Dr Zaida Rivene Chiropractor, Naturopath, Gerson Practitioner

Fall Foods, by Jim Montrose, Ayurvedic Specialist

Eat for the Season

fall foods

some fall produce

Fall Season and Food

I am waiting for my orange crop, but fall is peaking its head around the corner with the chilly weather we are starting to get. This is the time of fading summer heat as nature and our bodies release extra heat, and the fall harvest comes to balance us with warming, nourishing, and grounding foods.

Autumn is dry, rough, windy, erratic, cool, subtle, and clear. These are all Vata qualities and autumn is a Vata season. The autumn harvest produces correct —more nourishing foods and heavy foods to eat for the fall and coming winter. The fall harvest supplies abundant fruits and a big harvest of foods to get us through the quiet non-growing times of winter.

In the fall, we often bake delicious pumpkin breads, making apple pie, and dining on hearty, grounding soups—foods that naturally counter the dry, light, cold, and erratic nature of the fall.

Nourishing foods are called ojas building foods. Ojas foods for autumn include root vegetables such as carrots and beets and hard “winter” squash like pumpkins and butternut squash as well as ghee, nuts (like almonds and pecans, or pecan-nuts), and seeds.

Summer transitioning to fall can result in drying, weakened digestion, and mucous production if the summer heat accumulation (excess Pitta) gets too high. Some patients and I experienced this excess heat and mucous this year. This may result in a craving for spicy foods (antidote for mucous), stimulating foods and drinks (coffee) and alcohol which increase the imbalance.

Eating pomegranates, apples and watermelon can cool you down and lead the heat out of the body so you are prepared for the fall. Increase apples, pomegranate and if still available watermelon. A time to fill up on end of summer greens, kale, spinach, and other end of summer produce.

Ayurveda is easier when we eat locally and in season, the organic fall harvest provides what we need for the season with more nourishing foods to prepare for the coming cold of fall and the winter hibernation. The cooling and astringent foods at the end of summer fruit season are useful to lead the excess Pitta out of the body mentioned above.

Fall is often a time to clear the liver and toxins from the body that may have accumulated and affected bowel movements. We can release the bile and toxins with beets and apples (natural cholagogues) that boost the digestion and healthy elimination restoring bile effectiveness.

Winter/fall foods like the eating of dry grains, potentially bread (which is harvested in the fall and winter when our digestion can more readily manage it), hot or spicy foods, root vegetables, heavier more nourishing foods, and watery soups and beans to counter fall/winter dryness and to introduce healthy winter microbes.

Why Eat Seasonally?

When we match the food with the season, we ingest the correct microbes for the season, fall installs the microbes of winter changing from the spring and summer microbes. Winter microbes create balanced immunity and better digestion. They also improve our mood, energy, help regulate blood sugar, and sleep. Winter is associated with the qualities of ‘Vata,’ which are cold, air, dry and light. To stay balanced, focus on food and tastes that are the opposite and activities, see next months article for lifestyle recommendations, which are warm, moist, heavy, and oily.

The Ayurvedic dosha (body type) list includes the foods to balance Vata in the fall and winter. Many of the foods on the list may be seasonal where you live. Foods harvested today do not always represent the season that they were originally harvested in.

Even if a food on the list is not harvested in one’s region during that season (fall: April to May for the southern hemisphere, October to December in the northern hemisphere) – or never grow in your region – their qualities are still balancing.

Take it to the next level by eating locally, but it is not necessary to stay balanced. Many people appreciate the variety that the list offers as eating locally in many climates would be too limiting for many people.

THE FALL BODY

During fall, everyone is more susceptible to a Vata imbalance—even if your predominant dosha is not Vata. Signs of an excess, imbalanced Vata dosha include:

  • Anxiety
  • Poor ability to focus or commit.
  • Insomnia
  • Gas and bloating
  • Dry skin, hair, and/or nails
  • Weight loss

Vata predominant doshas (body types) are prone to Vata disturbances in the fall and winter. Add the qualities of Kapha (heavy and oily) as well as Pitta (warm and moist) foods and beverages you consume to support sattva, or a balance, in your body.

