LIVING COLUMN Let nature be your guide.
As the seasons shift, let nature inspire you to nourish your body with autumnal avours
For me, autumn presents a wonderful opportunity to slow down, to focus on nourishing my body after a busy season of sun and to prepare for winter months. Nature seems to re ect this too; a riot of oral colour becomes uttering leaves in tonal hues and berry bright fruits give way to deep orange and purple root vegetables that I can’t help but be drawn to.
Sweet potatoes, carrots, red peppers; all are wonderful roasted with coconut oil and a dash of harissa. Adding them into a blender with stock and spices to make soup is another way to enjoy them that evokes the pure joy of crisp autumn days. Ciara Jean Roberts, a naturopathic nutritionist (www.whollyaligned.com), agrees. “Autumn is a time to draw into yourself and stoke your digestive ame,” she says. “It’s a season for soups, especially homemade bone broths or an uplifting carrot and coriander combination. Soups are warming, especially if you are someone who really feels the cold, and they’re a great way to receive plenty of nutrients in one bowl.”
Turmeric, the deep yellow root that looks a bit like ginger, is another ingredient that comes into its own in autumn. Colourful plant foods are good for us because of their phytochemical and anti-in ammatory properties; in turmeric, it’s all down to curcumin, which gives it its ochre hue and is thought to help with in ammation, detoxi cation, circulation and cognitive function.
The root is most often sun-dried and then ground into a powder, ready to be used to add avour to curries, soups and stews. Recently, it has also become a new addition to lattes and other hot drinks, to give a boost to our mid-morning cuppa.
Personally, I like to have this at home as an alternative to co ee. I make myself a mug of a soothing hot drink called Turmerlicious (www.tumerlicious.com), a blend of coconut milk, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, a hint of black pepper and skimmed milk (to aid the absorption), along with a little coconut blossom nectar to add some sweetness. When you have the time, you can make your own version; simply heat your milk of choice gently with equal parts ground turmeric, cinnamon and ginger, whisking constantly, then add a little vanilla extract and your favourite sweetener, to taste. I recommend experimenting with di erent amounts of the spices, starting with a pinch as you adjust to the turmeric taste, until you nd your perfect combination.
Turmeric is good for your skin, too – you can make an all-purpose face mask by mixing a teaspoon of turmeric powder with a teaspoon of runny honey and a teaspoon of coconut milk or yoghurt. But however you’re using it, be careful as it can stain your skin. I nd that giving my hands a gentle scrub with a mix of sugar and water after using it removes the bright yellow colour – and leaves my hands feeling smooth and soft.
Autumn rituals are another wonderful part of the season for me. I love walking in nature, rustling through the leaves and noticing the changing landscape of colour. Once back indoors, I light a natural candle or use an aromatherapy spray to create the right energy in my home. My current favourite is Sacred Earth from Findhorn Flower Essences (www. ndhornessences.com), which I nd helps to balance and harmonise the space. I then settle down with a hot chocolate, which feels so nourishing in the colder weather. I’m very fussy when it comes to cacao and only use a high percentage – I mix one tablespoon with warmed almond milk and a dash of coconut nectar, then enjoy before bed. As the nights gently draw in, Ciara suggests going to bed fteen minutes earlier than usual and I, for one, will be heeding her advice as the seasos shift around me.