The Autumn is known as Vata season in Ayurvedic tradition.
This period is marked by turbulence and change, as the winds of transition sweep us up while leaves begin to fall.
It is a time representative of pulling our energy down as the foliage descends to the earth. To counteract the windy and blustery energy taking hold all around us, our diet shifts to reflect the need for more stability and balance as we navigate a new fall/winter season.
The benefits of eating pumpkin seeds and cashews as we transition into a cooler season evokes the substantive and warming qualities of heartier meals. It means a shift away from the summer bounty of berries and into the tart and crisp time of cranberries and apples.
Those of us in the northern hemisphere right now are beginning to settle in to the change of the seasons.
The enticing smells of cinnamon and spice that permeate throughout a kitchen this time of year are the remains of a season rooted in the importance of grounding into the here and now. Perhaps we feel inspired to bake some bread on a cold and rainy morning, or warm a pot of cider on the stove to enjoy with friends. Even preparing an artful cup of hot cocoa after a chilly walk can do justice to the majesty of this time of year.
With the cascades of golden leaves swirling to the ground all around us, eating more rich foods (including nuts and seeds) naturally falls in line with our desire to keep warm and journey inward as we head into winter.
Lately I have been eager to explore the health benefits of nuts and seeds—the “why” behind the reasons we intuitively crave them this time of the year. What do they offer us, besides the nourishing sensation of being rooted to the earth? Questing to understand the building and supportive nature of nuts and seeds during this time of transition, I have compiled a few unique recipes to try as we savor this bountiful time of the year.
Incorporating nuts and seeds into a new menu could be as simple as swapping a breakfast of cold summer berries for dried figs and warm walnuts. Those of us who already have a strong oatmeal game might enjoy warming some spiced apples up on the stove and swirling some pecans and maple syrup into the mix too.
If we are more of a savory breakfast person, a handful of warmed cashews lends a cheesy flavor to a breakfast of warmed bread. Pumpernickel rye is also a beautiful companion to a vegan cashew cheese, and with the thoughtful inclusion of some Icelandic kelp seasoning, it’s just as delicious as bagels and lox.
The main idea behind this seasonal shift is to look at what nature has readily available—local orchard apples in a salad with toasted pumpkin seeds is an elegant way to interact with the abundance available this time of year.
Five warming meal ideas for this time of year:
Warmed Cashews and Bread with Red Pear and Aceto Balsamico
>> toasty cashews, rustic loaf, ripe pear, balsamic drizzle
Spiced Cinnamon Oatmeal with Dried Figs and Cashews
>> warm figs, cinnamon, cooked oats, raw cashews
Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Cranberries, and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
>> quinoa, dried cranberries, fresh spinach, toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Acorn Squash with Chili Spices and Roasted Pepitas
>> cooked squash, chili spiced pumpkin seeds
Cashew Cheese Panini with Cranberries and Arugula
>> cashew cheese, sourdough bread, dried cranberries, arugula