Transition to Autumn: Fall Food Swaps

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For the third and final installment (check out the previous ones here and here) of how to make a smooth transition from summer to fall, I’m focusing on food swaps! How easy is it to get stuck in a food rut? You figure out what’s tasty and quick for breakfast–like fruit and yogurt–or a lunch that’s easy to take to work (salads are a breeze, aren’t they?) and you realize you haven’t eaten anything else! Fortunately, Nature’s all like “Hey, let’s switch it up a bit with what’s coming up from the earth,” and we have no choice but to follow suit.

Let Nature be your guide

This is always a good rule to follow, especially when choosing what to eat. Whatever food is in season is pretty much what your body needs. Think of all the amazing root veggies that are so bountiful this time of year: they’re warming and grounding for our systems. Apples and pears provide natural sweetness that sooth our minds, and our real draw to all that is Pumpkin Spice–which is really just a blend of nutmeg, cardamom, and cinnamon–is because those spices help stoke the internal fire as the weather cools.

So here are a couple swaps to make that support your system during the changing seasons.

Tortillas for Sprouted Wheat

Does anyone else go taco-crazy during the summer? Between all the fantastic Mexican food Chicago is home to, and the allure of patio margaritas, I find myself eating a lot of corn tortillas. In the summer, this makes perfect sense! Corn is light and easy to digest, which is great for warm weather, but try swapping corn tortillas for sprouted wheat, like Ezekiel Bread. Sprouted wheat lubricates joints in dry, cool fall, and keeps your energy up.

Raw Salads for Cooked Salads or Stews

Hot weather means our digestive fire is roaring: we have the capacity to power through raw veggies and assimilate their nutrients with ease. As the weather cools, so does that fire. We need food cooked–essentially partially digested–to get extract those same nutrients that our bods can use to keep us warm. I lived off this stew last winter: I had it for lunch and dinner for most of the season last year.

Coconut Oil for Olive or Sesame Oil

Coconut oil has inherent cooling properties. In fact, in Ayurveda coconut oil is the go-to oil for fiery Pitta to chill them out. For external use, try using sweet almond oil as a moisturizer and massage oil; this is awesome for keeping skin healthy and supple when cool weather tends to dry us out. For cooking, try raw sesame oil or olive oil; both have warming properties.

Yogurt for Oatmeal

Yogurt with berries is such an easy breakfast, isn’t it? It’s also so summery! But the berries that were so plentiful (and cheap!) at the market are now dwindling. We love yogurt in the summer because it has a cooling effect on the body. Cooked cereal, on the other hand, is fantastic for fall because of it’s warming and grounding qualities. Oatmeal especially keeps you full with fiber, and I love to mix in pumpkin puree and cinnamon for an extra cozy breakfast–it seriously tastes like pie. This recipe for Oatmeal with Almonds and Milk also looks hearty and delish.

This isn’t so much a substitution, but just…

Add Ginger

To everything. Oatmeal, sautees and stirfrys, soups and stews…ginger is just so versatile! Savory or sweet, fresh ginger stokes the digestive fire, helps your body assimilate nutrients in your food, helps remove toxins, improves circulation and a billion other things. Just eat it, a lot of it. Other nourishing spices included cardamom, cinnamon, sage, basil, mustard seed, tarragon, sage, thyme, cloves and so much more. Switch it up and experiment to keep interested in what you’re nourishing your body with.

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