Read on to learn how to embrace fall foods with the autumn food list, eat to support your body, and stay healthy with fall food for your dosha.

To learn more about your own dosha take our constitution self-quiz  to get a rough idea of your dosha. For help with a health issue or to get a clearer picture of your innate constitution and the current state you are displaying, schedule a constitution pulse exam with Jim, call 071 959 0786 now.

Fall Savvy

The autumn season in early autumn is governed by Pitta, and late autumn and winter are governed by Vata—dietary recommendations depend on the weather in end of summer warm days follow Pitta and colder fall and winter days follow Vata. You can eat well during this time by choosing seasonal foods when possible. These foods tend to provide just the antidote you need to balance the transition from the Pitta months of summer to Vata-ruled winter.

FALL PRODUCE

Fall – March, April, May SA (r-raw, f-fresh, c-cooked, *-in moderation, s-stewed/baked)

Aubergine (k), beetroot (v-r/c,p-c), broccoli (p,k), brussels sprouts (p,k), cabbage (p,k), cauliflower (p,k), celery (p,k), chives )p,k), courgetti (baby marrow or zuchhini) (v,p), endive (p,k), green beans (v*,p,k), horseradish (k), kale (p,k), leeks (v,p), mielies (corn) (p-f,k), mushrooms (p), peas (v,k), parsnips (k), spinach (p,k), sweet peppers (k), turnips (k)

Apples (v-s, p-sweet, k-granny smith), avocado (v,p), bananas (v-ripe), figs (v-f/c/soaked, p, k-dry), grapes (v,p,k*), gooseberries (v,p,k), guavas (p), lemons (v,p,k), mangoes (v,p), oranges (v,k), pawpaw (papaya) (v), peaches (v,p,k*), pears (p,k), plums (v-c), pomegranates (p,k), quince (p-sweet), spanspek (cantaloupe) (p), tomatoes (k), watermelon (p)

Jim Montrose, Living Wholeness Ayurveda, (+27) 071-959-0786

FALL ROUTINE FOR BALANCE.

In Ayurveda we balance through the opposites, the Vata season will be less aggravating if you fill it with warmth, oiliness, deep nourishment, loving relationships, and a sense of stability, routine, and staying grounded to counter the Vata characteristics of cool, dry, light, airy and chaotic/active.

Diet is an important change to make to balance the Vata time of year and is include below, we introduce the lifestyle routines next month. The Vata diet and eating changes to Vata balancing foods of foods that are Sweet, Sour, Salty tastes that are Heavy, Oily, and Moist foods. We should generally eat our food Hot or warm: such as soups, stews, steamed veggies, with more fat and protein to moisturize the body. We eat less Pungent (Spicy), Bitter, Astringent tastes and less Light, Cold, and Dry foods: such as salads, smoothies, cold foods and beverages, crackers, chips, and salsa.

 Fall Food Recommendations

A Vata diet suggests: Substantive, oily, nourishing foods that are high in protein, high in fat, brought to life with warming, stimulating spices, and served hot, will go a long way toward keeping your internal reserves of moisture and keeping you grounded through the Vata season.

Vata Balancing Diet (Fall/Winter)

  • You’ll also want to favor the sweet, sour, and salty tastes. In general, eat mushy, soft foods and garnish them generously with ghee or oil.
  • Breakfasts of cooked grains—like oatmeal, tapioca, cream of rice, and cream of wheat—are useful at this time of year if you feel like something more substantial than our normal fruit juice.
  • Lunches and dinners that include well cooked and slow cooked (baked in tight lidded pot or casserole dish or occasional steamed) vegetables (leafy and root tubers), hearty grains, soups, and stews are grounding and moisturizing.
  • Raw nuts, seeds, and legumes are our preferred source of concentrated protein and fat.
  • If you eat meat and eggs, this is the one time of year your body can deal better with them (avoid/reduce if possible). Dairy is also a potential but should be avoided if possible.

Pitta’s and Kapha will need to combine the summer and Vata recommendations (Pitta and Pitta Vata) or the spring and Vata (Kapha and Kapha Vata).

