As we move into cooler weather, we start to see different foods come into season, and for good reason! Eating seasonally not only has a host of health benefits, but it helps the environment, supports the economy, and it tastes better.
I’m not a big fan of conventional grocery stores, where much of the meat and produce has traveled far too many miles, and are generally grown with chemicals to encourage a longer store (shelf) life.
These foods rapidly lose nutrient-density and vitality, something we need to stay metabolically active and healthy. I prefer to visit my local farmer’s market as well as order meats from trusted, local farms that I know use regenerative, healthy soil-based practices for the best tasting and nutritionally-packed foods.
Something else to note, in Ayurvedic medicine, the fall constitutes “Vata” season, which means we move into a dry, cold, light energy state. To help balance this energy, it is helpful to eat more foods that are warm and cooked (rather than dry and raw), as well as more sweet, sour and salty tastes.
My four absolute favorite fall foods are: beets, pumpkin, apples, and grass-fed lamb.
Beets are naturally-rich in folate, potassium, vitamin C and betaine, which may help to support healthy blood pressure, cardiovascular endurance, muscle performance and antioxidant function. They can be eaten raw or cooked, but in the fall season, it would be advised to steam or roast them to support Vata.
Eating pumpkin is an amazing post-workout recovery food because it’s high in potassium (which restores electrolytes and prevents muscle cramping) and vitamin A and folate (to support cell growth and renewal). I love adding organic canned pumpkin to a post-workout protein shake or yogurt for a sweet, creamy taste.
Apples are a great source of Vitamins B and C, fiber and phytonutrients. The combination of phytonutrients and vitamin C can help protect the body from free radicals and oxidative stress and also boost immunity as we move into the winter months. Another reason I personally love them: they aid in digestion! Stewed apples are delicious as a post-dinner dessert, or as an addition to a protein-fortified overnight oats bowl.
Finally, grass-fed lamb, though available year-round, is the most nutrient-dense in the fall months, and tastes a little sweeter and spicier. It’s a great source of omegas and CLA, selenium and zinc, which are helping in fighting the aging process, as well as improving immune and inflammatory responses in the body. Combining grass-fed lamb with any fall root vegetables is an easy and nutritious one-pot meal that will feed the whole family!
To make sure you are eating seasonally, visit your local farmer’s market to see what’s in stock. Your body will thank you!