Superfoods have been the buzzword for quite some time and it is easy to think that they need to be something weird and wonderful. However, a food that is a Superfood for any individual can often be a simple food that makes their particular system fire at maximum potential and is appropriate for that season. That is smart nutrition in my book, and requires someone to understand the laws of nature when reconnecting to eating what they truly need to flourish.
It is also important to remember that when we eat foods seasonally we are eating them at their peak nutrition and as nature intended. I would also like to stress the importance of choosing 'organic' with nuts and seeds and healthy fats. I ran a trial for myself a few years ago using both organic and conventional wheatgrass seeds but using exactly the same soil etc as I wanted to see if they grew the same. I thought that they would both grow and look the same if all other conditions and nutrients supplied were identical. I was shocked at the difference and it confirmed for me the importance of organic foods and more importantly for healthy fats and for nuts and seeds like wheatgrass, chia, almonds etc where all aspects of the food including toxicity and gene corruption are concentrated.
To nourish your adrenals and to transport nutrients around your system and into your cells, you need to include healthy fats and they absolutely need to be organic. Some of my favourites are ghee, coconut oil, coconut butter, avocado and olive oil. Healthy fats are your energy source for the cooler months and help to rebuild and nourish at a very deep level. Start introducing more fats into your diet slowly so that your body can adjust to using fats for energy rather than the carbohydrates of fruit that it has relied on for summer. Your liver will make this adjustment and start functioning as you need it to for providing both inner warmth and energy over Autumn and Winter.
The Importance of Organic Healthy Fats.
Your body uses fat in your diet to detox harmful substances and carry them out without damaging other organs. So it makes sense then that if you are using plant or animal fats that the same rule will apply for those fats and organic healthy fats will have the least amount of contamination. This is more important for these foods than for leafy greens for example - because of the concentration of toxins possible in the healthy fats and because these fats then interact with our own systems and access at the cellular level. A good example is to look at the grass that a cow eats which concentrates down to milk and then we concentrate it down to cream - butter and lastly ghee. If you measured the concentration of chemicals in the quantity of grass, milk, cream etc down the chain, at each step the concentration would become more intense...hence the importance of organic with your healthy fats.
Foods provided by nature in Autumn are fuller and richer and more heat producing to provide the warmth and greater energy required by the cooling season. These foods, like the Body Ecology gluten free grains of Teff, Quinoa, Millet and Amaranth, are hearty and require more focused preparation. Autumn is a time to bake and cook foods for longer periods of time with less water. Concentrated foods and roots are what your body enjoys more at this time of year; they quiet us down and nourish at a deep level, which is what your adrenals are preparing for. The adrenals rebuild during the longer nights of winter and soak up the denser nutrition in preparation for the next warm period. When you eat a dish like the 'Ancient Grain Herbed Winter Dish' it really hits home and feels so right at this time of year.
Salty and bitter foods are contracting, they move our energy inward so it will feel right to gradually introduce them in the Autumn months as nature heads towards towards winter. Sour foods and fermented foods can be added to stimulate and mirror the contraction of the season. Sour foods include: coconut kefir, cultured vegetables, sourdough bread, limes, lemons, grapefruit, sauerkraut, olives, vinegar, yogurt, salt plums, olives, pickles, leeks, aduki and sour varieties of apples, plums and grapes.
Another important feature of fermented foods is their high Vitamin C content that supports and nourishes the immune system which all works in with the dropping of temperatures and the susceptibility to flus and colds. Bone broths and chicken stock also support our systems in dealing with these challenges and we naturally feel like eating them at this time of year.
Loving Your Lungs
Your lungs need to be cleaned and nourished now to take you through the cold months and no foods do it better than pungent foods. Pungent foods work with the lungs and colon and help to disperse their stuck, mucous laden energy. Pungent foods include some of these favourites: hot peppers and chilies, garlic, turnip, ginger, horseradish, cabbage, radish and my personal favourite cayenne (that is also an important part of mucous cleansing with the popular Master Cleanse detox protocol by Stanley Burroughs). What a great time to break out your favourite curry using a bone broth base!
Mucilaginous foods help to renew the mucous membrane of the lungs and colon. These include foods like seaweeds, flaxseed, chia seeds and please remember the importance of ‘organic’ with your nuts and seeds.
Carrots, broccoli, pumpkin and kale are appealing to us at this time of year and are rich in beta-carotene which generates a protective effect for the surfaces and mucous membranes of the colon and lungs. Kale grows well and loves the cooler temperatures, becoming quite sweet during the cold months. Protective beta-carotene foods for the lungs and colon include include foods like watercress, carrots, parsley, kale, turnip, mustard greens, broccoli, winter squash and pumpkin.
Mustard microgreens are absolutely delicious from now through winter and are one of my favourite microgreens. They are truly a Superfood for this time of the year, I find that I want to eat them by the handful.
Green foods help the lungs get rid of residues from pollution and chemical fumes, and improve the digestion of proteins and fats. Chlorophyll is a wonderful blood purifier, so the greener the better. Some suggestion for Autumn green foods are wheat grass, barley grass, nettles, mullein, micro-algae varieties such as green, blue-green and golden, kale, microgreens of all kinds, watercress etc.
The Importance of Fibre
Fibre rich foods are important for cleansing of the colon and lungs and improve the functioning of the intestines. Beneficial bacteria in the large intestine thrive on the inulin or soluble fibre found predominantly in root vegetables as well as other veges like onion, yacon and chicory or Ecobloom by Body Ecology. This inulin fibre is the Superfood or prebiotic for your beneficial bacteria population and assists in nutrient assimilation while aiding the formation of anti-cancer short chain fatty acids. Foods that have this sort of fibre typically have a lower glycemic index and do not feed yeast infections/candida overgrowth.
If you think that you are not eating enough fibre already in your diet then start with small increases over the course of a few weeks. If you experience excessive gas or other abdominal symptoms cut back until the symptoms resolve and then proceed more slowly.
Increased Food Intake - Yes, it is ok to eat more for this time of the year.
It is important to acknowledge and allow for an increase in food intake. Foods that are concentrated sources of energy and that build stamina for the autumn weather include meat, fish, dairy, nuts, beans, seeds and grains.