It is early fall and the mornings arrive, clean and clear as a bell. Apples unburden themselves on roadsides and a deep flush rises in the throat of the hydrangea bush. The fervor of summer has passed, replaced by a quiet and dutiful energy. Back to school, back to work, back to routine. Around this time each year I like to give my body the briefest of re-sets. I think of it as retuning my instrument–a day of more reverent eating and practice to honor the shift in season. It’s not so much about cleansing, but rather, an invitation to myself to bring more awareness to how I structure a day, what I put in my mouth, and how I focus my energy. If you are feeling a little sluggish or scattered in your return to “normal” life, I hope this simple guideline for a day of re-grounding will be useful to you. Feel free to extend it for a few days, or even a week, adding some variation to your meals. If these particular recipes don’t speak to you, keep the following general guidelines in mind:
-Pull back a bit from sweets, caffeine, and alcohol, which can add to the anxious, scattered feeling that many of us feel in the fall. If you’re craving sweet tastes, go for naturally sweet, seasonal foods like carrots, beets, apples, pears, and the early winter squashes.
-If you’ve been trending towards raw foods in the hotter months, start to incorporate more cooked food now, especially in the morning. When in doubt, eat seasonal foods, which these days will likely be a combination of juicy, raw summer foods and earthier fall vegetables that require cooking. See if you can get a bit of both seasons in each meal.
-No matter the season, I am a huge advocate for soup as your last meal of the day when trying to lighten the load on your system. Soup–especially pureed soups–are easy for your body to digest and are a great way to get a lot of nutritional value in a single meal. They are versatile, satisfying, and nourishing.
The Night Before
A cup of roasted dandelion tea before bed to help stimulate liver detoxification. If you have the liberty, remove your phone from your room and plan to wake up naturally or with an analog alarm clock.
A cup of warm water with lemon
5 minutes of meditation, 5 deep breaths, or 10 sun salutation
1 cup coffee or tea (reduce or take out any sweetener you normally use)
Savory Oats: Combine 1 cup water, 1/2 cup rolled oats, & a pinch of salt in a small pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until water is absorbed. About 10 minutes. While your oats are cooking, sautee or steam 1 cup spinach or other green vegetable. Place the oats in a bowl, top with cooked greens. Add a sprinkle of any fresh herb you have on hand and drizzle with 1 T toasted sesame oil or 1 T extra virgin olive oil. Season with sea salt and eat. Other good additions are: 1/2 small avocado, 1 medium boiled egg, 2 T raw cultured vegetables, sprinkle toasted sesame seeds or other nuts/seeds.
Drink warm water and herbal teas throughout the day. Avoid very cold beverages.
Kitchen Sink Salad: Combine 1 cup cooked beans with 1/2 a small cucumber, chopped; 1/4 cup sliced tomato; 1 cup spicy salad greens; 1/2 cup cooked starchy veg like carrots, beets or winter squash; 1 scallion or small shallot, thinly sliced. Make a dressing by whisking together 1 t dijon mustard, 1 T apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and a scant 1/2 t honey. Season with salt. While whisking, drizzle in enough olive oil to emulsify the dressing. Taste, adjust ratios as needed. Dress salad, stir toss well and eat. Add 4oz animal protein or 2oz cheese as desired.
Non-cardio exercise. Go for a walk or a hike or enjoy some other form of movement such as yoga. Go for slow and steady exertion as opposed to high intensity cardio activity.
Green soup: Heat 2 T coconut oil, ghee or olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 chopped onion and 1 smashed garlic clove and sautee until onions are fragrant and translucent. Add 1 cup peeled, chopped potato and cover with 2 cups low sodium organic broth of choice. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and cook until potatoes are just cooked through. Add 3 cups de-stemmed, chopped kale and cook until kale is bright green and just cooked through. Remove from heat, let cool slightly then pour into a blender and puree to desired consistency, using more broth or coconut milk to thin as needed. Taste, add salt & pepper, and either return to pot to re-heat or eat right away. Serve over 1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa for heartier meal, or with a buttery slice of your favorite whole grain toast.
1 cup relaxing or bedtime herbal tea
10 minutes before sleep put away your electronics. Lie on your bed or on the floor with your hips 6 inches from the wall. Put your feet up the wall, extending your legs in such a way that it doesn’t require effort to rest their weight on the wall. Move your hips closer or farther from the wall until you find the right spot. Place a pillow behind your head for comfort. Stay here for 10-15 minutes.