Autumn is a season of transition and change. Leaves change colour. The air gets cooler. Days become shorter. Sandals are traded in for boots, T-shirts for coats and straw hats for woolly ones. Berry-picking is replaced by apple & pear-picking. Iced-coffee becomes hot pumpkin spice latte. Raw salads turn into warm soups & stews. Pool parties turn into hiking! To take full advantage of autumn it is important to nurture your body and mind in alignment with nature’s rhythm. Keep reading to find out what I mean.
Most of us view change as something scary but change is inevitable. In fact, the only thing constant in this life is change so you might as well get on board with it. The best way to embrace the unpredictable time of autumn is to remain open to new ideas and have the willingness to get out of your comfort zone.
Perhaps you used to be a couch potato and now those morning runs are easy-peasy for you. How about stepping it up a bit with a FitFarm morning workout? Or maybe you play the guitar as a hobby? Perhaps it’s time to show off your skills at Open Mic Night? Scared of public speaking? How about joining Toastmasters?
One of my favourite activities to do in autumn is an activity from positive psychology called “Moving beyond comfort zones”. These are the instructions:
Identify three comfort zones that you have in your life.
Identify one comfort zone that you would like to challenge. Ask yourself ‘how does it hold you back?’, ‘what are your fears?’ and ‘how do you know you are ready to change?’.
List the actions that you could take to move you out of that comfort zone, and identify at least one thing that you will do in the next week to help you break free.
"Am I willing to feel some discomfort, in order to do what matters?"
"Am I willing to make room for sweaty hands, and a knot in my stomach, in order to do the things that really matter?"
Beyond the temporary comforts is the true comfort of knowing you are living life from your truth and not your fears. If your current comfort isn’t bringing you happiness & fulfilment then you might as well stop playing small, TAKE THE LEAP and then watch the magic happen!
Eating with the season is a crucial part of staying healthy. So time to let go of raw foods and salads and embrace warming foods such as roasted root veggies, bone broth, soups, stews and loads of warming spices such as cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, cayenne pepper, and ginger.
Autumn is the time of the year to indulge in yellow-orange veggies. Oh yes! Hello pumpkin, sweet potatoes, yams, squash, carrots and ginger. And remember variety is the spice of life so spice it up a bit by getting creative in the kitchen.
This Halloween weekend I created ginger - basil spiced pumpkin soup. The warmth of fresh ginger added a lovely kick to the sweet base of coconut and pumpkin. This soup was warm, comforting and spicy which is why I want to share the recipe with you.
Ginger - Basil Spiced Pumpkin Soup
2 teaspoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 thumb sized fresh ginger pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups pumpkin, peeled and small dice ( you can roast the pumpkin in the oven if you like). Instead of pumpkin you can use butternut squash or sweet potatoes.
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, more as needed
2 cups of Real Thai coconut milk
2 tablespoons of Real Thai red curry paste
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 ground cinnamon (optional)
2 bay leaves
sea salt and pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons fresh basil
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro
In a pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and pumpkin and cook 4-5 minutes.
Add the stock, coconut milk, bay leaf, and curry paste and cook for 15-20 minutes, adding more stock as needed.
Take off the heat, remove the bay leaf and puree with an immersion blender or regular blender. Add fresh ginger, turmeric, cumin and cinnamon into blender.
Place back on the stove and add salt and pepper as desired. Heat until warmed through.
To serve, place the soup in a bowl and top with basil and chopped cilantro and squeeze a lime. Enjoy!
Don’t forget to check out my blog for more recipes. If you decide to make any of my recipes don't forget to tag me on Instagram @ThriveInShanghai. I’d love to see it!
A quick reflection on my recent retreat in Lin’an. First, a BIG THANK YOU to all the amazing participants who came to this retreat with open hearts and mind. The weekend was magical. We filled our time with nature, delish seasonal local food, positive psychology activities, Pilates, cold plunges, nutrition workshop, bonfire dancing, warm tea, and beautiful memories.
I’ve been coaching clients one on one for almost 2 years now and have done workshops before. However, this was the first time I was involved in organising a retreat. It was a challenging job but I learned a lot! Not only did this allow me to step out of my comfort zone, it also led to some great connections and provided a way for me to be of service.
A quick question for you...
What is it that you would like to do but you are afraid of?
Get clear & be brave!
Also, a BIG THANK you to Fields not only for providing our participants with healthy snacks but also for providing us with booklets that include a guide to Chinese vegetables and plenty of healthy recipes to try out at home. This one is my favourite…
So what did participants say about the retreat…
And here are some snapshots from the retreat…
I hope to organise many more retreats in the future.
Yours in health,