During autumn, we start seeing changes all around us: leaves change color and hit the ground, the weather gets milder, days gets shorter, and we often get more introspective. It’s also a time to let go of some summer activities, like going to beach, sipping on cocktails by the pool, or attending countless happy hour gatherings. Just like trees let go of their leaves, we must let go of some habits in order to build new ones that are more supportive to our health and immune system.
Ancient modalities like Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine teach us to counterbalance energies from the environment around us that can influence our health and well-being. As the weather gets windy, dry, and cool during the fall, we can choose to counterbalance these energies by modifying the way we dress — and also modifying the way we eat. Choosing warming, healthy fats and hearty foods can help us stay grounded and healthy during the season.
Winter squashes are harvested in the fall; these hardy vegetables grow on vines resting on the ground. Eating these vegetables can help you stay grounded during fall’s erratic changes. Of course, some also know autumn as Halloween and pumpkin season. Stay away from sugary, nutrient-empty Halloween candies and all commercial pumpkin-flavored lattes and other highly processed treats. For a naturally sweet autumn treat, try steamed apples and pears sprinkled with ghee and cinnamon. And, of course, eat things like actual pumpkin and sweet potatoes. Even though pumpkin is considered a starchy vegetable, it’s a Paleo-friendly, low-carb, high-fiber veggie. (Try this amazing pumpkin hummus recipe.)
To go beyond winter squashes during autumn, choose artichokes, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, fennel, green beans, leeks, and root vegetables. These vegetables are high in fiber and can help you maintain regularity during fall’s dryer season. For more ideas, check out our list of 13 essential fall fruits and veggies.
Root vegetables in particular can help curb your sugar cravings. Try having a side dish or adding a few chunks of either roasted, steamed, baked, or grilled sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, turnip, or beet into your salad for lunch — and you might not feel the urge for a cupcake around 4 in the afternoon. Eating root vegetables can help you to stay, well, rooted and grounded during the fall season. (Try this delicious sweet potato and apple medley recipe.)
Autumn is also a time when our immune system needs extra support, so having warm foods can help boost your immune system — and, of course, make you feel cozy and warm. A nice cup of organic chicken soup or bone broth can do the trick. Add vegetables, garlic, and spices like turmeric to soups and any other dishes for their natural antioxidant, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory properties and have a cold-free season. Garlic is in peak during August, but it stores well in an open ventilated container in a cool, dark place for up to three months or during the entire fall season.
Thanks to its mild weather and beautiful foliage, autumn is a great time to get outside and pick your own fruits and veggies, especially apples and pumpkins. Enjoy!