Autumn comes early and subtly in the Blue Ridge.
One day it just arrives. I step on the porch, and a soft wind whispers differently. The shadows speak longer, stretching like a dark veil over the garden ripe with fresh corn and rich, red tomatoes. The pumpkins suddenly blush orange at this rumor of colder times ahead.
Even the creek babbles a more longing song. Crimson leaves hint of frosts and brown grass that will line the banks all too soon.
Nature murmurs this bittersweet sonata and a few more leaves fall. All this sighs indescribably, “Fall is coming!”. The squirrels feel it and hurry their collections. The rabbits and groundhogs deepen their nests. They scurry in this burst of autumnal glory.
Our front yard already is beginning to show the first hints of crimson and gold.
We humans? We mostly ignore it, but at peril. If we can stop and listen the lessons are so valuable, pure and true.
Ecuador’s shamans agree that nutrition is a key to good health.When we lived with the Taita Yatchak and his apprentices, nutrition was the key factor they focused on.
They also emphasized that good digestion was the first step to good nutrition.
Keeping calories down is vital. Improving quality of food is important as well. However, you can eat the best food in the world but if your digestive system is not working correctly, you’ll not absorb the nutrients.
Here are three of the steps, the yatchak took to get and keep good digestion:
#1: Only eat on an empty stomach. Leave at least four hours between meals and start easy. Breakfast was a highly and easily digestible meal. The usual breakfast consisted of a grain (wheat, oat, quinoa) that was ground into a very fine powder and soaked overnight. A boiled juice made from fruit and dried cane juice (a dissolved very rough brown sugar-In India they call it jaggery) was then added in to taste.
#2: Do not mix salt and sugar. This combination is hard to digest. Meals are either sweet or salty. Usually the morning and evening meals are sweet. The noon meal, is the largest meal of the day and is usually salt.
#3: Use spices to stimulate the digestive system… ginger especially.
The yatchak fed us plenty of quinoa… the only complete vegetable protein.
Plus many leafy green vegetables, berries and juices. This is blackberry syrup… used on oatmeal that has been pounded.
Andean health principles are similar to Ayurved, India’s science of life. This is not surprising as the root of the Andean language, Quichua, is Sanskrit.
Another nutritional tip that comes from both the Andes and Ayurved is that we should eat differently in each season. We operate on three essences, fire, water and air and we can look at the four seasons in the terms of these three essences. Spring is the water season, summer the fire season and autumn and winter the air season.
A foundation of health in the fall is that as the season begins to change we should alter our diet as well.
Nature helps because the right food to eat for the season ripens when we need it. As autumn and winter come upon us we can increase our protein and fats. Nuts begin to fall and are available now.
During the summer we shared a recipe for blackberry cobbler, an excellent summer, cooling meal. Now pumpkin pie starts to become a better alternative.
Here is how we vary this excellent pie from the norm to make it even better. Take a can of pumpkin (or if you are lucky like me to have dozens in your garden-clean and cook one down), add in a mixture of water and whey protein powder (instead of milk), two eggs, stevia (just a bit!) – see http://www.stevia.net/ to sweeten or buy it at your health store. I throw in a little lemon juice, one teaspoon of cinnamon, nutmeg and half a teaspoon of ground ginger and cloves.
Often I skip the crust and just make pumpkin custard. If I am making a crust then I use half protein powder, half flour to enhance the protein balance of this meal.
Until next message, may the beginnings of autumn and your health be good.
Learn about nutritional tips that help enhance intelligence at our October seminar.