It’s October!! My favorite month of the year!
I get so nostalgic for everything orange and cozy and pumpkin scented. I don’t even mind the days getting shorter and moving into the darkest part of the year. Watching nature turn over new leaves (literally!) and shed that which is no longer needed makes me feel so comforted and connected to the divine process of life.
So now that autumn has graced us with her crisp and harvest colored presence, you’re sure to notice that there’s a new bounty in town at the farmer’s market. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE summer and the berries and stone fruits and tropical treats, but I find that once late September/October moves in, I’m beyond ready for the comforting and beautifying autumn foods!
As the days get longer and chillier, I find myself craving warm, hearty foods that satisfy me and bring the coziness that makes fall the wonderful time of year that it is. Many of fall’s amazing foods provide a grounding quality that centers, balances, and provides us with stability needed for the coming cold months.
Lets take a second to admire nature and how perfectly she does it every time. So we’ve just spent all summer out in the sun soaking up all the UV rays, embarking on high-energy/high-intensity activities like traveling and playing and hiking and biking and adventuring. Isn’t it the most perfect thing in the world that nature would have it so that the new foods in town are packed with antioxidants and minerals that restore the luster and vibrance that are often lost from all the summer fun?! Nature is constantly blowing my mind!
Here’s a list of my fall faves and a little bit of yummy info about why they should be coming home with you from the market soon 😉
Apples are amazing for detoxification! They contain pectin which helps us feel full and lowers cholesterol. They contain quercetin, an antioxidant that is massively anti-inflammatory and protects against free radical damage. Quercetin is also a natural antihistamine, plus an anti-aging/anti-cancer compound! Apples also help balance your beneficial gut bugs.
Acorn squash is high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium – 3 extremely important minerals that keep your bodily metabolic processes running smoothly. It also contains iron and vitamin C, and this is important because iron is better absorbed in the presence of vitamin C. How nice of nature to put those two right in there together for maximal absorption? Acorn squash also has important B vitamins for circulation and DNA repair.
Loads of beta-carotene found in butternut squash! Beta-carotene is the precursor to vitamin A which is massively important for healing, repair, eye health and UV damage. Butternut squash also contains iron, vitamin E,B vitamins and omega-3s. Butternut squash supports healthy immunity, reduces inflammation, helps prevent and fight certain cancers, helps maintain healthy bones, and helps mitigate PMS symptoms.
Chard is quite high in biotin (vitamin B7), which helps the body use protein, repairing damage and keeping skin, hair and nails strong and healthy. You know how your hair stylist often suggests biotin if you’ve got hair breakage? Just add some chard to your diet instead! Chard is quite a concentrated source of vitamins A, C, and K, and E, not to mention calcium and lutein (eye health). Chard is also noted to help maintain muscle and nerve function.
Daikon radish is peppery and lovely. It cools the body internally and aids in detoxification by supporting the liver, stomach and lungs. It has iron and vitamin C together for maximal absorption, and it enzymes that aid in digestion. Daikon balances blood sugar, aids in weight loss, promotes immune health, and aids in elimination.
You guessed it! More squash means more vitamin A! Delicata squash also contains loads of vitamin C, folate, potassium, iron, calcium, omega 3s, and fiber. This means that this lovely little squash can improve your immunity, aid your digestion, reduce inflammation, support your cardiovascular system, and maintain a healthy blood sugar.
Vitamin C and vitamin A are found in abundance in this lovely bitter green. Vitamin A reduces inflammation and regulates immune function while vitamin C plays a critical role in immune health as well. Escarole also contains calcium, iron, folate, and vitamin K which is important for maintaining healthy blood clotting abilities in the body. It is also aids in digestion by providing the body with fiber.
Powerful fresh and dried, figs contain calcium, manganese, magnesium and potassium. They also contain omega fatty acids in their seeds which are essential for maintaining cellular integrity and lowering inflammation. They also contain amino acids that help support healthy circulation. Figs can also help you if you are constipated, as they contain soluble fiber which helps bulk the stool and remove waste. They are also have anti-cancer properties, and are naturally antibacterial and antifungal.
