5 Slow-down Strategies for Autumn

Autumn is, of course, a time to focus inward. With the shorter days and cooling temperatures, our fiery natures, so dependent on warmth and lots of sunshine, are also cooled, giving us a perfect opportunity to slow down and rejuvenate.

Plants give us a perfect example of how to do this. They withdraw the parts of themselves that bear fruit and provide nourishment to their roots. Leaves turn gorgeous colors and then let go in order that the tree or shrub may survive the winter to blossom again. They have stored, in their roots, all of the good energy that the sunshine, water and soil nutrients helped them create and they will make good use of it through the winter while they grow more slowly, or not at all.

People can and should do the same in the autumn. Five great ideas for this:
1. Schedule less. Plan to spend an evening curled up with a good book once a week instead of rushing to the next event.
2. Take on an afternoon or evening yoga class to stretch your body and your focus.
3. Eat the fall/winter harvest: apples, pears, potatoes, squash, root vegetables, which are slightly sweet and very grounding.
4. Go for a hike. Getting out in nature is one of the best ways to create calm. Fall/winter hikes where there is typically less to focus on outwardly, allows you to enjoy the moment in a very different way.
5. Get to bed earlier. People’s bodies really do respond to day length. Staying up late causes your body to go into stress mode, fueling unnecessary fires which will keep you up even later.

Simple solutions and simple steps to take advantage of the quiet of winter and come into spring and summer full of life and energy, ready to blossom again!

October 31, 2011 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Reintegrating After the Cleanse

Fun varieties of winter squash all work well in soups, stews, risotto and baked or roasted for those chilly nights!

Try a new variety of winter squash this season.

Three days after the end of my cleanse, I have slowly integrated some of the food items I gave up for two weeks. I started with cow’s dairy and measured my body’s response to it. As I suspected, no change in energy levels or digestion. Then, just a teeny amount of sugar in the form of one Hershey’s Kiss on Monday and another on Tuesday, plus about 1/4 oz of chocolate chips after dinner both days. Last night was wine, which was nice to reincorporate. This morning it was my black tea, which tasted great.

I also just found out that it’s Celiac Awareness Month from Rudi’s Breads. They make a few gluten-free breads and are celebrating this month with the “31 days of Glorious Gluten-free Giveaways” on their Facebook page. There are Celiac awareness games as well as free loaves of bread, t-shirts and even GF toasters! Check it out at http://www.facebook.com/rudisglutenfreebakery. Their breads are lighter than most whole-grain breads that have wheat as a base, but tasty!

I’m not planning to go back to eating any wheat products until the end of the month, and probably sparingly at that point, but we’ll see. In addition to Rudi’s, both Udi’s and the Canyon Bakehouse make pretty good GF breads, so removing gluten from my diet turned out to be much easier than I thought, even though I’ve done it before.

I will also stay away from most sugary snacks and processed foods for a good long time, maybe until Thanksgiving. The afternoon sugar crash that occurs is just not worth it and I’d rather have really high-quality desserts, like fondue at a restaurant in Vancouver for which we bought a Groupon, rather than donuts and grocery-store cookies every day.

The best part is the season. I have been making soups for the past week out of yams, winter squash, potatoes, garlic, onion, leeks and all of the fall and winter produce. I’ve also been eating a salad almost every day, which is so satisfying and a nice foil for the warmth of the soups.


October 19, 2011 at 7:45 am Leave a comment

The End of the Cleanse

My body feels lighter, and is actually 2-3 pounds lighter, after two weeks of being very mindful of what I am giving it. Don’t get me wrong, I ate plenty and it was tasty! I just did away with those “foods” that don’t really serve me personally like sugar, and also took a break from other foods that are known to give a body pause, such as wheat and gluten.

It’s not that I had a terrible diet to begin with. It’s just that I was surrounded by and succumbing to temptation on a very regular basis. In my profession, I’m constantly meeting people for a “drink” (coffee, wine, whatever) and surrounded by people bringing in sugary snacks as a thank you. When I get tired, which usually happens at the end of the summer, the emotional deliciousness of having a restaurant do the cooking and cleaning is stronger than I want to fight against. So, the cleanse really helps me reset.

By the end of two weeks, sugary treats lose their appeal. My garden-fresh veggies and fruits (around four hundred pounds this season and still harvesting!) taste sweeter and more satisfying than before. Whole grains, with their chewy, nutty, creamy goodness fill me in a way that a “white bread” pizza never did.

What it also does is put me on a path to continue to eat this way. It’s a great path to follow right before the holiday season when you will literally be surrounded by unhealthy choices. Your body will thank you and hopefully you can really have fun with the foods you do choose to eat.

While I’m probably going to continue much of what I started through the end of the month, I’m really looking forward to getting back to my morning black tea, cheese, and eventually a nice glass of wine. Cheers!

October 16, 2011 at 8:28 am 2 comments

The Cleanse Ah-Ha!

