Welcoming in our Autumnal delights!
In Autumn we're greeted with such abundance and nourishment, reaping the rewards of the laborious winter preparation, spring sowing, and summer nurturing. Reflected both in the garden and within ourselves.
As a period of transition, autumn gives us the space to gently drift towards winter. It’s a good time to re-evaluate, make decisions and start new projects. It can also be the perfect time to start slowing down, to rest, to breathe and to strengthen our immune system after what can often be a very busy summer! Along with this intent of nurturing and new beginnings, we can choose to prepare and pair our food in a way that complement one another to balance the body's energy shift.
In this veg display we have lots of warm earthy colours, coming mainly from the root veg, complemented with a selection of luscious fresh greens, growing upwards and away from the ground. A combination of both expansive and contractive types of food, balancing each others qualities out to create a harmonious energy. The food we eat everyday is a major factor as to whether or not our bodies and moods become too calm, expanded and ungrounded, or too heavy and contracted. Bearing this in mind, it's good to become familiar with and to raise our awareness of the energetics of food and how it makes us feel. Over time, this will become a very intuitive part of your food gathering and preparation process, slipping into alignment with all aspects of life on earth that are continuously busy balancing these two natural opposing forces.
As mentioned in my previous post back in July, during summertime I tend to be drawn more toward light, raw, fresh and easily digested foods - bringing with them more expansive qualities - cooling, high energy, light in feeling, openness, etc. As we transition into autumn I'm starting to recognise where I feel the need to bring in more grounding, heavier, cooked foods. I'm certainly not doing away with greens and leafy veg, with their amazing all year round availability in the UK, I'm simply learning to nurture my body by introducing more variety and methods of preparation. The balance between contractive and expansive foods will be different for everyone - according to the seasonal transitions, moods and behaviours, our constitution or simply by a personal preference we may have. It may change with the seasons, day by day, meal by meal or it might not change at all. Furthermore, our food choices can be used situationally to provide fuel for the body in situations where we might want to relax and find calmness, or in contrast, where we might want to be more focused and physically active. Our balance, whatever that may look like for each of us, might also mean that we are drawn to one, and rarely or never the other - cooked or raw, contractive or expansive -, as long as we're able to keep the body in a state of health and wellbeing that feels nourished and good for us.
Over time, I've recognised that I can't take a lot of cooked food, anytime of the year, with the heaviness quickly taking me out of balance. At the same time, I've noticed how my energy can quickly change and how ungrounded and disconnected I can feel when I've followed a mainly raw diet for some time - and yet it's a way of preparing and eating that I find quite addictive! With the dawn of Autumn, bringing with it cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours, I'm learning to re-introduce cooked foods gently, whilst working on feeling comfortable in my body with this shift, and using the expansive foods to balance the heaviness out, without becoming too expanded in my nature. Autumn allows for this time to listen more from within, to recognise what has and hasn't worked, to nurture oneself into winter and to align with the nourishment of the seasons.
Here's a simple meal I really enjoyed preparing - mainly due to the amazing colours of the veg (the preparation and display of this meal was enough to make me feel nourished!). The lettuce, carrots, radishes and tomatoes were prepared raw and the beetroot, beans, courgette, onion and kale cooked and mixed together with some tricolour quinoa. It didn't take long, it didn't take a huge amount of thought and I loved every part of the cycle from gathering and preparing, to serving and sharing!
Once we can begin to appreciate and welcome in the delight that autumn offers us, through its beautiful and warming golden colours and nourishment, our own picture around food, nutrition and our own sense of self and wellbeing can suddenly be very exciting and full of nurturing potential.