Fall season is usually our favorite time of the year. The changing season after high heat and humidity (at-least where we live), falling leaves, beautiful orange, yellow and red hues all around us, pumpkin patches, visiting apple orchards are as pleasing as the gorgeous weather of the fall. My husband and I make a point to do walks/ hikes as we try to catch up our daily conversations and take a relaxing walk in the nature. The changing season also has effects on our health and is a good time to detox the body of all the heat stored from the summer season.
Fasting and Cleanse:
My favorite way to start a cleanse at home is usually fasting for a day with warm water and refraining from eating anything (up to 24 hours or more according to what’s comfortable for me at that time) this also gives a break to my digestion system from digesting and absorbing 3-4 meals that day, provides extra time to remove any accumulated toxins through the elimination process and repair any tissue, cells or organs if needed. After a day of fasting, I switch to juice fasting as a way to nourish my body with fresh organic fruits and vegetables. This is the time when I start seeing the benefits of fasting usually- my body feeling so energetic, light and pain free completely. And the third day of the cleanse, I stick with eating fresh fruits along with lot of roasted or sautéed vegetables. Balancing the nature of local climate with lifestyle choices can help overcome any imbalances that have occurred in your body every season.
In Ayurveda (the Ancient Science of Medicine), every season needs a cleansing. Intake of khichdi (mung beans, rice and vegetable soup), warm massages, yoga and relaxation is a proven way to release all the toxicity and reset your digestive fire called ‘Agni’. The warm massages and yoga helps move the lymphatic system and circulatory system and helps purify all the organs like liver, kidneys and gall bladder. While going for Ayurvedic cleanse and spa detox sounds like a wonderful idea, the same can be done at the comfort of your home. Sometimes in my experience, the only solution to reset your system is less eating, moving and deep relaxation.
Tips for the Fall Lifestyle:
I try to stick to a daily fall regiment that helps my body feel refreshed, nourished and supported with the cold winters coming ahead. Here are some of the lifestyle choices I make on a consistent basis as it is a key component to keep my mind, body and spirit in balance:
- Sipping warm water throughout the day is such a game changer. I have a favorite 12 oz mug and I try to consume roughly about 10-12 cups of water. I use the help of an electric kettle to boil the water ( extra purification process if there are any toxins from the tap water) pour into my cup and add a splash of lime only in the morning time. The warm water is such an important key to keep digestive fire/ Agni alive. Here in the U.S, we are served water filled with ice, cold water from refrigerators that blow off the Agni needed to digest our food. The warm water also helps clear system with daily bowel movements if you are suffering from constipation.
- Then I begin my daily yoga practice for an hour that gives my body great stretch and lifts my heart rate up. I try to incorporate a variety of asanas and stretches to strengthen my body and surrender myself completely to the yoga practice and deep breathing. Finishing with a gratitude prayer for everything we have is a beautiful way to start your day with positive high vibration energy.
- For breakfast, I usually start with a fresh sweet juice/fruit. I feel the natural sugar from the fruit helps restore the body’s energy as its usually low in the mornings. This also gives me some time to prepare a warm bowl of my choice like oats garnished with flax meal, cardamom, dash of cinnamon, maple syrup.
- I pay lot of attention to constantly moving my body throughout the body (thanks to my Apple Watch that pushes me to move daily as well), lifting weights, riding a bike or taking a walk in nature (whatever brings me closer to the nature).
- I try to keep lunch little heavy as the digestive fire is quite strong in the afternoon and balance with a lighter dinner later by 7 pm.
- I only eat when really hungry and incorporate lot of seasonal produce in my diet daily making sure it has lot of colors – yellow, greens, oranges, reds.
- Unwinding and sleeping by 10pm gives my body time to heal, repair and rejuvenate.
Supportive Fall Diet:
When we think of fall, we immediate think of a cup of warm soup or vegetables sautéed with hearty grains like wild rice, tofu and sautéed kale that’s grounding, warm, nourishing and comforting. The plethora of exciting fall vegetables like acorn squash, butternut squash, kabocha squash, pumpkin and sweet potato are such an excellent way to cook and add to your diet. If in a hurry, I love eating baked acorn squash with a touch of maple syrup, sea salt, pepper and chopped parsley. Baking, roasting, sautéing, stuffing or soups are remarkable ways to bring out flavors of the fall produce. For a change: make a butternut squash risotto, stuffed sweet potato, kabocha squash soup and sweet potato enchiladas, your family will love them in exciting fall recipes.
The yellow and orange colored vegetables are also enriched with beta carotene that is beneficial to the skin, hair, bone and strong immunity. Wearing warm colors this time also elevates your mood, keep you grounded and shines in the bio-magnetic field around you. My take away message for the fall season would be stay hydrated with warm water, eat fall produce and try to incorporate variety of vegetables in your weekly diet (including leafy greens like Swiss chard, collard greens), sit and relax when you can, perform yoga/take walks in nature, eat bigger meals toward early part of the day, retire peacefully with reading book, warm shower and massage.