Foods to Minimize

In general, you will want to reduce consumption of raw vegetables, cold and frozen foods, as well as the bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes.

It is best to minimize light, cooling, and drying foods like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sprouts, leafy greens, white potatoes, beans, popcorn, crackers, millet, and dried fruit.

If you do eat these foods, eat them in moderation and make sure that they well-cooked or served with ghee.

Eat more foods that are Sweet, Sour, Salty / Heavy, Oily, Moist, Hot: such as soups, stews, steamed veggies; and more fat, and protein.

Eat less foods that are Pungent (Spicy), Bitter, Astringent / Light, Cold, Dry: such as salads, smoothies, cold foods and beverages, crackers, chips, and salsa.

Recommendations for Early Fall

Early fall is considered a transitional stage, occurring from mid-April (September, northern hemisphere) to late May (October). During this time, it is important to feast on fresh, late-summer harvested fruits—namely fresh apples and pears. Fresh apples and pears are plentiful during this time, and they help to consume and “dry out” excess Pitta from the summer. When it comes to apples, green or tart ones are the best. These fruits also supply fiber, which helps move waste out of the gut, priming it to digest the heavier foods of winter. Eggplant, corn, melons, figs, and Okra are also good produce picks for early fall.

Without sufficient “drying” of the Pitta season an imbalance may occur. This shows as excess mucous production. The mucous traps left over summer Pitta. If we do not expel the mucous (do nose snuffing and Naysa) the mucous can promote colds and flu.

The transition from Pitta summer to Vata winter depends on the climate in which you live. Once the air becomes dry, crisp, and cool, and the fruit has fallen from the tress, it is time to transition to the late fall recommendations below.

Recommendations for Late Fall

In late fall, the Vata dosha becomes the most pronounced. During this time, it is important to balance Vata with foods and fluids that promote warmth, moisture, and grounding—namely those that are sweet, heavy, oily, spiced, or salty.

Recommended foods:

  • Fruits:
    • Banana, avocado
    • Cooked apples or pears, such as in pies, crisps, or apple sauces
    • Apple butter or pumpkin butter
    • Tomatoes
    • Citrus, including oranges and grapefruit.
    • Switch to dried fruits if needed.
  • Vegetables:
    • Vegetables should be roasted, stewed, or lightly steamed; avoid raw vegetables during this season.
    • Spaghetti or acorn squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, turnips, pumpkin.
  • Grains:
    • Wheat, rice, oats
  • Nuts
    • Most whole nuts, nut butters such as peanut butter or almond butter
  • Fats/Oils
    • Ghee, olive oil, butter
  • Spices
    • Focus on warming spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
  • Warm fluids, such as ginger, lemongrass, or mint tea
    • Fluids should be at room temperature or warmer. Avoid cool fluids, which further impair an already sluggish digestive system.
  • Proteins
    • Lentils
    • Mung beans
    • Soy—tofu, edamame
    • Reduce, avoid as much as possible, animal meat or jerky, fish, eggs.

Beans are high in Vata and are generally “wind generators,” they are an important dietary staples in vegetarian diets. Reduce their Vata qualities by rinsing them well, throwing out soak waters every 8 hours, and soaking/cooking for an extended amount of time. Season well with warming spices such as coriander, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and cumin; and especially ginger is particularly good as it helps reduce gas.

Sample Menu for Fall

Breakfast:

Do not Skip Breakfast, not for the reason the meat and dairy industry has been telling you, but breakfast sets the tone for the full day. We want to start with a high-water content breakfast to continue and support the detoxification stage the body is in as we wake. Wait until you are truly hungry before eating, then eat fruit and high-water content items until the biggest meal of the day at lunch (10am-2pm).

  • Fresh squeezed fruit juice (concentrated nutrients for easy assimilation – little digestion).
  • Warm oats seasoned with pumpkin pie spice and almond butter if need something more substantial.
  • Sliced green apple prepared according to time of season:
    • Early fall: eat apple slices raw with cinnamon.
    • Late fall: sauté apple slices in 1 tsp butter or ghee and cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • Spiced latte: 6 oz warm green rooibos chai with oat milk, add a little cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg for a pumpkin pie recollection.

