This is the ultimate soup for fall! The sweet taste of the butternut squash and carrots nourishes, while the spices provide warmth and help with digestion. It’s delicious. And, bonus, you’re house smells amazing when your cooking it.
Makes 4-5 servings
2 tsp ghee (sub coconut oil for plant-based version) 1 onion, chopped 2 carrots, peeled and chopped 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp ginger 1/2 tsp turmeric 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp clove 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1” pieces 3 cups of water 1/4 tsp black pepper 1 cup coconut milk
Melt the ghee in a large soup pan on medium heat. Add the onion, and saute until soft and translucent. Stir in the carrots, cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and all of the other spices and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Add the butternut squash, stir for a minute, then add water. Bring to boil, then simmer, covered for 25 minutes. Remove lid, simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Turn off heat, and let soup cool slightly (about 5-10 minutes). Add the salt, pepper and coconut milk. Use an immersion blender to blend, or blend in a blender in batches.
As I write this, we have fully transitioned into the fall season. Temperatures have dropped. The air has become dry and windy. The sound of blowing leaves fills the air. The colors of nature have shifted from green to brown. The days are getting shorter. You also might have noticed that your schedule has become more busy and hectic, and you might be experiencing more anxiety. You might feel more spacey in your mind. In your body, you might notice symptoms like constipation, dry skin, cold extremities, cracking joints and dehydration.
In Ayurveda, autumn is known as vata season. Vata carries the characterics you notice in fall – cold, dry and mobile. In Ayurveda, opposites balance. So in the fall, you want to focus on qualities like warm, oily (opposite of dry in Ayurveda), and stability/groundedness. Below are some tips on how to do this to navigate your way through the fall season gracefully.
Focus on eating nourishing, grounding, well-cooked, well-spiced and well-oiled food. Include sweet, sour and salty tastes. Foods that are warm and liquid, like oatmeal, stews and soups are great for vata season. Eat meals at regular times every day. Stay hydrated by drinking Ayurvedic Gatorade (instructions below) and warm herbal teas. Reduce your intake of raw and dry foods like salads, cold smoothies, crackers, rice cakes and popcorn.
Well-oiled food – olive oil, coconut oil, ghee
Well-spiced food – pretty much all spices! I especially like, cinnamon, cumin, astofida (hing), ginger, garlic and turmeric
Sweet taste – root veggies, like sweet potatoes; winter squash, like butternut squash; and cooked grains, like basmati rice and quinoa
Salty taste – add pink Himalayan salt or mineral salt to your food
Sour taste – add a dash of lemon or lime juice to your meals; cook your oatmeal with dried raisins or dried cranberries
Healthy fats – all nuts and seeds
Ayurvedic Gatorade – to warm water, add a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of pink Himalayan or mineral salt
Think relaxing and grounding. Vata season is associated with the air element. When you imagine the air element, think more of movement, like the movement of the wind – what is called mobile quality. The opposite of mobile is stable and grounded. This is the time of year to consider slowing down, and to get a good night’s sleep.
Keep a consistent sleep schedule, getting 7-8 hours of sleep. This means getting up and going to bed at the same time everyday.
Do grounding practices like meditation, restorative and yin yoga
Stay warm, layer up, protect your head and hands on chilly days
Try to get 10-20 minutes of natural sunlight every day
When I was in India a few years ago, I visited an Ayurvedic doctor who recommended drinking CCF tea. I had never heard of CCF tea before – it’s an Ayurvedic digestive tea made up of cumin, coriander and fennel seeds (recipe below). I’ve been drinking it almost daily for over a year, and its made a big difference in my digestion, my eating patterns (less cravings and snacking) and the quality of my skin. CCF tea helps to strengthen digestion and metabolism, and has a gentle detoxification effect. In fact, its included in most Ayurvedic cleanses and purifies the blood. It’s also helpful for proper nutrient absorption, having a clear mind, healthy urination and weight loss. Personally, I notice I have better digestion, fewer cravings for snacks and a clearer complexion from drinking CCF tea. Plus, I like the taste, and enjoy having a warm beverage to sip on throughout the day.
You can buy premade CCF tea mix, but it’s cheap and easy to make your own. Make a large batch to keep on hand for everyday use. I usually make about a quart of CCF tea daily, keep it in a large insulated water bottle, and sip it throughout the day. Locally in Colorado, I buy the seeds at Natural Grocers. You can also order them online from Mountain Rose Herbs. During the summer, you can also enjoy this tea lukewarm (never ice cold!).
I use a french press to make CCF tea. Boil about a quart and a half of water, add to the french press along with the seeds. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Strain and enjoy at warm temperature. If you don’t own a french press, bring the seeds and water to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes, strain and drink. Optional, add honey to sweeten.
To make a large batch, mix about 1/2 cup of all of the seeds, then use a few teaspoons to make your daily brew.