It is my great pleasure to introduce you to fellow Prana team member and this month’s guest blogger, Martina Biljan. In addition to being a phenomenal yoga teacher and having formerly worked in the corporate world, Martina is also a registered holistic nutritionist (RHN) who believes in the power of healing through food and is passionate about sharing this information with others. This month she will help you celebrate autumn by showing you ways to adapt and adjust as we head into the cold of winter.
FEED INTO FALL
by Martina Biljan, RHN, RYT
Boots, scattered leaves, school books, sweaters, and pumpkin spiced everything… these are just a few signs that summer has slipped away and the crisp fall season has crept up on us. Fall is a transition season that is reflected beyond the colourful bouquet of leaves. Balancing our own body with nature helps with adjusting to seasonal changes and alleviates any shock to the system, as the winds pick up,temperatures drop and the air begins to dry. Altering the way we eat gives the body a chance to prepare for the impending demands of our upcoming winter weather.
Summer is a season of light, airy, expansion, while autumn helps us move into the retreat, grounding and contraction energy that winter brings. Our food choices will drastically change from light summer salads to warming and grounding root vegetables. Here are a few ways to help ease this transition and embrace this season of colour!
Fall is about nourishing warmth and focusing on the core. In order to stay warm, the body will bring blood away from the extremities and start to focus on protecting the vital organs. Hearty and substantial meals will help bring this warmth back to the core. As our bodies are naturally aligned with nature, look for foods that reflect the colours of the season – orange, yellow, red and brown. Ingredients such as gourds (pumpkin, squash), root vegetables (beets, carrots, parsnips, potatoes), spices (turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin), and oils (pure olive, avocado, coconut), will satiate the taste buds and the body’s natural desire for warmth.
As we begin to ground ourselves through our diet, it is also an opportunity to grow our own roots and connect inwards. We are moving away from the outdoor social season of summer, and retreating indoors back to our homes and sanctuaries. During this time of inner reflection, empower yourself by bringing awareness to your environment. Observe how change is happening around you,with relationships, your body, and nature. When things begin to get hectic and you feel overwhelmed, bring your attention back to your feet, ground yourself, and feel “rooted” back to earth.
Although these transitional steps are moving us through the season, take your time finding a balance that works for you. Fight the urge to disappear into your home straight away. Embrace the flow of Fall and it’s fluctuations in weather. At the start of the season, there are still spectacular sunny days filled with crisp air begging you to take a hike on a trail, run through the forest, or jump in a pile of leaves. So, get outside! On those colder rainy days, bring your activities inwards. Create a sanctuary of warmth and indulgence with environmentally-friendly candles, incense, essential oils and inviting blankets. Practice meditation, breathing and yoga. Cozy up with a cup of tea and read a book. Towards the end of the season, spend time cooking in preparation for the winter months so when the extreme cold creeps in, you are equipped with wholesome, earthy meals. Focus on yourself so you are ready for the heavy weight that winter can create.
Fall can be a fickle season throwing us from one thing to another. The weather can change as fast as the colour on the leaves and we move from long bright sunny days to short and dark ones. Try to find fun in the flow and experiment with foods that feed and nourish you through this transitional phase.
Here are some recipes for fall:
Roasted Root Vegetables:
Pick local and organic where possible to ensure you are getting the most nutrient-dense and toxic-reduced options.
– 4 carrots
– 4 parsnips
– 2 beets (peeled)
– 2 potatoes
– 2 sweet potatoes
– one onion
– 2 cloves of garlic (or as many as you enjoy!)
– 1.5 tablespoon of organic virgin coconut oil
– 1/2 teaspoon of tumuric
– 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
– 1/2 teaspoon of ginger
– 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
– salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Chop all vegetables to equal size. Garlic cloves can be left whole if desired. Place chopped vegetables into a roasting pan. Season evenly with spices. Coat the vegetables with coconut oil by tossing in the pan. Ensure all vegetables are coated and distributed evenly to avoid crowding. Roast for 40-45 minutes, depending on the oven, or until tender. Check and stir every 15 minutes.
Make sure they are not over cooked, as this will loose vital enzymes and nutritional value. Stir before serving and enjoy!
This is a delicious and detoxifying drink to start adding towards the end of the season. It has been used for centuries for its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, liver detoxifying, and immunity boosting benefits.
– 4 teaspoons of organic turmeric powder
– 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
– ½ teaspoon of group black pepper
– ½ cup of filtered water
– ½ cup of almond/coconut/hemp milk (whichever you prefer)
– 1 teaspoon of organic virgin coconut oil
– raw honey (sweetness to taste)
Mix turmeric, cinnamon, pepper and water well in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir consistently until the mixture forms a thick paste. Do not allow to boil over. Take off heat and cover. Let it stand for 10-15 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except the honey. Heat over medium heat and stir constantly. When mixed fully, take off the heat and allow to cool until tepid, then add honey to taste.
Curl up with a good book and enjoy!