Fall is the season where the long hot summer days gradually become shorter, and the leaves begin to change. Trees start to present us with their beautiful colors before they fall off in preparation for the coming winter. There’s a chill in the air that signals us to start putting away our summer clothes and get out our warmer clothing for the coming cold weather. We also begin to harvest and gather the brightly colored foods that ripen this time of year like pumpkins and winter squash. Its a time when we go from relaxed long carefree days to a more serious and introspective energy as the cycle of summer fruits turn to seed.
For many people, living and eating with the seasons is a foreign concept. Many people aren’t aware the foods they eat all year long actually have a season. In the US, we enjoy practically unlimited access to any food at any time of the year. However, it is this abundance that has led to a grand disconnection from our food.
Local and seasonal eating helps regulate our internal rhythm, connects us to both nature and our community as well as nourishes us on many levels. An apple that has traveled thousands of miles to reach you, will not be nearly as nutrient-rich or tasty as an apple grown within a few miles of where you live. Plus, doesn’t waiting for these foods to come into season, make them that much more enticing?
Fall is a wonderful time of year for seasonal eating in Sonoma County, food coming from the farms now are not only delicious but also incredibly calming and grounding. Seasonal eating provides a gentle transition into the darker months of winter. Foods that will warm your bones and your hearth.
Making these seasonal adjustments to our eating habits is an important way to stay grounded to the cycles of life.
A few ways to stay connected during this change from summer to fall are, eating less cooling foods, like raw salads, sugar and dairy. Longer cooking times and heartier ingredients are used in fall to help nourish the body and support the immune system. Since autumn is a season associated with wind and dryness, it’s important to incorporate more moisturizing foods into the diet. Fall energy is connected with the lungs. It’s a good time to be mindful of letting go of anything we may be holding on to. This makes room for new experiences that will help us grow and learn.
Incorporating more fats and oils into the diet helps reduce dryness and is beneficial to the digestive system. Use 1-2 plus tablespoons daily of extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, lard, or tallow. Drinking bone broth and adding nuts and seeds to your diet provide healthy protein and fat.
Fruits are best in moderation during the cooler months but moderate amounts of citrus, apple, grape, olive, fig, date, plum, and dried fruits are hardy and filling and could be added to your fall diet.
Raw vegetables should be minimized when balancing fall energy. Eat plenty wilted winter greens, asparagus, beets, and carrots, parsnip, sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower, potato, winter squash. Roasted and cooked with your choice of fat and sea salt.
Spices are a great way to warm the body during the cooling months, they also have an amazing benefit to our immune systems. They help keep the body healthy and their potent essential oils ward off colds and flu. Spices like: cardamom, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves, mustard seed, basil, asafetida, cilantro, fennel, oregano, sage, tarragon, thyme, and black pepper are all spices that will add a kick to your cooking and should be consumed liberally in the fall.
If we take the time to pay attention to mother nature, we notice that things are slowing down and preparing to rest. It is also important for us to do the same this time of year. Sleeping a bit longer, eating warming foods, snuggling our loved ones, and looking inward. This practice helps to replenish the over extended days of summer and gives our body a place for rest and renew.