It’s the Shifting Season––Are You Ready?
The temperature registered a cool 58-degrees this morning, when I took my early walk. I certainly felt a change in the air.
We are in a seasonal transition . . . can you feel it? This short seasonal shift takes summer’s heat and diffuses it into Autumn’s cooler, crisper temperatures. This in-between season allows time to prepare for the next major seasonal change. Many words can be used to describe this season:
The term that works for me is re-direction. Much of my focus is spent re-directing my time, energy, and money from the outward expression of Summer’s activity to Autumn’s bringing in or gathering. Soon I’ll be putting away the summer lawn toys and decor and preparing my gardens for their Fall/Winter rest. The swim-wear, flip-flops and straw hats will be exchanged for sweaters, gloves and woolen hats.
How do you notice these changes around and within you?
The outward signs of the season are easier to recognize than the internal ones. Often our nutritional intake takes a “one-size-fits-all” approach instead of a “fresh-in-season-variety” approach. Most of the locally grown, fresh produce will be disappearing soon as the Farmer’s Markets close for the season. If we eat seasonally, we will need to re-direct our dietary choices and menus.
As the summer harvest delivers its last tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers and summer squashes, the autumn harvest is maturing on the vine. The harder shelled squashes (acorn, spaghetti, butternut squash and pumpkin) come into their colorful, flavorful splendor. Root vegetables (the underground part of the plant: beets, potatoes and sweet potatoes, rutabaga, carrots, parsnips and onion) provide no-fat, low calorie energy for the coming cooler seasons.
Your “inner-garden” organs to tend to in this season are the stomach (receiver of nourishment; separator of life-giving nutrients & energy from food and transports them to the spleen) and the spleen (distributes energy from food; forms white blood cells; filters blood). Some natural health care experts regard the stomach as the most sensitive organ in the body. The entire gastrointestinal system (gut) is an intricate nerve and micro-vessel network, which gives understanding to the expression “gut-feeling.” Current research is discovering that the health of our brains is closely related to the health of our digestive system.
A nervous stomach affects more than just your stomach. Stress is the internal reaction to an external experience/circumstance. Prolonged stressful conditions in the body may contribute to physical-emotional-spiritual-mental exhaustion often progressing to a disease stage. Taking inventory of your common/frequent stressors may lend insight to symptoms you may be experiencing.
Nature’s Pantry provides plant foods and herbs that soothe and repair digestive tension:
Aloe Vera Juice
Peppermint (as tea)
Chamomile (as tea)
Ginger (as tea & freshly ground into soups)
Tumeric (Curcuma longa) as tea or seasoning spice
Probiotic foods (yogurt, buttermilk, kefir)
Bitter Greens (kale, collards, endive, dandelion)
Additional nutritional supplements may include food enzymes or probiotics.
Nature has provided abundant nutrition for thousands (millions?) of years with a simple, sensible, seasonal approach. Doesn’t it just make sense to eat what is available, when it is available? Choosing foods “close-to-nature” insures that we begin supporting the normal functioning of all our body’s systems. When we carefully tend our body’s inherent requests, it will carry us through many seasons without being easily uprooted by the winds of change and the occasional storms of life.
Change is in the air––in what ways do you welcome Autumn? I look forward to hearing from you.
Spaghetti Squash––Southwest Style
1 medium sized spaghetti squash
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chicken broth
2-4 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, snipped or 2-4 tsp. dried cilantro, crushed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies (I use Hatch, New Mexico brand)
2 cups shredded jack cheese or a Mexican flavor cheese blend
1 avocado, sliced
Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise; remove seeds. Place cut side down on baking sheet (lined with parchment paper); Cover tightly with foil - Bake at 350 F. Squash is tender but not mushy, about 35-45 minutes; test for doneness by inserting fork into the center of the squash.
In a medium skillet, on medium heat, combine chicken broth and diced onions; simmer until onions are translucent. Add black beans, tomatoes, garlic, cumin, cilantro, salt, and simmer until all ingredients are warmed through.
Remove squash from oven and cool for a few minutes; using a fork, gently scrape squash in lengthwise strokes to create the “spaghetti;” discard rind. Place shredded squash on a platter; spoon the black bean mixture over the top; sprinkle the shredded cheese on top and garnish with avocado slices.
Serve with a fresh green salad, blue corn chips and salsa.
Alternate ingredients you may enjoy:
Chopped red pepper may be added to the black bean mixture
Sliced black olives may be added as topping before adding cheese
A dollop of sour cream may be added on top of shredded cheese
Connie’s Comments: This Late Summer hearty dish provides a high fiber, protein rich “non-