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Autumn foods as medicine.

Why should we eat foods that are in season?

Eating seasonally is something our grandparents and ancestors did. For one, they did not have much choice and also it was inbuilt in their way of life. These days we have lost touch with this basic and natural principle, with so much choice on our hands.

So why should we get back to eating seasonal foods?

Seasonal produce are the freshest and most nutrient dense when they have been allowed to grow and ripen in their appropriate season. They also taste much better! Your body and the environment can benefit from avoiding food that has been stored for long periods of time and may be subject to artificial preservation or ripening treatment, such as chemical, gassing or heat. Fresh and seasonal foods can be found in local markets, organic food stores and local food co-ops, which typically support local farmers, communities and a more sustainable and ethical way of food production and distribution.

And there is something about the natural pleasure of anticipation, the first slow cooked meal of the season, the first mango of the summer, the first berries of spring …

The foods that are encouraged to be eaten in the Autumn and Winter cycles are fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits with your wholegrain and pasture-raised protein or plant protein. In the cooler seasons, warm cooked meals over raw are preferable: steamed and poached fruits and veggies, soups and slow-cooked meals over salads. And this is what many of us tend to feel like eating anyway. What’s your gut feeling about this?

Many raw foods can generate phlegm and congestion in the body. Examples of these are refined wheat and sugary foods, dairy, citrus, avocado, bananas, peanuts and fatty meats like pork or duck. (No smashed avocado on toast in the winter time!) With lower temperatures, it is beneficial to reduce the cold and damp-producing foods. Our lungs and colon will be clearer and work more efficiently with less dampness and congestion. The digestive energy also slows down in the cooler months and so eating more pre-digested, cooked food with lots of aromatic herbs and spices is beneficial for our digestion.

What are the seasonal foods?

  • Seasonal fruits — Apples, pears (particularly good for lungs), plums, prunes, blackberries. Poaching these fruits are wonderful on top of your morning porridge or as a dessert.

  • Seasonal vegetables – pumpkin, squash, zucchini, leeks, parsnips, carrot, sweet potato and beetroot. Alongside any green leaf and green vegetables that are available.

  • Whole grains – particularly brown rice, barley, amaranth, rye, oats.

  • Aromatic herbs and spices – rosemary, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, paprika, ginger. Aromatic spices are warming, they increase digestion and circulation and they are also drying and clearing of phlegm and congestion.

Some examples of meals are;

  • Porridge with poached fruits with cinnamon and fresh grated ginger.

  • Baked beans with extra spices, onion and tomato

  • Shakshuka- a Middle Eastern dish. Look it up, you won't be sorry.

  • Steamed rice and seasonal vegetables with some kimchi, a poached egg or some fried tofu with a dollop of homemade mayonnaise or tahini, served with a cup of miso soup.

  • soups, stews, slow cooked meals, risotto, pies, quiches, broths etc

Enjoy the gathering of recipes and nutritious produce to cook the warm meals so nourishing and medicinal for your bodies this season.

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