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why eat Seasonal Foods?

With the cycle of the seasons, comes a change in temperature and daylight and if we listen to our intelligent bodies, that have evolved over millions of years we might sense an instinctive need to adapt the types of foods that we eat to mirror the shift in season.

It’s important for us to eat seasonal produce, because the food is harvested upon ripeness, reducing early picking and packing, its grown closer to home, so that there is less time spent travelling from farm to table, this means that the produce has much more flavour and nutritional benefits. Nature provides all that we need at the appropriate time of year to sustain a healthy body.

If you ever gone fruit picking or foraging as a child, I’m sure you will remember the pleasure of picking your own fruit, plus the delicious taste of that juicy apple or blackberry all your senses heightened during that experience. Forever stored in or memory banks to be recalled each time that season comes back around.

 The difficulty that comes from living In a western society is that we have become so used to having the choice of foods that we desire on supermarket shelves all year round, that we get into the habits of picking up the same things regularly. With many of us having lost the awareness of when and how our food is produced.

Many items in supermarkets are not seasonally grown in our country or locality and have been transported many thousands of miles across the globe before the food is ripe. The produce is often sprayed with chemicals, waxes or concealed inside packaging filled with gases to preserve the shelf life. These items require extra unnecessary packaging that is not always recyclable and a vast majority of it ends in landfill or sometimes in our rivers and oceans.

Many more people are becoming aware that our climate is struggling with the damage that our overpopulated species and greedy corporate industries and leaders are doing to the World.

The cruel and damaging way in which we treat other species, the forests, the oceans, the list goes on! It can be overwhelming, we might want to help in some way but are not sure where to start!

There are many ways to help (that might be another blog for another day) but we can help ourselves, by starting small and smart by thinking about how you shop for food.

1. If you buy your fruit and veg from supermarkets try and buy the seasonal produce, if you can afford some organic items, they should not have all the harsh chemical pesticides on them that are depleting our bee population and other important insects, (our natural pesticides) that we need for pollination and the eating of aphids, black and greenfly etc. Plus bring your own mesh bags for fruit and veg and other items so that you don’t take home a load of unwanted packaging, highlighting to the supermarket that they need to reduce the amount of packaging they use.

2. Try to buy locally grown seasonal produce if possible, from farm shops and wholefood suppliers. Buying from shops that you can take your mesh or cotton bags with you and weigh out loose items such as pasta, rice and more.

3. A great way to eat seasonal and organic food is to order an organic fruit and veg box delivery, from companies such as Riverford or Able & Cole. Which are quite affordable and often have some different types of veg that you might not usually see in the big supermarkets. Which are limited to the ranges that they offer. Riverford also include a recipe sheet that shows a variety of ways to prepare and cook these items.

4. If you are lucky enough to have space in your garden to experiment growing your own veg in a veg patch or pots, you will benefit from being out in the fresh air, getting your hands in the earth and delight in eating the flavoursome fruits of your labour.

If you have young children, it’s a great way to teach them about where fruit and veg comes from. They are usually eager to learn and it gets them away from the TV, phones and computer games for a while, plus seeing their faces light up when they pick and eat what they have grown is a treasure.

5. One last and extremely important thing is to Waste Less Food. Try to reduce your waste. Its tricky when you supermarket buy as its easy to over purchase. If you can reduce some items from your shopping list that are not a necessity you will save yourself some money and help the planet too ! Soups are an easy and quick way to make a hearty and wholesome meal plus great way to use up any veg from your fridge or larder.

One thing the lock down was good for was to force society to slow down and to appreciate the simple things in life that can bring great pleasure along with the good weather that we had it allowed for many people to spend more time in their gardens.

Remember that adding just a few seasonal items will be a great way to nourish you and your family and help provide a buffer against the cooler  weather.

To get you off to a start this Autumn I’m sharing a soup recipe that I make every Autumn and it is suitable for vegan and nonvegans alike. Its colourful and nourishing and the flavour improves if you have any left over for the next day.

It’s originally a Russian soup called “Borscht” but the main veg for this soup is grown in the U.K in the Autumn.

Recipe: serves 6

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

450g/ 1lb of raw beetroot, peeled and chopped

1 large cooking apple, although I have found eating apples work too

2 sticks of celery, chopped

 4oz of mushrooms, chopped

25g or 1oz of dairy free margarine/ vegan butter

30ml/2tbsp sunflower oil

2 litres/3 1/2pts vegetable stock

 5ml/ 1 tsp cumin seeds

Pinch of thyme dried or fresh

1 large bay leaf

Juice of a lemon, ½ for the soup and ½ for souring the cream

salt and ground black pepper to taste

150mls ¼ pint of vegan cream

Few sprigs of fresh dill .

Method:

1. Place all the chopped vegetables into a large saucepan, with the margarine, oil and 3 the stock liquid. Cover and cook gently for about 15 minutes, shake the pan occasionally.

2. Stir in the cumin seeds and cook for a minute, then add the remaining stock, thyme, bay leaf, lemon juice and seasoning.

3. Bring to the boil then cover and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, for about 30 minutes.

4. Strain the vegetables and reserve the liquid. Pass the vegetables through a food processor or blender until they are smooth and creamy.

5. Return all the vegetables to the pan, stir in the reserved stock and reheat. Check the seasoning.

6.  In a small separate bowl squeeze the juice from ½ a lemon into the cream and stir together, it will make the cream thicken and taste great.

 7. (Optional) serve the Borscht with swirls of the sour cream and topped with dill.

Enjoy this hearty and nourishing soup.

