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Embodied Rituals for Skin + Soul

Filtering by Tag: Vata

Fall Foods for Grounding

Katie Gordon

For those of you on the west coast where temperatures are still in the 80's, this post will be relevant to you in a few weeks.  However, for my friends over here in the east, we have officially entered the season of Vata and you may be finding that you've begun feeling the effects of the fall season that is now upon us.  Energetically, the expansiveness of the summer season is now descending, contracting, moving inward, shedding.  This shift can leave many of us feeling the effects of seasonal change in the fall more so than any other season.  Maybe you're feeling a little more mentally scattered?  Ungrounded?  Maybe your skin is beginning to feel dry and itchy?  Here are some foods to help bring you back down to earth and into your body. 1. Leafy Greens - Yea I know you've heard it all before.  Leafy greens are great year round, but the hearty greens we get from now through the winter like kale, swiss chard, and beet greens are great for cleansing the body of toxins and added much needed nutrients like iron, calcium, and vitamin A.  Try them sauteed with chopped fresh garlic and olive oil.

2. Squash - My favorite is delicata, roasted in olive oil and herbs of your choice for about 30 minutes, topped with (you guessed it) leafy greens and pumpkin seeds or walnuts.  Play around with different herbs and spices like thyme, rosemary, sage, cinnamon, and nutmeg, noticing what flavor combinations most appeal to you.

3. Pungent foods - These hot and spicy foods help to clear toxins that have been building up in our bodies over the summer.  Incorporate more hot peppers, ginger, chilies, garlic, get the idea.

4. Root veggies - Roasted root vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, and carrots are the perfect food for fall because they combine the earthiness of the vegetables with longer cooking times, energetically locking more heat into the food.  Here's a recipe I posted previously for a Roasted Root Salad.

5. Healthy fats - As the air gets cool and crisp, so do your skin and internal organs.  For  healthy, glowing skin and mucus membranes, make sure to get enough healthy fat and oil in your diet.  Think nuts + seeds, olive, coconut, and flax oils, etc.  Get creative.  Add oils to your smoothies, drizzle walnut oil over your roasted veggies,  add pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds to yogurt or oatmeal.  Think of moisturizing from the inside out!  Fats also help our bodies to feel more grounded and insulated during the cold winter months.  To be clear, this doesn't mean necessarily gaining weight, but just adjusting how you nourish yourself.  Allow yourself to eat warmer, heavier meals from now through winter.

Fall is a great time to turn your focus inward, learn new ways to nourish and feed yourself, and begin to build your energy reserves for the coming winter.  But it's also a great time of year to get out in your community, visit nearby farms to get your produce, go apple-picking, make your own cider, and start experimenting with fall foods and flavors.  Try new fruits and vegetables you come across and please share your favorite fall recipes!



Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Soup

Katie Gordon

You may be wondering why I'm posting a soup recipe in June.  Well to satisfy your curiosity, I'll tell you a story...

My friend, Deb, and I had been planning to make a fantastic dinner together last Friday.  It had been a hot and humid few days, so on Thursday we decided we'd make gazpacho with quinoa-stuffed peppers.  Perfect summer dinner, right?  Then temperatures dropped overnight back down into the low 60's (yes that's cold for me) and we reconsidered our plan.

I had come across this recipe in an old issue of Yoga Journal in an article discussing how through an Ayurvedic diet based on your body type, your body will naturally find its ideal weight.  The sweet potato and heating spices in this recipe make it an ideal meal for those who are vata-dominant because of its heating, heavy, and calming qualities.  More on Ayurveda coming soon...

Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Soup

2 Tbsp. Ghee or Olive Oil 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks* 1 medium sweet potato 1 large onion, loosely diced 2 garlic cloves, smashed 1-inch knob of fresh ginger, chopped 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp. ground cloves (optional) 1 tsp. ground cumin 1/2 tsp. turmeric 3 c. water or broth 1 c. coconut milk (or half-and-half) Salt and pepper to taste Freshly minced parsley to garnish

Heat 1 Tbsp. ghee or oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep saute pan.  Add squash, sweet potato, and onion.  Saute for 7-8 minutes or until ingredients turn golden brown.  Reduce heat to low, add garlic, and cook about 10 more minutes, or until vegetables are a caramel color.

In a separate soup pot, add 1 Tbsp. ghee or oil, ginger, and the spices.  Saute until fragrant.  Add broth and vegetables to soup pot.  Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, partially covered, until the squash is tender.

Puree in a blender until smooth.  Return to soup pot.  Add coconut milk, salt, and pepper to taste.  Heat and serve.  Garnish with parsley.

*Please be careful when peeling your butternut squash...I sustained an injury while doing so, and though I won't go into details, suffice it to say my index finger/fingernail suffered a close call with the vegetable peeler.