As the leaves begin to turn their magnificent colours and the temperatures start to drop, signs of autumn are everywhere. Just what is it about autumn that brings about feelings of nostalgia? Memories of snow sports, warm fires and cozy sweaters come to mind — and the irresistible assortment of fall foods that accompany them.
Evolutionarily, we are designed to eat according to the seasons. Foods are at their nutritional peak, they provide properties that help keep our bodies comfortable during changing temperatures, and best of all, the flavour of in-season food is unparalleled. Autumn foods are designed to prepare our bodies for low food supply in the winter and to provide rich sources of vitamins and minerals to fill our nutrient reserves.
Looking for some new autumn staples?
This fruit has enough varieties and flavours to appeal to everyone — sweet, tart and even sour make apples nature’s candy. Beyond the incredible taste, apples are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, beta carotene and a class of phytochemical called flavonoids.
One flavonoid that deserves attention is quercetin. Quercetin helps quench reactive oxygen species, which are responsible for DNA damage. Quercetin is also effective in reducing allergy symptoms.
We suggests choosing organic apples because conventional apples are heavily sprayed with pesticides and can be coated with wax. (The shinier the apple, the more wax.)
Choose apples that are heavy and dense, which is an indicator there is more moisture and unlikely to be mealy. To retain nutrients and increase storage life, it’s best to keep them in the refrigerator.
· 1 apple
· 500ml water
· 1-2 black tea bags
· ½ tbsp honey
· cinnamon powder
1. Peel apple and chop into small pieces.
2. Heat skillet under medium-low heat, cook apple pieces with honey for about five minutes. Add water and one to two pinches of cinnamon powder. Bring to boil.
3. Soak tea bag(s) in mixture. Take out after three to five minutes.
Beyond the obvious fall foods like corn and pumpkin, there is a category of fall vegetables called brassicas. Brassica vegetables — such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage — have unique properties like improving liver detoxification and have even been shown to prevent cancer. One particularly noteworthy compound found in brassicas is glucoraphanin.
“When you eat brassicas, your body converts glucoraphanin into sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is one of those compounds everyone living in the modern world needs in their diet. This powerhouse compound induces liver detoxification and even inhibits the development of cancer cells. Food truly is medicine!
Choose Brussels sprouts and broccoli that are vibrant green and free of wilting. Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh.
· 2 cups Brussels sprouts, quartered
· 2 cups sweet potatoes, chopped
· ½ large honey crisp apple, chopped
· ¼ cup olive oil
· Juice of ½ orange + zest
· 3 cloves garlic
· 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
· ½ tsp sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C
2. Grease bottom of large baking dish with organic butter, olive oil, ghee or coconut oil. Place Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and apples in dish and bake 45 minutes.
3. Mix together olive oil, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic and sea salt and whisk until thoroughly combined.
4. Once ingredients are done cooking, remove from oven and coat with dressing. Gently mix until dressing coats entire dish.
It’s hard to imagine autumn without pumpkin. While pumpkin is most commonly associated pumpkin soup and roast dinners. This vegetable has so much more to offer!
Pumpkin is a good source of fiber and also rich in beta carotene and vitamin C. A little-known fact about pumpkin flesh is that it works like an adaptogen for bowel function, meaning it helps normalize function — either slowing things down or moving things along, depending on what your body needs.
The flesh can be used to make baked goods, ravioli, sauce and even smoothies. Pumpkin seeds are even more nutrient dense, containing protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. The seeds are an easy snack and a great topping for salads.
Choose pumpkins with a hard, tough rind and avoid those that have soft, sunken or mouldy spots. Like potatoes, pumpkins should be stored in a cool, dry location.
· 1 cup pumpkin, small chunks
· 2 chicken thighs
· ½ onion, chopped
· 8 mushrooms, sliced
· 1 tbsp tamari
· 2 cups rice
· 1 tbsp olive oil
· sea salt
1. Cut chicken thighs into small pieces.
2. Heat skillet with oil, and saute chopped onions for about three minutes.
3. Add chicken and stir-fry until meat is cooked through.
4. Add pumpkin and mushrooms. Cook about two minutes and then remove from heat.
5. Add soy sauce and sea salt (to taste).
6. Rinse rice and put it into rice cooker along with 1¼ cups water.
7. Add stir-fried chicken and vegetables to rice cooker and start rice cooker.
8. Once stir-fry is done, it’s ready to serve.
If you’re looking for a simple way to increase exercise tolerance and stamina, look no further than beets. Beets have made a serious comeback since juicing became in vogue.
Beets are a great source of inorganic nitrates. When you chew beets, the bacteria in your saliva convert nitrate into nitrite and eventually into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide dilates your blood vessels, which increases blood flow and oxygen delivery. In addition to nitrates, beets contain more polyphenolic content and higher antioxidant capacity than onions, celery, spinach and broccoli.
Look for medium-size beets with smooth skin, firm roots and rich colour. Beets lose their freshness if not stored properly, so cut off the stems, place them in a plastic bag, squeeze out the air and then store them in the refrigerator.
· 1 cup beetroot, chopped
· ½ cup garbanzo beans (chick peas)
· 2-3 tbsp sesame tahini