Well, it’s been a bit since I’ve posted here. I’ve recently started a 2-3 year program to become an Ayurvedic practitioner. I’ll be sharing a lot more about that at a later time, but basically Ayurveda is an 5,000 year old system of health and wellness that originated in India. Needless to say, school had been a lot of time and a lot of work that I am just now starting to get in front of. They say that learning Ayurveda is like trying to drink water out of a firehouse, and they are right!
We are definitely in the thick of fall here in Colorado. The air is cold and dry, and all of the leaves have fallen. Thanksgiving and the holidays are right around the corner. This is the time of year to indulge in all of the fruits and vegetables that in season in the fall. The fruits and vegetables that are in season in your area are the ones that will be the freshest and tastiest, and have the nutrients your body needs for this time of year.
Fall just happens to supply some of my favorite fruits and veggies! First, all of the winter squash like butternut, buttercup, delicata, kabocha, acorn, spaghetti, and pumpkin of course. This is also a good time for sweet potatoes, parsnips, potatoes, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and beets. There are some delicious fruits in season now too, like apples, pears and pomegranates. Some of you might be lucky enough to live where persimmons are in season too.
As the weather gets colder and the air gets drier, this is the time to focus on making meals that are warming and hydrating, like soups and stews. Below is a simple recipe for a sweet potato lentil stew. Oatmeal is wonderful choice for breakfast. Be sure to include lots of warming spices into your meals like cinnamon, cloves and turmeric. At this time of year, try to avoid cold food and beverages like smoothies made with frozen fruit, raw salads and cold water. Instead of drinking cold water, sip on warm or hot water or herbal tea. If you notice your digestion is sluggish try adding some fresh ginger to your food, or drink a ginger tea.
In addition to eating warming foods and seasonal produce, I have a few other fall tips for health and happiness. First, if you find your house is dry from heating, use a humidifier. I like to use a few drops of grape seed oil in my humidifier for antimicrobial properties. This may seem obvious, but be sure that you are dressing warmly for both outdoor activities, and time spent indoors. I find that my body does best with cold weather if I spend time outdoors everyday. My dog Rosco and I go for a one hour walk everyday. Finally, this is the time of year that colds and flues go around. I like to be prepared for this by stocking up on elderberry supplements, throat coat and breathe easy herbal teas, manuka honey throat lozenges.
Recipe: Sweet Potato Lentil Stew
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 medium size sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup of lentils, soaked in water overnight*
32 fl oz container of organic vegetable broth**
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
Pinch of fennel seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large soup pot, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the diced onions, and saute until the onions are soft, about 5-10 minutes. Add all of the spices except the salt and pepper, stir and cook for another 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain the rinse the lentils.
Add the lentils and sweet potatoes to the onions, and stir. Cook for one minute. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, and cook covered with a lid for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid, and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve or its own, or over a bed of quinoa or basmati rice.
*can skip this, but the stew may take longer to cook
**or substitute with 4 cups of water