The change in season is a time of mixed feelings, melancholy, bittersweet gratitude yet longing for continuous sunshine, while also looking forward for new.
As a fire-y, 'on' type who thrives on long, hot summer days, being in my bikini all I can, the abundance of summer fruits and veggies, boundless outdoor activities and pool days - the change of seasons means layers, closed pools, being inside, dark bike rides to the gym in the morning and home at night rather than the joyous birds and beams of sunshine awakening me each morning.
It means slowing down. Something previously fought and routinely neglected.
This year, I'm embracing this opportunity for different training, goals, programming, bed times, and priorities. Rather than fighting the lack of light, using it to my advantage to optimize what my body needs to get where I want to go and what best serves me now.
Now begins the time of using the season and it's circumstances to get into a natural rhythm of what I should be working on:
More rest and recovery - lifting, mobility, biking inside on a trainer, sleeping, resting, brain time, writing reflections, creativity, and less of the constant head-down grind.
Enjoying the weather in new ways (no more scorching hot runs) through lower intensity activities (hiking, camping, cooler biking)
Improving on weaknesses and imbalances through skill work
What better way to start this phase today than in the kitchen.
Food - I can get behind that.
One thing that gets me in the mood for fall - food and flavors. Warmth, comforting, grounding meals. I may have OD’ed on the squash - butternut, spaghetti, acorn, delicata, kabocha yellow, (never mind all the carrots and sweet potato)
Fall Meal Prep
Consider this Sunday's meal prep as a fall welcome party in the kitchen. Tunes on. Zoned out, yet so in.
Freezing: Preserves freshness and nutrients, cheaper when in season. Frozen fruits for the fall for smoothies: pawpaw (I’m on a roll with this new discovery), peaches, asian pears, as well as veggies (yellow squash, zucchini)
Greens: A staple for me. Carrot tops, bibblettuce heads
Snacks: Pre/intra workout, munchin, for throughout the day. Peppers, carrots (raw, dipped in pesto, almond butter, sweet potato/squash bread, energy balls.
Sweet potato/delicata squash bread: Baked at 350 for 30 mins
Wet ingredients: cooked sweet potato/squash mashed, vanilla extract, two eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup
Dry ingredients: grated ginger, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, mix of almond flour/buckwheat flour/ground oats, salt, baking powder/soda
Chocolate Energy Balls:
Ground dates, almond butter, oats, salt, sesame/sunflower seeds, cacao powder/nibs, coconut oil - rolled into balls for pre/intra workout snacks
Nuts: Salad toppers, snacks
Squash seeds and sliced almonds, roasted at 350 with olive oil, sesame oil, cumin, salt and pepper
Dinners: Burgers, lettuce, dressings previously made (garden herbs, avo, tahini, evoo), spaghetti squash (going to freeze and save for later if needed), acorn squash
Burgers: 2 things I’m working to incorporate more of 1. Sprouting 2. Flavor …these burgers had both
1. Sprouting converts the carbohydrate from starch to sugar allowing the body to use it more efficiently… nutrients are more bioavailable, less work for your body, improves digestion and quality of protein, and increases B vitamin content and fiber
Combined sprouted mung beans in the pressure cooker, pressure cooked sweet potatoes, mashed with fork and combined with below items
2. Flavor! Warmer flavors for the fall - basically everything I had in the garden blended - hot peppers, chives, ginger, mint, cilantro, parsley, thai basil, with a hot thai curry mix, 3 eggs, almond flour, salt, turmeric,
Made 12 burgers (6 for this week and 6 frozen for later when I'm in a pinch)
Drinks: Kombucha (lavender basil, lemongrass ginger)
Lemongrass, grated ginger
Lavender and basil leaves
Just let is hang in there for a bit, strain
Seasonal eating is so key. This is the kind of thing that was made to happen naturally - it's our superpower to get through the winter healthy, our greatest weapon - however through our conventional food system, we don't tune into it.
However you slice it - from scientific research, hunter-gatherers, or ayurvedic perspective - it’s a change in diet that has immediate effects on our health, the economy, planet, and businesses.
When we don't tune into this, it disrupts our body, ecosystem, economy and our ability to sustain off our community
In addition: it’s cheaper when everything is in abundance (all of this was $18 and many of these items will last me much longer than a week), fresher, supports local economy, and higher nutrient content.
As changes happen with the new season, so do the microbes in the digestive system, manufacturing enzymes that change seasonally to help with the digestion of seasonal foods to boost immunity needed in the winter *(like the starch-digesting enzyme, amylase, as diets increase with the more harvest tubers and grains)
Microbes are connected to our nervous, cardiovascular, immune, digestion, endocrine, and muscular system - helping to breakdown toxins, increase number of immune system cells, regulate blood pressure, breakdown and rebuild hormones, promote healthy metabolism, inhibit growth of disease and adherence to pathogens in the gut.
Because 60-70% of the immune system is located in the gut, foods our most intimate contact with our external environment (through soil of locally grown foods).
Microbial diversity with the seasons allows the environmental microbiome to directly effect the human microbiome - providing us the vitamins needed, supporting the immune system, as well as the community and earth.
Put all this together - it not only allows me to train better, thus perform better but that of those around me - the community and planet.