Grapes are delicate little jewels of flavor and healing. Aim for darker varieties, as the darker the skin means more antioxidants and phytonutrients. The skin of grapes helps support a healthy gut microbiome, particularly supporting a keystone strain of bacteria in there called Akkermansia. Resveratrol protects the plant from sun damage and harmful bacteria as well as slows the aging process of our cells. Grapes boost energy production in our mitochondria.
Kohlrabi is in the same family as brussels sprouts and broccoli, which means it is high in glucosinolates, which are responsible for supporting liver detoxification and lowering inflammation. It also defends against UV damage and helps DNA repair/restoration. Kohlrabi also contains vitamin C, potassium, and beneficial B vitamins. It is also quite high in fiber for a healthy gut and healthy elimination.
Leeks contain amazing phytochemicals that stimulate the body to produce glutathione – the body’s most critical, cellular-protective antioxidant. Glutathione protects our cells by way of preventing and repairing DNA damage, protecting our mitochondria, and boosting our body’s ability to eliminate toxins. Leeks also contain kaempferol which is anti-cancer and helps stop our skin from aging.
Pumpkin is powerfully antioxidant rich and anti-inflammatory. It contains loads of beta-carotene (precursor to vitamin A), lutein and zeaxanthin which protect our eyes from free-radical damage. It is high in fiber and acts as a natural diuretic. Don’t forget about pumpkin seeds! They are one of the best plant-based sources of zinc which is amazingly anti-inflammatory and encourages strong hair and nail growth as well as clear skin. They also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps keep you calm and relaxed because it is the precursor to serotonin.
Red cabbage is a powerful source of vitamin C (red cabbage has twice as much vitamin C as green cabbage) which is key for so many things in the body including collagen building as well as immune system support. The purple color of the cabbages comes from anthocyanins, which are phytochemicals that contain free radical-fighting properties and the ability to neutralize enzymes that break down our connective tissues. Don’t forget about fiber, vitamin K, B vitamins, and silicon. Red cabbage also contains glucosinolates, which are natural sulfur containing compounds linked to the prevention of many cancers (breast, colon, prostate).
Beta-carotene again! Where there is beta-carotene, there is vitamin A. And by now we know that vitamin A is essential for cellular division, regeneration, repair, restoration, and keeping us beautiful by regenerating collagen, and maintaining strong hair, teeth, bones, and nails. Sweet potatoes also have vitamin C (collagen production), and vitamin B6 which is extremely important for progesterone production.
Turnips are members of the brassica family – cousins to our broccoli, brussels sprouts and kohlrabi, which means they are high in glucosinolates, compounds responsible for mitigating the effects of inflammation and UV damage caused by the summer sun. Turnips boost glutathione production in the body. They also contain the big kahunas of minerals that our body needs in abundance to operate properly: potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium and phosphorous. Turnips aid in digestion, provide ample amounts of fiber, support heart health, and improve circulation.
Fall’s bounty is brimming with beneficial nutrients that are sure to sustain you throughout the season.
Some of my favorite ways to enjoy these beauties are by roasting or baking them so that they caramelize and sweeten, or sauteing or wilting them in my cast iron skillet with a bit of ghee.
Add some figs to your next salad of escarole and radicchio, pack some pumpkin seeds for an afternoon snack, and add leek to your morning omelette instead of onion.
Next time you want to make mashed potatoes, substitute turnips and rutabaga instead. There are so many fun ways to get creative with this beautiful bounty of autumn favorites!
I also want to encourage you to notice how you feel when you consume these amazing fall foods. These foods are very grounding and have the ability to provide balance and stability during busy and changing times.
Tune in, breathe deeply, and simply notice what it is you feel after eating these. This creates mindfulness, which creates a more intimate connection with our food and nature and the delicate process of life, which in turn opens us up for more joy and love to come into our hearts.
Do you want some fall recipes to go along with these gorgeous foods?
I’d love to hear from you! How do you enjoy your fall fruits and veggies?