So as I was biking home from the clinic along the waterfront trail yesterday, I was suddenly pelleted by a steady stream falling yellow leaves. All over my face, in my lipstick, stuck in my bike helmet.
Yup, fall is here.
We have four distinct seasons here in Canada, and I find that my life is better when I try to keep myself balanced during them. Here are some tips to keep you warm and balanced in the time before WINTER IS COMING (sorry, couldn’t resist).
1. Let go. Fall is a great time to let go of things that no longer serve you as you prepare for the slower, more hibernating vibe of winter. Even as those trees let go of their leaves all over me, they were letting go of what they no longer need. So I ask you, what are you ready to give up?
2. Be yin. Spring and summer were all about brightness, motion, upward movement and celebration… these are all described as being yang. The fall and winter, however, are yin, the passive, grounding, slower, darker, downward and inward moving times. The times when we naturally want to sleep a little more. The times when we especially want to do a little yin yoga. The times when I like to switch out my super energizing music to something a little more vibey (and yin), like Timber Timbre, Local Natives and Father John Misty and get on hosting cozy dinner parties.
3. Keep your body warm. This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s important. It’s also not just about bundling up in a sweet scarf. I’m talking about eating and drinking warmer foods, too (think more delicious spiced teas, roasted veggies and soups). I’m also talking about returning to your bathtub for a warm soak (and I particularly like ginger essential oil mixed in with some Epsom salts). When you get out of the tub, rub a warming and softening oil on your bod, such as almond or untoasted sesame oil.
4. Remember your lungs. In alternative medicine, fall is the season of the lungs. Lung tissue is super delicate and prone to irritation, especially as the weather cools. Chinese medicine says that immunity largely depends on the health of your lungs. So, while you’re bundling up with a sweet scarf, also try to breathe deeply through your nose. Try this: take a big inhalation through your nose, and feel your rib cage expanding in both your front and back body. Exhale and repeat. Emotionally, lungs are related to grief. Holistically, holding onto things like anger, sadness and resentment can manifest as lung issues in the colder months, so it’s important to let things go!
5. Eat some orange things. See this soup? It’s amazing. I made it the other week for a cozy dinner with a friend and froze the rest. And last week when I felt like I could, maybe catch the cold that everyone seemed to have, I reheated a bowl and added a raw chopped up garlic clove. When I woke up the next morning, I had no cold to speak of. Here’s the recipe for this orange, immune loving, antioxidant containing, grounding, house filling, wonderful smelling, delicious soup.
Coconut Curried Root Vegetable Soup
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 small celery root (also known as celeriac, and available at many grocery stores at this time of year), peeled and roughly chopped
1 small turnip, unpeeled if organic, roughly chopped
2 regular parsnips, unpeeled if organic, roughly chopped
1 large sweet potato, unpeeled if organic, roughly chopped
1.5 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cayenne (if you like a little spice)
1 can coconut milk (Native Forest is great, as its cans are BPA-free)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
ginger to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the coconut oil in a soup pot and add the onion, carrots and garlic. Stir for a minute or two and add the curry powder, turmeric and cayenne powder (if using) and around 1 tsp of Celtic sea salt. Add the turnip, parsnips, sweet potato and celery root and stir to combine. Cover with water and bring to a boil. When veggies are soft (around 15-20 minutes), remove pot from heat and add coconut milk. Allow to cool a bit. Blend and return to pot. At this point, feel free to grate in a little ginger to taste. Serve with lime wedges and fresh cilantro.
Note: this soup also freezes beautifully. I’m a huge fan of portioning it out into small mason jars and pulling one from the freezer whenever the mood strikes (or I’m too busy to cook dinner).
- Spices – turmeric is the spice that gives curry powder its vibrant yellow/orange colour. It’s an antioxidant and anti inflammatory powerhouse. In India, turmeric is known as a protective powder that can help to protect the tissues from disease and viruses. In addition, curry powder contains cumin (which is a good source of iron and improves digestion), coriander (a good source of iron and energy producing and nervous system soothing B vitamins).
- Root vegetables – root veggies, especially the colourful ones, are a perfect and warming source of energy once the temperature cools. The orange guys are a good source of beta carotene, the precursor to vitamin A (an antioxidant vitamin). Root veggies are also extremely grounding and contractive which is just what we need during this time of year. As I mentioned earlier, this is a time when nature is grounding itself and pulling its own energy in for the upcoming winter months. Our food choices mirror this, as we instinctively crave more grounding root veggies.
- Onions and garlic – both contain germanium, a powerful immune stimulant. For extra immune love, add some raw garlic to your soup to fight off nasty colds!
Wishing you a balanced fall full of healthy and delicious things. xo Andrea