Bikram Yoga Park Slope is pleased to present a new series of articles focused on encouraging more healthful living through food …. something we all need and love! Nancy Campbell gives us her seasonal tips for our first installment:
The seasons have a profound cyclical effect on human growth and well-being. We are highly influenced by our annual climatic changes; Consider fall’s shorter days and longer nights, the brittle winter cold, and the glory of the first spring sun. For many of us who continue living life at the same speed and eating the same diet year-round, these shifts in season can easily make us sick, trigger allergies, and amplify seasonal affective disorder. By living in harmony with the seasons through our diet and activities we can weather the shifts in temperature without getting sick or feeling run down.
Consider where we are now . . . August and September represent a fifth season agrarian societies and the Chinese call Late Summer. In these traditional agrarian cultures and in the principles of the Chinese Five Elements, Late Summer has been considered the peak of the crop season and a time of minimal toil. Activity is meant to be effortless so our days can flourish with ease and tranquility. Since late summer is the transition from the bright intensity of spring and summer to the darker and quieter fall and winter, it gives us a moment to catch our breath before the preparations for winter get us moving again.
This seasonal transition asks us to be sensitive to our needs – our emotional, physical, and spiritual needs – for the colder months ahead. It may seem crazy to prepare in August for the seasonal allergies October brings or to worry now about winter’s depression. Yet, as our ancestors have reminded us, it isn’t crazy at all. This preparation one of the healthiest things we can do to take care of ourselves.
As we merge into fall, our days will soon get shorter, crops will get heartier, and our appetites for richer, more complex foods will ripen. The days will be warm for a while, but our evenings will soon get colder. If we resist these seasonal changes by plowing through the fall at the same speed and on the same light, raw diet we have enjoyed this summer, we stretch ourselves thin, we challenge our digestive system, and the strength of our vitality and immunity cannot be sustained. Welcome flu season!
Right now getting fresh, seasonal, and local food is as easy as joining the studio’s Farmigo CSA service. Our plates should be filled with simple ingredients that honor the season’s bounty: fresh vegetables lightly sautéed, steamed, grilled or broiled to reveal their natural sweetness. Ancient grains such as millet, quinoa and amaranth should be coupled with sweet yellow and orange squash, carrots, peaches, apricots, corn, and yams.
As we approach fall, our diet should gradually be filled with ingredients that are more fully-cooked or baked, letting go of the raw and cooler foods that nourished us all summer. Root vegetables and winter squash will soon share space with hearty greens like kale and brussels sprouts. Fruit will get heartier too, and may even be cooked as we plunge into the apple and pear season.
Again, living in sync with seasons these next few months means that we allow our bodies to begin to slow down and to stay warm as the days get shorter and cooler. Simultaneously, if we encourage easeful digestion with hearty, cooked foods this fall, our immune systems will be more robust and primed for the cold winter months ahead. As resistance to changing your diet shows up and you’re screaming, “This is crazy. I’m way too busy!” I will pose the question . . . How do you lead a fulfilling life if it’s spent sick, sluggish, and allergy prone?
To learn more and get practical “how to’s” for eating in sync with the seasons, join me for a free workshop and cooking demo at:
BYPS Lefferts Avenue Studio
Tuesday, September 22nd at 7 pm.
About Nancy Campbell, M.S., Culinary Nutritionist: Nancy combines her training in nutrition and integrative health with a masters of urban planning, and over a decade of professional culinary experience in her nutrition practice, Radiant Health NYC. She supports her clients to redefine how they eat, build culinary skills, and fine-tune their pantries so they can feel amazing in their skin AND in the kitchen. She can be found at: http://www.radianthealthnyc.com