easy to make and oh so satisfying. Saute onions and ginger, add in carrots and cook in broth for 20 mins, add in seasonings. Last step is to puree with a hand blender and top with fresh sage, pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin seeds for an extra boost of flavor.
Cinnamon is one of those warming spices that does so much to the flavor of drinks and foods. Ever notice it’s included in so many fall food recipes? It’s great in both sweet and savory dishes. I love it because it helps to balance blood sugar and is a wonderful, natural anti-inflammatory.
Meet the Alums
These wonder foods make everything you prepare taste great! Think of them as the building blocks for all your savory recipes. The alum family - garlic, onion, scallion and radish - are detoxifying, anti-inflammatory as well as immune boosting. While an apple a day does help to keep the doctor away, we would be remiss in not mentioning these garden variety powerhouse foods!
Favorite Essential Oils
We love peppermint and eucalyptus oils since they’re included in many of our Equestrian Wellness personal care products. If you’re feeling the onset of a cold /flu, sprinkle a few drops of each of these oils on the floor of your shower and steam away or, simply add to a soaking bath. These special oils will help loosen up any phlegm and will warm your system.
Don’t Forget all Natural Vitamin D
This magical vitamin has been upgraded in recent years from vitamin status to hormone! And research has told us that there is a direct correlation between our Vitamin D stores and a healthy immune system. Without sunlight, our stores of Vitamin D are depleted. The best way to get Vitamin D is from limited sun exposure…just 15 – 30 minutes a day can help you make this magical vitamin / hormone naturally. For those of us who don’t have an opportunity to catch some rays during daylight hours, a Vitamin D liquid supplement is best. Natural food sources of Vitamin D include fatty fish, beef liver, and egg yolks.
Have questions about creating a fall nourishment roadmap? Not sure what you should or shouldn’t be eating? What to buy at the grocery store and how to prepare it once you’ve brought it home? Unsure about how to integrate the new fall foods into your busy schedule? Give us a shout. We’re here to listen and give advice…firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feel well, ride well.