Autumn, with its sunny days and perfect temperatures, is my favourite time of year. Trees full of burnt orange, amber and sienna-coloured leaves. Layered fashion pieces made from beautiful soft, warming fabrics like cashmere and silk. Cups of tea and soup that warm the heart and soul. It’s a time for reflecting, regrouping and consolidating. A time for executing the goals you planned for the year.
A perfect time to cleanse
Autumn is also the perfect time for an extended cleanse, to get your body back on track after summer indulgences. It is a good time to release yourself from addictions to sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. And it is the time to prepare for the cooler winter season, by strengthening your immunity and promoting healthy circulation.
If you have the following Autumn symptoms, you would benefit from a cleanse:
- Dry skin
- Cracked or peeling lips
- Sluggish bowels, alternating with diarrhoea
- Bacterial and viral outbreaks
Herbal medicines to support a cleanse
The following herbs are very helpful when cleansing:
- Enhance digestion and the assimilation of nutrients – Digestive bitters: Gentian root, Dandelion root, Wormwood and Goldenseal root.
- Eliminate bad bugs and bolster immunity – Echinacea root, Manuka herb, Goldenseal root, Olive leaf, Cat’s claw, Pau d’arco, Thyme leaf and Horopito.
- Cleanse the liver – Dandelion root, St Mary’s Thistle seed and Rosemary leaf.
- Move sluggish bowels – Dandelion root, Licorice root and Globe artichoke.
- Revitalise the body – Bacopa, Schisandra berry, Licorice root,
- Warm the body and stimulate circulation – Cinnamon bark, Ginger root, Fennel seed and Cayenne.
Other lifestyle recommendations that support cleansing:
- Dry skin brushing
- Warm baths
- Vigourous walks – by the sea or amongst trees, on fresh, dewy mornings
- Early to bed and early to rise
Foods to eat in Autumn
Autumn is the season of harvest, the culmination of spring and summer growth. It is time to gather and store. A great way to store foods (and boost your digestion and immunity at the same time) is to make lactofermented foods such as cultured vegetables, pickles, jams, chutneys, and fermented drinks, from the surplus of fruit and vegetables.
Eat what’s in season. Seasonal food costs less (food grown naturally in season requires less intervention) and is fresher, more abundant and flavoursome.
Vegetables in season during Autumn:
Fruits in season during Autumn:
Warm-up with soups, casseroles and slow-cooked foods in Autumn and Winter (Spring and Summer raw foods cool the constitution, slowing down your digestion, metabolism and circulation).
Replace cold morning smoothies with nourishing bone stock-based vegetable soups. A delicious example is chicken soup with vegetables, served with chopped parsley and lime juice. Add a raw egg to the hot soup to gently poach after cooking.
Replace fruit salad with warming, poached seasonal fruit. Poach quince, pears, apples, and plums chopped in quarters. Cover in water and add cinnamon quills, clove buds, cardamom pods, and vanilla bean powder – simmer for 10 minutes until soft.
Replace cold cereal with warming porridge. Simply soak oats or whole quinoa in water and some natural salt overnight in a small cooking pot. Add more water or milk the next day and cook on the stove, slowly stirring to prevent the porridge from sticking to the base. Serve with poached fruit, extra cinnamon, and raw honey.
Replace raw salads with cooked salads. Roast vegetables like pumpkin and beetroot, and add steamed broccoli. Toss with pomegranate seeds and blanched almonds. Make a salad dressing of apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, chilli and paprika.
Autumn is a beautiful time of year. Enjoy the cooler temperatures and the opportunity to reflect. Cleanse your body and align your food choices with the season to prepare for the coming Winter. And be inspired by the beauty of our world as it changes season.
For a warm and hearty meal this Autumn, try the lamb shanks recipe below from Anthia Koullouros’ cookbook, I Am Food.
Slow-Cooked Tuscan Lamb Shanks Recipe
4 carrots, thickly sliced
4 celery stalks, with leaf tops, thickly sliced
12 tomatoes, chopped
1 large brown onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 cups (500ml) beef bone stock or water
Natural salt and freshly cracked pepper
2 tablespoons of Tuscan Herb & Spice Blend, or dried oregano, basil and marjoram to taste
6 lamb shanks, french-trimmed
Arrange the carrot, celery, tomato, onion, and garlic in layers in the slow cooker. Add the bay leaves and stock or water, and season with salt, pepper, and the spice blend. Rub butter over the lamb shanks, then nestle the shanks in the vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.