To create a sadhana, or daily spiritual practice, that connects us with nature means that every meal we make and bite we take is an opportunity to nourish ourselves consciously. When we choose fresh, wholesome foods, we strengthen our relationship to the elemental rhythms around us. A simple seasonal cleanse can gift us with a beautiful opportunity to tune into these rhythms more deeply.
By honoring the seasonal transitions, we also learn to create a fluid, intuitive relationship with our bodies. With autumn’s arriving energy, this is a time for simplifying and slowing down our daily routines. Give yourself space to contemplate the past cycle of the season, to celebrate all that was sowed and cultivated, and to begin to draw the expansive outward energy to a quieter time for inward reflection and rejuvenation.
“Our moment-to-moment awareness of our connection to nature is the heart of our sadhana practice.”
To support this slowing down, here are a few of my favorite ways to prepare for a cleanse and honor the transition from summer to fall with conscious food practices.
- Clean out the kitchen by composting old spices, condiments, and foods in your fridge and pantry that have expired. Take stock of what you have and make a list of what is needed to create a seasonally-aligned kitchen.
- Head to the farmer’s market. This is the best way to see what’s in season locally, and, come early fall, you will find a variety of heirloom apples, pears, dark leafy greens, gourds, and squashes.
- Pick a few new seasonal recipes to try (like the ones below!), breaking up the routine of your quick summer salad for something like a slow-cooked soup instead.
- Create a sadhana of seed by grinding fresh spices before adding them to a dish. I love how the practice of hand grinding spices activates the senses, drawing together the five elements of the hand with the mortar and pestle. A beautiful fall masala mix might include cumin, coriander, fenugreek, mustard seed, and fresh ginger.
- Practice eating with presence and awareness. Remember that every bite we take in becomes a prayer, an opportunity for infusing intention and energy into our bodies, minds, and spirits.
Brown Rice Breakfast Porridge
- 1 cup brown rice farina
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- ¼ teaspoon clove powder
- 1 pinch mineral salt
In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Add the brown rice farina and spices, using a fork to whisk together and to avoid clumping in the porridge. Reduce to low simmer and cook for five to seven minutes, or until well combined. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and serve hot. Mix in a spoonful of ghee and stewed fruit chutney.
Makes 2 servings
Fall Fruit Chutney
- 8 whole, dried mission figs, course chopped, whole, or halved
- 8 whole, dried prunes, course chopped, whole, or halved
- 1 fresh apple, cored and chopped
- 1 fresh pear, cored and chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch ground clove
In a small pot, combine the ingredients with a splash of water and cook on low heat until reduced to a jam-like consistency, about fifteen minutes.
Makes 2-4 servings
Spiced Coconut Spinach
- 1 shallot
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain mineral salt
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup finely sliced asparagus
- 3 cups spinach, well washed and chopped
- squeeze of lemon
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted
Place the shallot and garlic on a cutting board, sprinkle with the salt, and chop/mash everything into a paste. Heat the oil in your largest skillet over medium heat. Add the seeds, cover with a lid, and let them toast a bit. Remove the lid, stir in the red pepper flakes and let it cook for a minute. Stir in the asparagus if you're using it, let it cook roughly for another minute, and then stir in the garlic-shallot paste and all of the spinach. Keep stirring until the spinach starts collapsing a bit, and brightening up—about a minute. Finish with a bit of fresh lemon juice and the coconut.
Makes 2 servings
Kabocha Squash & Red Lentil Soup
- 1 small kabocha squash, seeded and cubed
- 1 small sweet potato, cubed
- 1 cup red lentils
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 6-8 cups water
- 2 tablespoons white miso paste
Combine all ingredients, except the miso paste, in a slow cooker. I use this clay pot slow cooker to make my soups and stews. Depending on the setting of your slow cooker, cook for two to three hours until tender and soupy. Continue adding water as needed for a soupy consistency. When finished, stir in the miso paste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve with chopped cilantro, sprouts, or greens of your choice on top.
Note: If cooking this on a stovetop instead, lightly heat the pan with ghee and sauté the onions, garlic and ginger on medium heat for two to three minutes until fragrant. Combine remaining ingredients, except the miso, and cover to cook for forty to fifty minutes. Stir in the miso paste at the end and season with salt & pepper if desired.
Makes 4 servings
Recipes & photography by Claire Ragozzino / Vidya Living