As we move into autumn we need to nourish our bodies accordingly. Sadly long hazy days and times of feasting on fresh-picked warm summer fruits are finite, although some days in the winterless north – like our gardens – we may be fooled into believing differently. However just as we adjust our wardrobe, our body’s dietary requirements change seasonally.
Summer salads and juicy fruits have a high water content that are cooling on the body, bitter salad greens support a range of enzymes that among other factors assist detoxification. However with year-round availability of practically every kind of fruit and vegetable – asparagus, snow peas, peaches, plums from far flung regions of the planet – it’s no wonder we are confused!
The best ways of learning what produce is in season is to grow our own fruits and vegetables and shop locally, especially at local markets – there are so many reasons to eat what is grown in our backyard, literally. When produce is local, not cool stored and shipped across miles the nutrient value and taste is retained; sometimes you will find very local varieties of fruits that pertain to environ and soils of the area. Doesn’t this have to be better for us than an imported Caribbean courgette in the middle of winter? It’s only logical – so much better for us and the environment and its cheaper!
So getting back to what nourishes us in autumn. In preparation for the next season our bodies require produce that is in current season, you won’t have to look far for late apples, pears, fejoas, persimmons. A variety of root vegetables, dark leafy greens, tangy herbs, turned into hearty soups (bone broth based, local fish and home reared meats), slow cooked casseroles, add warming spices, soft nourishing beans and legumes – all deeply nourishing, filling and energy dense.
Learning to observe the rhythm of nature is such a powerful tool for our health.
n Jan Van der Lee is a Clinical Nutritionist based at Waipu Natural Health, 3 Cove Road, Waipu. Contact (09) 432 1325, waipunaturalhealth.co.nz.
Jan Van der Lee, Clinical Nutritionist