For optimal health and vitality, traditional medical teachings like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine recommend eating seasonally and locally. In keeping with the ancient belief that we are healthier and happier when our bodies are in synch with the cycles of nature, we should strive to eat foods that grow in our geographical area while they are in season. Traditionally it’s believed that foods and people in the same geographical area have "similar energy." This may be true in the sense that plants and the people living as neighbors share the same weather, air, soil and "roots." Whether indigenous or adoptive species, plants that thrive in particular areas are there because they are well-suited and have established harmony with their surroundings. When we eat foods that exist in harmony with our surroundings, it's believed we allow take some of that harmony into our own bodies.
For summer that meant enjoying the melons, berries and tender greens that grow in abundance. Yet there is no need to despair for fall and winter. Instead of spending a fortune this winter on raspberries that have been shipped from half-way across the world, take a deeper look at your local flora. Farmer's markets are one way to explore what's locally and seasonally available in your area. Many big grocery chains have begun to label produce as locally-grown when applicable. With their rich, deep flavor squash, sweet potatoes, onions and dried mushrooms have the muscle to stand up to chilly days.
Here are some tips for reaping the best of Fall's fertility bounty:
1. Think slow, think stew. Fall and winter vegetables tend to be tougher and heartier than the delicate sprigs and tender fruits of spring and summer. Kale, collards and sweet potatoes hold up well to slow-cooking methods like stewing or braising. The benefit of stews and one-pot-meals is that the veggie cooking liquid is consumed as part of the dish, thus preserving nutrient content.
2. Bake, bake, bake. Cruciferous vegetables, including cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts release a caramel sweetness when slow roasted in a hot oven. These vegetables are fertility "must eats" and contain compounds that help regulate our body's hormone levels. The heat from the oven warms your home, too.
3. Experiment with beans. Bean soups and chili are nourishing dishes that contain fiber that promotes healthy digestion and elimination as well as stabilize blood sugar levels.
4. Squashes and sweet potatoes are anti-oxidant powerhouses. Slow roasted or mashed, they can also quench a sweet tooth. Here’s an easy fertility-friendly recipe: rub sweet potatoes with olive oil, sea salt and chipotle pepper powder and wrap in foil. Cook all day on low in your slow cooker and the serve with a squeeze of fresh lime.
For specific nutrition advice regarding fertility-friendly eating or weight loss for optimal fertility, click here and book an appointment with one of our Pulling Down the Moon Fertility Nutrition specialists in the Chicago and/or DC Metro area. Phone consults are also available.