When you’re doing a cleanse like I am, it’s pretty easy to pinpoint the food-related problems that might arise, if your mind is functioning. I started thinking about why I might be having gut issues and what I had incorporated that was different than when I was just eating whatever I wanted. The one thing that stood out, when I finally got there, was the granola!

Granola is such a simple, wonderfully healthy snack with no gluten, dairy, or processed sugar in it. So I made a couple of batches to satisfy my sweet tooth with something natural. Today, I went without and, lo and behold, my gut has had no problems.

Now, there’s no way to tell which ingredients are causing the issue, but I’m guessing it’s either the nuts or the oatmeal. If I really want to know, I will go off all nuts and oatmeal for two weeks, then add them back in, one at a time, to see how my system reacts. If it’s a specific nut, I’ll know. If it’s the “raw” oatmeal, I’ll be able to tell that as well.

On the good side, I haven’t had problems in the past, so if I follow a rotation diet and eat each thing no more than every three days, that will help cause less stress to my system than if I ate them every day. Whoo-hoo to good health!

October 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

Days 7 through 10

Never does it become more apparent that there are foods your system has issues with than when you are doing a cleanse.

I should feel great by now, but something has not been working to make that happen. I mull and mull and cannot figure it out. Finally, directly after yoga tonight (a class that was all about focusing on what is going on with you right at this moment), it occurs to me: Aha! I made granola and have been using that as a sweet snack. It’s got nuts (something that my mom and grandpa don’t tolerate well) oats (not cooked, just toasted and therefore the phytic acid has not been mitigated); and even though I used a reduced amount of honey and maple syrup instead of processed sugar, it’s possible that there is just too much of it.

So, tomorrow I choose fresh and/or dried fruit to quell the need for a little something sweet. I just dried a bunch of apples, peaches and yellow pear tomatoes, all of which provide an amazingly sweet blast of chewy goodness. Summer may be over, but between my dehydrator and my freezer, I can still visit it from time to time.

Cleanse is going well and I’m feeling more and more like I can do this for a week longer than the initial two that I set for myself.

October 12, 2011 at 8:57 pm Leave a comment

The Cleanse: Day 6

Pizza fresh from the Garden, including being cooked in the garden, on the BBQ grill

Garden Pizza, So Colorful

Today has so far been a gorgeous day. Woke up to deep clouds and rain, which turned to snow about mid-morning. It’s now slightly sunny, go figure. Colorado is a weird place when it comes to weather, but I love it.

It rather mirrors my mood – One minute I’m content to sit on the couch and write or read. The next minute I’m buzzing around prepping food, cleaning, walking the dogs or whatever other task awaits. This morning started with detox tea and a good book. Of course, I had to snack a bit on the granola, it tastes so good! But not too much since I’m not sure if I’m going to be a couch potato or a kitchen witch today. This may end up being an indoor day based on the amount of snow and rain that has filled the gutters in front of the house.

Yesterday had to be a garden day. A potential freeze was predicted for last night and tonight is an almost certain freeze. While I live on an upslope and usually don’t get the freeze quite as soon as other places in the Springs, there’s no sense taking chances, so we harvested approximately 100# of vegetables out of the two gardens.

Today is the day to do something with all of that produce. So far I’ve made granola, steamed beans to freeze, frozen peaches and am in the process of drying peaches and apples. I still intend to make a big batch of vegetable soup to freeze, then prep parsnips, carrots, beets and potatoes to roast for dinner. There are large zucchini (and other summer squash) to use for making zucchini bread. The harvest was huge and there are still things in the garden that I will continue to harvest for another month or until they are gone. It’s so incredibly flavorful that I don’t even miss sugar, cheddar cheese, or bread…for now.

October 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm Leave a comment

The Cleanse: Days Three and Four…

I didn’t immediately sit down and write about day three because it was a bad day. I woke up exhausted and everything seemed difficult. While I am certain that I was feeling detox emotions, when you are in it, it’s hard to remember that it will go away.

As it always happens, the day moves forward, turns into night, you get some sleep and with that, another chance to make the most of your life. Day four, on the other hand, was much better. Having friends over for dinner helped because I got to play in the kitchen and come up with a delicious meal that worked for my current diet.

I had forgotten how easy it is to make ice cream. I was recently given some goat milk, so I started by making goat milk ice cream flavored with honey. It was so simple and all from Colorado, mostly all sourced within a few miles of my home – the milk, egg yolks, honey and the last of the fresh peaches from the Western Slope.

I then proceeded to caramelize garden onions and cook a batch of quinoa. Later in the day, I sauteed up yellow squash with chipotle chiles, grated a little manchego cheese and tossed it all together. Then I stuffed this mixture into beautiful red bell pepper halves that I had lightly steamed. With it’s aluminum hat, I put it in the oven for about twenty minutes, then sprinkled a little more manchego on top to melt it and dinner was served.

The amazing, clean, healthy food tasted so good and sharing it with friends made it, and my life, all the better.

October 7, 2011 at 8:04 am Leave a comment

Older Posts Newer Posts


Sign up forthe newsletter