Updated: Nov 11, 2021
Living in communion with the Earth, means adapting to her cycles. Every season brings with it a different element and energy. You may notice your allergies act up in the spring, or that you feel heavier and more tired in the winter. This is because you are made of the earth you live on, therefore are deeply connected to her cycles. This is a beautiful thing, and it solidifies that there is no separation between all living beings.
In every part of the world, there are 4 seasons. While some areas may not experience as dramatic of a shift, it still exists subtley. Eating seasonally & locally has so many benefits on the body, from a decrease in allergies & boost in immunity, as well as giving our bodies and spirits the nourishment we need. Our bodies are so intelligent, they know what they want and when they want it, if we truly listen. There is a reason we don't reach for mint & watermelon in the middle of a snowstorm, but hot soup and cocoa instead.
Each food has what we in the herbal world call energetics. Meaning it is either cold or warm. Traditional Chinese Medicine & Ayurveda (the most ancient healing systems) teach that each of our individual bodies have their own energetics as well. For example, I am someone who runs very cold. My best friend, however, runs very hot. This is why I adore warming foods and spices, like chai and sriracha, and she gravitates toward cooling foods and spices like mint and tomatoes, no matter what the season. Now, this isn't to say you can't eat certain foods, but it does explain why you may like or crave certain foods more then others, and while you may be someone who runs very hot and loves spicy food, you feel better when you eat it in moderation. It's all about balance here.
Next, each season, like each herb and food, has its own action as well: either drying or moistening. For example, winter is typically (depending where you live) cold and wet. So is a cucumber. This is why, traditional winter dishes do not typically include cucumbers. The environment has enough of that energy, so we want to bring in the opposite: warm and dry. This is why you see herbs like thyme and oregano being used during the winter, they are warming & drying (and potently antiviral, but we'll get into that another time!) Incorporating foods and herbs that are warming and drying during a cold, wet winter help keep your body from getting sick. Colds are cold and wet conditions, therefore, when you dry them up & warm them up, they go away! Keeping your body warm and dry is key.
In the PNW, where I live, we are in late fall, approaching winter. The temperatures are dropping and the rain & snow are coming in for the season. What is in abundance at farms and in grocery stores are root vegetables, apples, squashes, and hardier leafy greens like kale. These foods are deeply nourishing to the body, being that they are heavier, starchier and more nutrient dense, they help our bodies store fat for the winter to keep us warm.
Many of these foods, like pumpkins, are native to the Americas, which means Mama Gaia gave us this food to nourish us, and strategically grew it during this season, because this is when it was meant to be consumed for us to get the most support from it. Pumpkins symbolize fall, between the decorations and the pretty orange lattes, but it's more then just pop culture that makes that connection, our bodies know its what we need to prepare for the colder months ahead.
Lastly, eating seasonally is one of the best ways to support your community and make lasting change for the planet. Farmers grow with the seasons. They can't grow an apple in March or a strawberry in December. By purchasing your food directly from them, either through a CSA or just stopping by the stand, you are making the choice to be part of something bigger then yourself: living in communion with the planet you live on.
The thing is, plants are sentient beings. When you ingest a living thing, you are ingesting its energy as well. Knowing where your food came from, if it was tended to and grown with love, is incredibly important in keeping your own vibe as high as possible. And I'm not just talking about plants. This is even more important for carnivores. If the cow that made your dinner steak lived its life in a tiny pen indoors, living off of corn and being pumped with antibiotics its whole life vs a cow that lived its life out in pasture breathing fresh air and feeling sunshine on its skin, they will have drastically different effects on your body.
Growing food is supportive to the earth, because all plants support the mycelium in the soil, and if the farmer is using organic and traditional farming methods, it is directly feeding the community you live in by supplying cleaner air, feeding the earth by supplying cleaner soil, and feeding your body by supporting a healthier microbiome. By shopping local & organic, you are supporting someone's family, the earth you live on, and your body.
To wrap up, eating with the seasons helps:
Boost your immune system
Adapt your body to the conditions of the season
Support your community
Alright, let's get to the delicious part, the recipes!
By now you are all aware of my love of oatmeal. It's so versatile, so nutrient dense, and you can make it taste like literally any baked good you crave without all of the empty calories! As an herb (yes, oats are considered an herb!) oats are incredibly nutritive, full of calcium, magnesium & vitamin B, but they also have an affinity to the nervous system. This is why oats are so comforting, because they literally feed your nervous system!
This recipe is a little different then a traditional oatmeal, and is a great way to change up your morning porridge. If you have littles, this recipe is a fantastic way to cut the sugar and up the vegetable intake. I was inspired by a snack salad my parents used to make when I was a kid, made with shredded carrots, apples & raisins, drizzled with honey and lemon. I thought it would taste good cooked as well, and I was not disappointed!
*A note on cooking with honey: Honey is a living food. Not only does cooking honey make it difficult to digest, but it kills all of the good bacteria which make it so healing. Opt for drizzling honey onto hot food to soften and incorporate it, rather then cooking it into your food!
Late Autumn Oats
1/2 shredded apple
1 shredded carrot
Handful of fresh cranberries, cut in half
Handful of raisins
1 1/2 cups almond or oat milk
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger (optional)
Drizzle of honey
Handful of walnuts
Handful of chocolate chips
Handful of pumpkin seeds
Drizzle of nut/seed butter
Handful of granola
Add all ingredients to a small pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer (I keep the heat steady on medium high or 6/7) and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Top with anything you'd like!
My favorite way to eat root veggies is to roast them with fresh herbs. I feel that this really lets their flavors shine. You can roast a bunch of root veggies at a time and make toms of different dishes with them, too. They're incredibly versatile. You can eat them over rice, add a protein of choice, or add them to your morning oats!
**This recipe is plant based, but you can add local grass fed ground beef, chicken, or tofu to make it your own. You can also play around with the pasta. Keep in mind, while you can make this a comfort dish by using traditional pasta, root vegetables are high in starch, so adding flour on top of that is very high in carbohydrates. This is why I opted for a protein dense alternative, like edamame. Black bean, lentil, mung bean, chickpea, or brown rice pasta work well here too.
Roasted Root Pasta
1 box Edamame spaghetti
1 tsp Olive Oil
2 large golden beets
1 purple sweet potato
1 delicata squash
1 large or 2 small heads of broccoli
1/8c coconut oil
1 bunch fresh Oregano
1 bunch fresh Thyme
1 bunch Fresh Parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste
Your favorite fresh or jar of tomato sauce (I use TRUFF for the exquisite truffle flavor! If you can't find it, truffle salt or oil is a great addition to this recipe.)
Raw milk Parmesan (optional)
Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 425.
Cut up all vegetables into small chunks, whatever size you like best.
On one baking sheet, lay the beets, potatoes, and carrots. On another baking sheet, add the delicata squash and broccoli.
Brush coconut oil over all veggies, adding a it of salt & pepper. Then, place whole herbs over the veggies.
Place the sheet with the beets & potatoes in the oven and bake for 10 mins. Then, add the second sheet with the squash & broccoli. Bake for 20 more minutes.
Once the veggies are done roasting, remove and discard the herbs, and toss the veggies together with chopped fresh herbs. Add more salt to taste if you need to.
Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Drizzle with olive oil, toss with a pinch of salt & pepper.
Toss everything together with tomato sauce, top with parmesan, parsley, red pepper flakes & microgreens (I like radish here) & dig in!!
I hope you learned something new from this post, are inspired to connect more with the foods of the season, and that you enjoy these delicious meals as much as I did!