Autumn is here and with the change in season comes shorter days and cooler weather. Thankfully in Australia, we don’t need to curl up and hibernate just yet! Autumn is the Earth’s way of telling us to slow down and alignment with nature, reconnect with the natural seasonal rhythm and embrace the seasonal produce that we have evolved to eat.
Here are my tips for the Autumn season.
1. Always buy food in season – Embrace the foods that Autumn offers, enjoy fresh apples, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sweet potato, figs, mushrooms…. Complete food guide here. Seasonally fresh produce is picked and packed when they’re ripe and fully developed which means they contain higher levels of antioxidants and nutrients.
2. Boost your immune system – Now is the perfect time to boost your immune system. Autumn foods are vibrant, colourful and nourishing. The more colourful the fruit, the better it is for your immune system. Some of my favorite natural immune-boosting foods are garlic, citrus fruits, shiitake mushrooms and manuka honey. It should be noted that 70-80% of your immune systems is located in the gut. Probiotic foods such as sauerkraut and kefir may be benefical to bring your gut flora back into balance, thus strengthening your immune system.
3. Embrace gentle movement – In summer it’s so easy to spend time outside, don’t let the cooler temperatures stop you from moving your body. One way you can keep moving during the cooler weather is to bring your activity inside such as yoga or pilates.
4. Talk to each other – Researchers have linked vitamin D deficiency to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – a form of depression that usually begins in the cooler months. Studies have shown that close friendships can help you stay mentally healthy, so find some time to chat with a friend over a hot cup of chai – it’s not only good for your friendship, but good for your health.
5. Aligned with the season – Autumn allows us to slow down and enjoy some internal evaluation and reflection. Spend some quality time at home by soaking in a baths, watching movies, drinking herbal tea, or catching up on some reading.
Beetroot and Wild Fennel Soup
500g fresh beetroot (skin left on)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 apple, finely chopped
1 large fennel bulb finely chopped
1 garlic clove
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
ghee, for frying
natural yogurt, to serve
1. Put the beetroot in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook until tender and the skins easily peel off. This can take from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the beetroot. Discard the skins and chop the flesh into pieces small enough to fit in your blender.
2. Melt a little ghee in a pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, apple, fennel and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and almost transparent. Add the stock and continue cooking for a few minutes.
3. Put the beetroot and stock mixture into a blender and blend until smooth, or leave it a bit chunkier it you prefer. Season to taste and serve with a dollop of yogurt and some chopped fennel on top.
This recipe was inspired by James Duigan. It appears in his ‘Clean and Lean for Life’ cookbook.
I hope that these tips help you to stay happy, strong and healthy this season.