Lunch:

  • Acorn squash sautéed in olive oil or baked for a detoxifying version.
  • Hippocrates Soup
  • White or brown rice
  • Warm clove tea (prepare by boiling 4-5 whole cloves in 8 oz water)

Dinner:

  • Soup made with boiled vegetables, stewed tomatoes, garlic broth, rice, or bean thread noodles. Spice to taste with curry seasoning and a little ginger and black pepper. Left over vegetables from lunch can be pureed with water.
  • Crusty 100% rye bread or other gluten free bread, spread lightly with ghee or olive oil.
  • Ginger or rooibos chai tea

Using these guidelines, you will be able to enjoy the fall with good health and maintain satva, peaceful, centered, calm, through sampling the warm, spicy flavors of fall.

Check next month’s lifestyle suggestions and more recipes for more suggestions with meals for detoxification, maintenance, and thriving. In the meantime, experiment with the fall produce and the Vata eating list combined with your doshas (body types) list. If you are a Pitta, find foods on the summer Pitta list (link) and the Vata list to cook with for the fall and winter. The Kapha will combine the Kapha (link) and Vata food lists.

Ideal Fall Foods

Vata season foods:

Fruits

Apples (cooked), Avocados, Bananas, Blueberries, Dates, Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Lemons, Limes, Mangoes, Oranges, Papayas, Persimmons, Prunes (soaked), Raisins (soaked), and Nartjies (Tangerines)

Vegetables

Beets, Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Chilies, Corn, Eggplant, Fennel, Garlic, Okra, Onions, Pumpkins, Squash-Winter, Sweet Potatoes, and Tomatoes

Grains

Amaranth, Basmati Rice, Buckwheat, Brown Rice, Rye (moderation) Oats, Quinoa, and Wheat

Legumes

Kidney Beans, Miso, Mung Beans, Tofu, Toor Dal, and Urad Dal

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Flax, Macadamias, raw Peanuts, Pecans, Pinons, Pistachio, and Walnuts

Dairy (avoid or reduce – ghee is OK)

Butter, Buttermilk, Cheese, Cream, Ghee, Kefir, Milk (not cold), Sour Cream, and Yogurt

Animal Products (avoid or reduce)

Beef, Chicken, Crab, Duck, Eggs,  Fish, Lobster, Oysters, Shrimp, Turkey, and Venison

Oils

Almond Oil, Coconut, Flax, Ghee, Olive Oil, Peanut Oil, Safflower Oil, and Sesame Oil

Sweeteners

Honey (raw), Jaggary, Maple Syrup, Molasses, Rice Syrup, and Sugar (Raw)

Spices (Most Are Recommended)

Allspice, Anise, Asafoetida (Hing), Basil, Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, Caraway, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Marjoram, Mustard Seed, Nutmeg, Oregano, Paprika, Parsley, Rosemary, Saffron, and Turmeric

Fall Food Tips

  • Eat more seasonal produce to dissipate heat. Apples (make great purgatives for fall) and remaining harvest of kale, beets, carrots, and tubers from your garden or buy and turn them make great fall soups. Add warming spices like clove and cinnamon to seasonal fruits as winter sets in.
  • Eat More Bread When Grains are Harvested in Fall and Winter. Try Sprouted Mana bread (no flour) and proper sourdough breads made with wheat, salt, water, and sourdough starter (mother) only. We make more amylase in fall and winter to manage grains and bread in preparation for winter and the bread helps us gain a few pounds or kilo’s for winter. Grains can help Vata in fall and winter.
  • Eat Protein to Balance Vata. More protein helps to balance Vata and protect our joints from drying and Vata aggravation. A good primary source of protein in the winter is still nuts. I try to vary them, eating plenty of sunflower seeds (a staple), plus almonds and cashews–which are my favorites–while also adding walnuts, pecans, and pistachios—Nuts are a good source of protein and fats for winter, all raw, without salt, and organic.

FALL RECIPES Late Summer/Early Fall

fall pastry

raspberry puff pastry

Raspberry Puff Pastry

Ingredients:

About 100 g fresh raspberries or frozen

4 small pieces of puff pastry (purchase or better make your own) 70-80mm square.