Let me know how you get on with this recipe and if you have any Autumn recipes that are your favourites that you would like to share.

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Autumn Survival kit!

2020 has thrown us all into chaos, with the unwelcome arrival of a pandemic, that brought with it the heightened emotion of fear, the unknown and the resistance to change.

We have all been impacted by this, in a variety of ways no matter what background you come from and where you are located.

There have been many major adjustments to our normal behaviour patterns. Whether that’s daily routines, work and family life plus the disruption to our social lives, getting together with friends, family members and making travel plans. This has left many of us, feeling confused, fatigued and frustrated. As human beings we like to be able to plan ahead, having those special events marked on our calendars to look forward to.

This situation has challenged our mental wellbeing in a variety of ways and as we transition into Autumn, we will need to find some balance between the seasonal shifts and the constantly evolving corona virus situation.

Autumn signals change, the time of year for harvest, changes in temperature, receding hours of daylight and the trees flaunting their bursts of colour before shedding their leaves. It highlights that life is cyclical in nature and that it is a time to take stock of where we are, to slow down, to be thankful for all we have and to appreciate how far we have come throughout the year. A time to reflect and pause and plant seeds of intention for the coming months.

 To help us manage these challenges, here are 10 tips to maintain a healthy outlook.

1.Breathe Deeply

When we feel anxious, we breathe more shallow and rapid, this only exasperates the problem. Try this for 5 minutes a day.

2. Meditate:

Take time to sit in a quiet space, bring your full attention to your breath, take a full inhale and a full exhale filling the lungs on the inhale and completely emptying the lungs on the exhale expanding the abdomen on the inhale and releasing the air on the exhale. Continue repeating this for 5/10 breaths then add a small pause at the top of the inhale and a small pause at the bottom of the exhale. Repeat this for another 5/10 breaths. Take a moment to notice how you feel. Try to fit in at least 5 minutes a day you will gradually find it easier to focus on breathing properly and feel a state of calm. You can try practicing this when you are in a queue or at your desk.

Meditation is a wonderful way to bring calm and clarity to your day, when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. If you struggle to sit in silence to meditate, you can listen to guided meditations on your devices. This is a good way to start a meditation practice until you get used to sitting in this way. Try thisfor 5/10 minutes a day

Meditation practice usually starts with focus on the breath once you are sitting comfortably. The breathing exercise above can be used in your meditation to bring your attention inwards. Most people struggle with the mind wandering away from your object of focus. That is natural, it highlights your awareness of the mind chatter, just keep bringing your attention back to the breath. Meditation help us through transformation.

3. Exercise:

Allow some time to move in your day, whether it’s an exercise class, i.e. yoga, spin or an outdoor sport, whether its 10 minutes or an hour or two. There are plenty of options to choose from, gyms and studio’s or online live or pre recorded classes.

4. Music:

 Play some of your favourite music, during your meditation, or exercise, put on your headphones whilst doing house     hold chores, you will feel more motivated and the tasks will be more enjoyable too. Music can affect your emotions and help you to feel more positive.

5. Dance:

This can link in with the above tip when playing music, take the opportunity to have a shake out of the body and dance around the house or anywhere you feel comfortable too, just move your body and let yourself flow, notice  how you feel afterwards. I guarantee you will feel great and have a smile on your face.

6. Get Out in Nature:

This is one of my favourites, I love to be close to nature. Try and spend some time outside in green spaces every day.       Whether you walk, run, cycle, climb, swim or sit. Wrap up warm and enjoy connecting with nature, it will help you to feel grounded and calm, filling your lungs with fresh air and helping you gain a greater perspective on life.

7. Rituals:

Rituals help us consciously form positive habits and structure in our daily lives, providing a sense of meaning and purpose in an ever changing world. They offer an opportunity for healing and expression, for honouring special moments in our day or calendar and for co creating our reality, Rituals connect us with nature and the seasons and show us how we are a part of a much grander design. Here are 3 rituals to get you started and you can add in as many as you feel called to.

a; Gratitude; an underestimated and immensely empowering ritual, take time to notice and appreciate all the big and small things in your daily life, this will help create a more positive mindset.

b; write down the important tasks that you need to achieve in your day, ones that support your long term goals and are aligned to your purpose or passions. This will help to bring your goals to fruition.

c; Stand or walk barefoot on the grass in the morning dew for several minutes,This is my current favourite morning ritual! it is exhilarating, grounds you and gives you the chance to be thankful for the abundance of nature around you.

8. Seasonal Foods:

Eating the foods that nature provides during Autumn, is better quality will give you better nutrition, a richer flavour and help to nourish the body against the colder weather. Its more environmentally friendly to purchase organic fruits and vegetables grown in your local community if possible. Eat these Autumn fruits and vegetables; pumpkins, squash, savoy cabbage, carrots, parsnips, apples, blackberries and pears.

9. Rest:

This is one of the tips I need to follow every Autumn and Winter.

Take time to slow down a bit more in the Autumn, as nature slows down, so should we. Our energy levels drop as the amount of daylight hours reduce. It’s important to get to bed a little earlier to maintain your energy levels throughout this season. If you have the opportunity get a power nap mid afternoon, that can help you keep going through the rest of the day

10. Relax:

Make time to relax, try to find some time to relax, get cosy, with a hot drink and a comfy place to sit, whether that means reading, watching a movie that’s fun or uplifting, or get creative, drawing , painting, sewing, knitting, doing puzzles or any of the above.

I hope this blog, helps you find balance and ways to navigate the current situation and the changing seasons.

I’d love to hear how you get on, message me on info@rekindlewellness.co.uk Autumn blessings of wellness.