overwatered-featureA few weeks ago I almost killed all my plants. I moved them inside from the jungalicious balcony where they grew like crazy all summer long, but after about two weeks inside they all looked like crap. I was definitely overwatering them. As it turns out a plant’s needs are different when moved indoors; my brown thumb and I can attest to this fact. In a frenzy I googled whether or not blow drying the soil would help, but there was no advice regarding that idea – I’m still not sure if it was a blonde moment or a strike of genius. Anyhow, I decided to roll with the ‘less is more’ theory and just let them be for a few days. Things are slowly turning around as I adjust to their “indoor” care needs.

This morning I looked in the mirror and realized that I am having the same problem as my plants. I look tired, my skin has a ruddy undertone, and my lips looked slightly chapped.  And I am realizing I haven’t done much to accommodate for the fact that: the weather has changed, I am spending far more time indoors, and the daylight hours are dwindling. If I had leaves, they wouldn’t be pretty.

There’s a reason we are featuring ENERGY over these next few months: it’s the time of year we tend to look and feel zapped (insert hand raising emoji), because what we need shifts with the seasons. Ayurveda – the oldest medical practice in the world – tells us that this change in season, as we head into fall and winter, requires more grounding. In Ayurveda, late fall and winter are considered the “vata” season – think dry, cold, light, and clear. When we are out of balance in this season it can manifest as dry skin, trouble sleeping, constipation, anxiety and depression. Sound familiar? And while some of us are more prone to being out of balance this time of year (based on our personal constitution), we all need grounding in order to be vibrant this time of year.

we-all-need-grounding

Why, unlike everything else in nature, would we expect our needs to stay the same despite the changes of season? Now is the time to pivot. What worked in the long, light summer days probably won’t serve us as well in the shorter, darker days of winter. So what can we do for more energy in this vata season?

  • Ditch the raw uncooked veggies and opt for cooked veggies. Swap that green salad for a warm bowl of roasted, steamed or slow cooked goodness.
  • Warm up your beverages, even your plain Jane water. Try some herbal tea, warm lemon water, or grate some fresh ginger into hot water
  • Trade the bitter, pungent tastes for salty, sweet and sour. Think carrots, pumpkin, rice, quinoa, ghee, avocado, lemons, almonds etc.
  • Dress warm! Because what’s worse than being cold? Bring out the wool socks and long underwear if necessary. Keep your ‘leaves’ nice and toasty.
  • Slooooow down. Don’t overwater yourself! Replace some of your activity with meditation or a restorative yoga flow. This doesn’t mean stop moving – but just keep your list manageable.
  • Get those 8 hours of ZZZ’s. It’s darker for a reason guys, and it’s not to light the bedroom with screen time. Our bodies require more sleep this time of year.

Monday I made my favorite fall soup and it warmed my belly all week. My kiddos even loved it. It’s a double batch-er for sure and vata season approved. Why don’t you try it and settle into vata season.

carrot-lentil-soupSoup Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1⁄2 pounds carrots, cleaned, ends removed and diced
  • 32 oz (4 cups) organic veggie or chicken broth
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Spiced chickpeas, optional (see Spiced Chickpea recipe)

Soup Directions:

  1. In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, add coconut oil or ghee. Once hot, add onion and garlic and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until softened. Add diced carrots and stir to combine.
  2. Cook for 12 minutes then add broth, lentils and spices and oregano. Bring to a boil, then lower heat so soup is at a simmer and cover.
  3. Cook over medium-low heat until carrots are tender and softened, about 15-20 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, let soup cool slightly, then add to a blender in batches and blend until smooth. Return the soup to the pot.
  4. Serve topped with spiced chickpeas and additional sea salt if needed.

Chickpea Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans (or 2 cans, rinsed and drained)
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • juice from ½ lime
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 paper bag (or jar)

Chickpea Directions:

  1. If using dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans, soak them in water for about 5 hours or overnight. If using canned beans, drain and rinse them (and skip to step #3).
  2. Rinse and cover with fresh water to cook for about 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Make the spice seasoning by mixing the cumin, paprika, cayenne, and sea salt in a small dish. In a medium bowl, toss the drained chickpeas/ garbanzo beans with melted coconut oil and half of the spice mixture. Spread on a lined cookie sheet and squeeze ½ of one lime and ½ of lemon over the beans.
  5. Roast for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven for 10 minutes to cool them down, then place them back in the oven for 10-15 more minutes until crunchy. (This is a great tip I’ve learned over the years and yes, it drastically helps the process to roast them twice.)
  6. Remove from the oven when crunchy and throw them in a paper bag with the remaining spice mixture and a few extra squeezes of lemon juice. Cool and store in a tightly sealed jar.