Now that fall is officially here, you've probably already noticed people sniffling or appearing a bit less cheery than they did throughout the summer. And though the season is undeniably beautiful, it does require a bit more of an effort to keep yourself healthy and happy.
Chef and author Emilie McBride recommends starting your day with a touch of chia. "According to the USDA, a one ounce (28 gram) serving of chia contains 9 grams of fat, 5 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of dietary fibre, 4 grams of protein, 18% of the RDA of calcium, 27 per cent phosphorus and 30 per cent manganese and antioxidants. Translation: That is a whole lot of goodness for your body before 9:00 a.m.!" She notes it's also easily digestible and hydrating for the body, and that chia slows down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrate calories into simple sugars.
Here's her recipe for a chia pudding for breakfast, via The Raw Food Beginner's Deck:
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 cups of your favourite nut or seed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Toppings: nuts, fresh berries or other fruits, dried fruits.
Fall is a great time of the year to detox/cleanse so you can strengthen your immune system to prevent the pesky seasonal colds, notes McBride. She recommends eating raw for a day for a quick detox cleanse. "Raw and living foods contain nutritional, digestive enzymes that are compromised when food is heated to about 115°F," she explains. "By keeping food below 115°, those enzymes are kept intact."
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There are many reasons to Reap the health benefits -- more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants -- save money, and be good to the environment, too. Best eats for the season? Apples, corn, pumpkin, butternut and roots vegetables.
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"Autumn suggests a downward movement — a time to get ready for a more introspective time," says McBride. "In this season it is especially important to listen to our inner selves, to our body and to slow down." She suggests taking out your journal if you've been neglecting it, and reflecting on the various experiences you had during the summer.
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"In Ayurveda, autumn is a 'vata' season, and the quality of vata is dryness and movement," explains McBride. "It's important to keep your dosha (one of the body's three humours, according to Aryuveda) balanced, because vata is the force that moves all the others doshas."
• To balance dryness: apply moisture or give yourself a massage using cold-pressed organic oil, using gentle motions toward the heart
• To balance cold: apply heat. Wear warm clothes and make sure your home/office has enough humidity. Warm herbal tea is helpful.
• To balance movement: slow down, exercise gently, rest, meditate and sleep well.
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"New moons symbolize new beginnings and growth," says McBride. It's a great time to start something new, she notes, like a new exercise regimen, or even skincare.
Mark your calendar for three new moons in the fall to set your intentions.
- September 24th at 6.14 GMT
- October 23rd at 21.56 GMT
- November 22nd at 12:32 GMT
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"Changes in humidity and temperatures can drastically affect your skin’s balance," notes McBride. She advises keeping your skin hydrated, especially on areas of the body that tend to get drier, like elbows and feet. "Get a facial for your skin type," McBride says. "Don’t wait until winter when it may be too late to prepare your skin for harsher temperatures."
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This is a good idea at any time of year, but particular when the colours of fall are at their height.
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If you haven't yet discovered a sauna or hammam (Turkish bath) near you, now is the time to find one and go. "The heat will help get rid of the toxins and it will keep you warm ... and always drink plenty of water," says McBride.
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Your meals may usually have more to do with your mouth than your mind, but Caroline Beliard-Zebrowski, Deckopedia's yoga expert, suggests changing that up this fall for a healthier start. Focusing your attention on all your senses allows your mind to reconnect with your body.
Practice this meditation for about five minutes before and as you start your meal.
1. Before you start your meal, pause for a moment. Take a deep conscious inhale and a deep intense exhale.
2. Let go of any hurry to start your meal and calm your mind down.
3. Try identifying what you feel at this moment, with simple words attached to each feeling.
4. If your mind starts wandering, acknowledge it, but come back to your breathing.
5. Now, contemplate what you have in your plate. Become interested and ask yourself questions about the food you are about to eat: Where does it come from, what is it made of? Does the thought of eating this food makes me feel healthy?
6. Bring your attention to the smell of the food by exploring the different aromas.
7. Take your fork consciously, and take your first bite. First, listen to the texture of the food breaking down in your mouth as you start chewing and feel the sensation of cold, warm, crunchiness, or smoothness of the food in your mouth.
8. Finally focus on the taste of your food and explore each flavor you encounter.
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A new way of moving your body can help detoxify the internal organs — and if done in the evening, can calm the body after a stressful day.
Legs up the wall
This pose can help relieve headaches, energize the body and calm the nervous system, stimulate blood and lymph circulation and stimulate digestive organs.
To do it, sit on the floor parallel to and against the wall with your knees bent. As you lay down, keep your buttocks and bottom of your feet against the wall. Come onto your back and bring your legs up the wall. Straighten your legs.
Stay there for at least 10 long deep breaths. Your exhales must be longer than your inhale in order to slow down your heart rate and nervous system. Your hands can stay alongside your body, palms facing up, or on your belly.
To come out of the posture, bend your knees and roll down to the side. Come back to a seated position.