Nutrition & Self Care: Autumn Edition
The peppers have been picked and the flowers hung to dry, the wood-fire stove is lit; and the crisp autumn air has signaled that change is upon us. After weeks of pickling, drying, and preserving the last of our garden’s bounty, it’s now time to decompress at mother nature’s will, our diets & routines shifting with the seasonal demands of our homestead.
The time from the autumn equinox to the winter solstice is considered a lunar resting tide, which moves in after the reaping tides of summer. The resting tide asks that we slow down to reflect on what we’ve cultivated & harvested, and begin to find new balance among shifting elements within our environment by nourishing ourselves. To move through this part of the seasonal cycle, embrace this invitation to rest, tend to your health, and lend space for nourishment & reflection.
Autumn Diet & Nutrition
In order to maintain balance and stay in good health when we move into the colder months & shorter days, we want to consume foods and fluids that will promote balance within our bodies. In Ayurvedic terms, we move from the pitta-ruled months of summer into the vata-ruled season of Autumn. With the vata season arriving in late October and characterized by cold, dry, and light, you’ll want to seek warmth & moisture via sweet, oily, spicy, and salty flavors to balance.
Look to the garden & orchards for guidance.
Enjoy apples and pears raw, or in pies & crisps; and incorporate warming spices such as ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom. Winter squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables are all nourishing foods that should make an appearance at the table, alongside moist and heavy foods.
Get your nutrients through broths & soups.
Broths, stews, and soups are a great way to get nutrients and warm up in the fall. Incorporate mushrooms; greens like kale, bok choy, or cabbage; and bump up the spice level. This is the time to give that pho, ramen, curry, or miso recipe a try! (I’m a Bon Appétit subscriber myself and plan to give this simple Miso Corn Soup a try.)
Try warm & nourishing beverages.
The cold & dry vata weather causes sluggish digestion and circulation, so avoid cool fluids and seek warm beverages with anti-inflammatory or immune boosting properties. Find this support from ginger, lemongrass, turmeric, and elderberry; and give your tea a hint of autumn with apple, orange, or cinnamon. Chai, anyone?
Self-Care for Autumn
The smell of wet, decaying leaves is something that grounds me in the calendar – a scent that excites my desire for hibernation and lets it be known that the year is coming to an end. The shift of seasons and daylight means it’s time to reassess and strategize self-care routines. What worked for summer may no longer have a place. Perhaps you’re spending a little more indoors, cooking at home more, exercising less, etc. Take this time in the season to reevaluate your routines and invite in new ones. Change with the season.
Resting tide reflections.
With stillness and quiet you can hear the internal bubblings that will propel you into growth, transformation, and creativity. Use journaling, meditation, or conversations to reflect on the season behind you and the road ahead. On a mental level, this new resting tide is asking you to take stock of where you’re at. Have your harvests left you feeling a sense of accomplishment or depleted?
Are you ready to slow down with the season? What can you do with the strength you’re gathering through this season’s rest? Yes, this is a time to reflect, but the learnings are all here to guide you on to the next part of the cycle.
Tend to your living space.
Take the time to declutter your living space and get it ready for a little nesting. Start by swapping out your seasonal clothes, organize your spice rack, donate old goods, or put effort into cozifying your space. Arrange your home to support your relaxation & well-being, and let it be your sanctuary. This is the time to slow down, be easy with yourself, and wind down with the sun in an environment that nurtures you.
Layer up, take a walk, and breathe with nature.
The leaves are falling, the days are shorter, and death in the garden has come to remind us of the imminent cycles of nature that we are also a part of. When it comes to self-care in the fall, make time to enjoy this fleeting nature of the season by taking walks or exercising outdoors. Incorporate outdoor activities in your fall routine, and make the most of the waning daylight.