Little sweetener if desired (maple syrup or succanet)

Procedure:

  1. Place a small (6-10) raspberries on each square and fold the four corners up and twist.
  2. Place on baking paper on a baking pan.
  3. Place in a pre-heated oven (200-240 C) and bake for about 30 minutes until pastry is hard and berries cook down.
  4. Enjoy!
fall foods penne

mushroom broccoli penne 

Penne Pasta with Turmeric grilled Eggplant in Basil Pesto

Ingredients:

approximately 100 g Basil Pesto

1-2 tsp turmeric

Coconut oil for frying the eggplant.

250 g gluten free penne or linguini pasta

1 small-medium eggplant cut into 10 mm slices

Optional ¼ small head of broccoli cubed in small pieces.

Procedure:

  1. Boil the penne pasta in water until soft (10-15) mins depending on type of gluten free pasta (taste to decide if it is done).
  2. Heat a tsp(-tbs) of oil in a frying pan, add turmeric into the oil.
  3. Place the sliced eggplant into the oil, fry one side for a minute or two, turn and cook with the broccoli (until soft 5-10 minutes) at a medium heat – add a little water and cover to soften, do not let it burn.
  4. Remove the eggplant and cut into 20mm cubes. Continue cooking the broccoli until soft and then mix with the eggplant.
  5. When the pasta is soft, drain.
  6. Place back into the pan and add the pesto and mix well.
  7. Add the eggplant and broccoli to the pesto and mix well.
fall foods pumpkin bean

pumpkin green bean

Green Beans with Pumpkin

Ingredients:

1 medium tomato sliced thin

1 medium onion sliced thin

1 packet green beans

500 g pumpkin, peeled and cubed about 1-2 cups (alternatively us

½ cup Hippocrates soup if you desire

2 tsp marjoram

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp turmeric

Procedure: Lay onions on the bottom of the pan, followed by tomato. Layer beans on top and then the pumpkin. Sprinkle the spices on top and add soup if you like it wetter. Cook at medium to low heat until done and tender.

Embrace Autumn

Life is based on cycles of rest and activity to create best performance, health, happiness, and longevity. Fall and winter reminds us to slow down and prepare for activity in the new year (spring)., we pay dearly in terms of health, happiness, and longevity. This is a great time to slow down a little and plan for the winter hibernation enjoying the shorter days and longer nights with candlelight, wood fires, good friends, and warming food.

Invest in your own health and vitality by consciously adapting to the seasons and eating a seasonal diet. Align with nature starting today. Enjoy fall, by adhering to early fall foods (occasional days of late fall foods) and lifestyle to create stability, humility, and gratitude now.

Have a great fall and look for Fall Lifestyle in May,

Jim Montrose

Ayurvedic Specialist, Living Wholeness Ayurveda, 071 959 0786

Living Wholeness Ayurveda

P,S. – For further help – Check out the free resources and articles on wellness based beliefs and purpose and other topics.

Copyright Jim Montrose, April 2023

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© Copyright - Dr Zaida Rivene

From the N2 (Cape Town towards George) Take the first Swellendam exit (left). This is the R60. Proceed (1km+) through the 4 way stop and continue approximately 2-3 km and look for a sign for the Hermitage. Make a hard right (270 degrees). After the turn continue about 200 meters and turn left at first road (dirt). Proceed 300 meters and turn left into Red Roan Ranch and go to bottom of hill (the main house).

(Coming from George to Cape Town) Take the third exit (R60) right. Proceed (1km+) through the 4 way stop and continue approximately 2-3 km and look for a sign for the Hermitage. Make a hard right (270 degrees). After the turn continue about 200 meters and turn left at first road (dirt).  Proceed 300 meters and turn left into Red Roan Ranch and go to bottom of hill (the main house).

GPS:  S34 degrees 01.367 minutes, E020 degrees 25.193 minutes. Note most GPS units (Garmin, etc.) have the wrong coordinates for Red Roan Ranch.

Call if you have trouble 071 959 0786 or 083 290 1283