Monday, October 10, 2011

Turning A New Leaf


After the short sweet days of our BC summer there is no question that autumn has arrived.  The nights may be cool but the beverages, are warm, sweet-scented and delicious. Can you smell the nutmeg, vanilla and hot apple cinnamon cider? What better way to celebrate and embrace the spirit of fall. I welcome the respite of my favorite and most glorious season. My toast to autumn!

"There is a time for everything and a season for every activity"....

The crisp autumn foliage blankets the cool ground in a remarkable kaleidoscope of colors: bright golden yellow and orange variegation on dazzling red stemmed leaves. Autumn is the time of harvest - to enjoy the fruits of our labor and a season to reflect, appreciate, acknowledge and express gratitude.

Are you adapting to the season or are you demanding that the season adapt to you?

Making the Transition: Keeping your body healthy and in "harmony" during the seasonal transition is possible. Obtaining transitional change does not only apply to esthetic changes. Fall is a perfect time to evaluate your personal growth: emotions, behavior, relationships, career and  spiritual life. Often times the seasons of our life is the catalyst that propels us towards greater change. Adopt new behaviors, build and restore relationships, renew the mind and harvest new ideas.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine and its philosophy of medicine; this season is the time to turn careful attention to the following organs: lungs, large intestine and skin. Many individuals experience severe bronchial challenges such as asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia during this time of year. Cold, flu, fever and allergies are the body's attempt to cleanse itself from toxins.

The Intestine & Immune Connection:

Digestive health and the immune system are inextricably linked. 70% of the body's immune system resides in the digestive tract, maintaining a healthy balanced digestive system is crucial in order to have a properly functioning immune system. This is an opportune time to cleanse the colon, nourish the skin and boost the immune system.

What should you eat during the autumn season? It is important to transition into eating warmer cooked foods during this time and keeping raw cool foods at bay. Eat seasonally to assist your body in the transition from summer into fall.  More to come later! 

Part II - Guide For Eating Seasonally: Let's get to the root!

Our body's naturally crave cooler and sweeter foods in the Spring/Summer and warming autumn harvest foods or "comfort foods" in the Fall/Winter. Autumn is the perfect time to enjoy a wide variety of nutrient dense nourishing foods. Things that grandma knew about that worked; Crock pot meals, roasting, baking, casseroles, soups and stews.

Bulb Vegetables:
These following vegetables are called bulb vegetables because the leaves are not eaten. They include: garlic, chive, water chestnut, spring onion, leeks and shallot. The bulb vegetables are distinctively aromatic and widely used to flavour soups, broths and casseroles. Some of the bulb vegetables, garlic for example, are also known for their medicinal properties.

Tuber Vegetables:
Tuber vegetables - any of various fleshy edible underground roots or tubers. They include the following: yam, manioc(yucca), sweet potatoes, potatoes, ginger, Jicama and Jerusalem artichoke.

Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables:
Apples, artichokes, arugula, blackberry, broccoli, beets, Brussels Sprouts, Belgian endive, cranberry, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, carrot, concord grapes, fennel, figs, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, leeks, mandarin, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, pears, persimmon, pomegranate, Swiss chard, turnips, winter squash.

Grains: nuts & seeds
Autumn also brings a fresh supply of grains such as; amaranth, barley, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, rice and rye. Beans include: adzuki, black eyed peas, garbanzo, kidney, lentil, Lima, navy and white. Nuts include: almonds, Brazil, cashew, filbert, macadamia, pecan, pine, pistachio and walnuts. Seeds: flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower.

A delicious autumn soup enjoy!

Quebec Pumpkin Soup
4 cups chicken broth
1 large onion
2 cloves, garlic minced
5-6 cups cubes pumpkin
2 peeled and cubed apples
2 potatoes peeled and cubed
3 tbsp butter
Dash sea salt
Dash pepper
1/2 tsp. allspice, cumin, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
Optional 1/2 cup cream (I prefer coconut milk)

Saute onions in butter until softened and begin to color, lightly brown. Add garlic and cook one minute to release flavor. Add apples, potatoes and pumpkin, chicken broth, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cover and cook for approximately for 45 minutes. Puree in blender, garnish and serve. Coconut milk may be added after you puree. May be served in individual roasted pumpkins.

Directions: Roasted Pumpkins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut off and reserving top, scooping out seeds and reserving. Cut flesh into 2-inch chunks and set aside.

In a small bowl combine ground spices with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle this mixture into pumpkin cavities, dividing evenly. Cut 1 tablespoon butter into bits and divide between pumpkins. Replace pumpkin tops and place pumpkins in a shallow roasting pan. Roast 30 to 40 minutes until tender when pierced with a knife but still intact. Remove from oven and set aside.

Spices: spices commonly used in the fall include: allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, ginger, fennel, turmeric. Include these aromatic spices to your fall meals.

Boosting Your Immune System Naturally:

1.  Eat Seasonally - warm hearty foods to strengthen digestion and boost the immune!

2.  Detox: Today more than ever, the human body is inundated with countless harmful toxins. These toxic substances can enter the body and eventually set up residence like an expected visitor. Over time this buildup can lead to significant lasting health problems. An impaired or compromised digestive system will affect  overall health and vitality and suppress immune system. Seasonal cleansing is highly recommended and beneficial for optimal health.   During the fall, cleanse the colon, lungs, nourish the skin & boost the immune.

3.  Skin Brushing -The ability of the skin to excrete toxins is of paramount importance. Stimulation of the skin set in motion natural healing pathways. Your skin is the primary sign of an internal toxic body. Skin brushing benefits include: sheds dead skin cells, increases circulation, increases flow of blood, rejuvenates the nervous system and stimulates lymph.

4. Rest - Longer nights means more time to rest. The body requires sufficient rest to function properly. Rest is imperative to living a healthy productive lifestyle. Ignoring the body's need to rest is putting yourself at risk for illness.

5. Relax  It is a scientific fact that lack of relaxation can have a negative affect on your mood;  grumpiness, less patient, irritable. So take an Epsom salt bath & enjoy a cup of herbal tea! Don't you agree?

6. Herbal support - Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to treat and support a variety of aliments. Some herbs that enhance immunity and have antiviral and antibacterial properties: Olive leaf, echinacea, garlic, golden seal, grapefruit seed extract.

7.Exercise: Take advantage of the weather and  get out there! The benefits of staying active regardless of the season is endless. Try walking, hiking, cycling, how about raking the leaves!

8. Probiotics: Improves gastrointestinal function, promotes healthy immune function, the beneficial bacteria helps to produce vitamins, digest foods and control overgrowth of bad bacteria and fungus. Strengthens, supports & maintains integrity of the digestive tract.

9. Warm Beverages: Chamomile is a therapeutic tea that has been around since ancient times. Relieve stress with a soothing medicinal cup of chamomile tea. It's anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic properties are highly valued. Also used for coughs, flu, cramping and insomnia. How about the fresh minty fragrance of peppermint. Helps to relieve flatulence, IBS symptoms and stimulates liver & gallbladder functions. Immune-boosting Lemon-ginger is full of phytochemicals and highly effective for the digestive system. Tea for two anyone?

10.Thankfulness/Gratitude: In all Seasons - give thanks in ALL circumstances and with a grateful heart.  May you always find yourself in a spirit of reflection, gratitude and thankfulness all year round.

Celebrate and embrace life, it's a gift! 

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