Monday, October 4, 2010

Week of Tips: Ground Yourself: Fall Eating

I usually set a tip for the week but in honor of fall, I am devoting a week of tips on how to ground ourselves for the fall.  See yesterday's post on Fall Cleaning.

A humongous melon (that's still growing!)that my mom will make into grounding soups and dishes this winter <3
One of the easiest ways to ground ourselves is through what we eat.  I've been basking in summer's goodies from the farmers' market but as I head into the fall, it makes less sense for me to have berries, summer peaches and raw greens and more sense to eat heavier grounding root vegetables and cooked veggies in healthy fats.  Winter is just around the corner and by eating the right foods, I'm letting my body know that it is time to prepare for the brisk weather ahead. This can also be called eating seasonally (which has other benefits justifying its own post in the future).

If I keep eating summer foods which can be described as "light and airy", I will totally shock my body when winter shows up.  It is so important to eat "grounding" foods - just as nature intended - to prepare our bodies for the winter.  In the spring and summer, nature focuses on upward growth.  Tree branches grow leaves and plants spring abundantly from the ground.  However, in the winter, trees shed those leaves and the tops of plants dry up so they can retreat to their roots and bulbs to concentrate on storing their energy to survive the long winter.  Have you ever noticed that fall and winter foods like yams, potatoes, pumpkins, and carrots are all grown very close to the ground?  It's a sign from nature that we need to ground ourselves during this season.

The rule of thumb is that grounding foods are grown close to the ground and feel heavier when eaten.  As mentioned, root vegetables are ideal to ground ourselves.  This includes sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, white potatoes (keep to a minimum), beets, and my all-time favorite, garlic.  Grounding vegetables also include those grown close to the ground like certain squashes and melons (like in the picture) and pumpkins! Protein is something else that our bodies crave in the colder weather.  You can attain protein from plant and animal sources.  The most common plant sources for protein are beans, legumes and nuts.  Animal sources should be as high quality as possible (e.g., grass-fed, free-range, organically grown).  Organic or local butter or ghee (recipe coming soon!) is another great grounding food.  The last group of grounding foods are whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, barley and oats. 

For those salad eaters out there who yearn for the occasional steak meal, satisfy that urge (occasionally) and know that you are not making a dieting faux pas and actually feeding yourself what you need! Please share - what's your favorite grounding food?  Mine has got to be a baked sweet potato with coconut oil. Yum!

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