My good friend Sarah is off traveling to India and I put together a first aid kit for her. I thought of all the things I would want in a first aid kit if I were headed to India and this is what I came up with. I also made her a salve with lots of great herbs to protect her from any nasty wounds or infections. There are ginger chews, Activated Charcoal, Coptis teapills, Andrographis, Nutribiotic Defense Plus, Rescue Remedy, Arnica homeopathic pills, Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Hand Sanitizer, Band Aids, Yunan Bao, Quantum Eye Remedy, First Aid Gel Soverign Silver and Aloe Vera Gel, Hsiao Keh Chuan, Great Corydalis Teapills, and some Doterra On Guard and Digest Zen. There she is – the intrepid traveler!
Foods & Herbs that Support the Transition from Summer to Fall
The days at the end of September and early October are sometimes called Indian Summer— the glorious light of summer is fading as the Earth travels around the sun and less light reaches the Northern Hemisphere. The amount of sunlight we receive will continue to decline until the Winter Solstice, after which the angle of the Earth’s axis gradually allows light to grow again in the Northern Hemisphere until the Summer Solstice.
The Earth is still holding the warmth of Summer, but the dwindling light triggers changes to every aspect of life on our beautiful planet. Leaves begin to fall, plants, animals, birds and insects prepare for the challenge of winter by migrating, growing thicker, warmer coats, storing food, or going dormant.
It is not so easy for us to perceive this profound change in our modern world with electric lights and heat, the internet, and grocery stores, but we are still affected by it. It is a time for turning inward, both emotionally and physically, as we spend fewer hours out-of-doors, we look forward to holiday reunions with family and friends, and we begin a new cycle of school days and harvest time. This is also a time for gathering in our personal lessons from the past year and harvesting the wisdom and insights we have gained. In this way we can cultivate gratitude and appreciation for all that life has offered us. It is also a time for letting go, to make room for new growth in the new year that is coming.
An easy way to adjust our diet to reflect the changing needs of our body, mind and spirit is to eat what is in season where we live. Late summer is so abundant with wonderful produce that helps us transition to a heartier, more warming diet. Peppers of all kinds are ripe in late summer. Greens, cauliflower and broccoli are all cooler season crops. Winter squashes are coming into season. Dried beans are ready, and apples, pears, and grapes are at their best.
After all the salads, fresh berries and melons, tomatoes and summer squash, it is time to eat more substantial, cooked foods to prepare our systems for the cold, dark, damp days ahead. Bean soups with root vegetables, broth made from chicken, beef or lamb, and satisfying winter squash either mashed, in soups, or in a casserole with whole grains are all wonderful ways to nourish your body and give it nutritional support.
TCM Five Element Theory
In TCM Five Element Theory, each season corresponds to a yin/yang pair of organs. Late summer is related to the element of Earth, and the Spleen / Stomach / Pancreas. The color that corresponds to Earth is yellow, and the taste that nourishes the Spleen / Stomach / Pancreas is sweet. So foods that are sweet and yellow colored in TCM will be the perfect foods to support you now. It is so amazing that Nature gives us these foods in perfect timing!
Foods that nourish Spleen / Stomach / Pancreas are proteins, especially beef, cooked foods, soups, and warm drinks, root vegetables including carrots, beets, rutabagas, turnips, parsnips yams and potatoes, winter squash including butternut, acorn, pumpkin, delicata, kabocha and spaghetti, spices, and cooked fruit.
Here are some recipes to support you in the Earth time of the year, late September and October.
1/2 tsp each peppercorns and cloves 1 Tbs each cardamom pods and star anise pieces 2 cinnamon sticks 1-2 inches ginger root, sliced 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 1-2 cups of milk, any kind 2 Tbs mate, black or green tea (optional) honey or other sweetener to taste
Crush whole spices and put into stainless steel or enamel pot with sliced ginger root. Add 4 cups of purified water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes to 1 hour. Add milk, nutmeg, and tea if desired. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes. Do not boil. Serve in mugs through strainer and add sweetener to taste. Add milk, nutmeg, and tea if desired. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes. Do not boil. Serve in mugs through strainer and add sweetener to taste.
2-3 lbs. apples, skinned and cored 6-8 cinnamon sticks
Put apples and cinnamon sticks into a pot and add water to halfway the level of the apples. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer till apples are soft and break apart when stirred, and applesauce is the desired consistency. Add more water if necessary to thin. Eat warm or cold. Yummy!!!!
White Bean Stew
olive oil or bacon fat 4 carrots, sliced 1 yellow onion, chopped 4-8 cloves of garlic, minced 2 cups broth, chicken, fish or vegetable 2 tbs dried rosemary or 6-8 inches of fresh rosemary 1 tsp. dried thyme or 10-15 stems fresh thyme generous amount of ground pepper 2 cans of white beans, or 3 cups of cooked white beans, with liquid 1 piece kombu optional— 3-4 portobello mushrooms cooked in olive oil or bacon fat, 2-3 fillets of white fish such as snapper, cod, sea bass, or halibut, 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes good quality salt to taste, such as celtic sea salt or himalayan salt
Heat oil or fat in skillet. Add carrots and onion. Saute’ 5-8 minutes till softened. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add broth, herbs and ground pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat and cover, simmer 10 minutes.
If adding portobellos, slice into 1-2 inch pieces and sauté separately in oil or bacon fat 5-10 minutes till liquid is reabsorbed and flesh is slightly browned. After 10 minutes, remove cover and add beans, kombu, and optional portobellos or fish, and red chili flakes. Return to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Serve in bowls. Add salt to taste. Fish sauce can also be used as a seasoning instead of salt.
Indian Summer Casserole
olive oil 1 each red and green bell pepper, seeded and chopped optional— 1 basket stemmed and halved padron peppers, or 1-2 seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper, or equivalent seasonal peppers as available 2 yellow onions, diced 1 zucchini, diced 2 ears of corn, cooked and cut from cob, if available or 1 cup frozen corn 2 Tbs. chopped garlic 1 Tbs dried oregano generous amount of ground pepper 3 cups of cooked millet 1 cup walnut meats
Heat 2 Tbs, olive oil in skillet. Add peppers, onions and zucchini and sauté until soft. Add corn, garlic, ground pepper, and oregano and saute 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cooked millet and walnut meats. Drizzle top generously with olive oil. Transfer skillet to oven, or transfer millet mixture to casserole dish, drizzle with olive oil.
Bake in 350 oven, covered, 30 minutes or till hot through. Let rest uncovered 10 minutes. Serve with Walnut Sauce.
1 cup walnut meats, raw or roasted 2 Tbs miso 2 Tbs tahini 1 Tbs vinegar 1 tsp mustard, not yellow 1/4-1/2 cup water 1/2 tsp salt 1 Tbs. maple syrup or honey
Blend ingredients till smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.