Updated: Nov 6, 2021
The phrase "change of season" has a key word in there that can trigger feelings of disorganization, anxiousness, and uncertainty. Did you guess the word? (Hint: It's not season.) Change can certainly be good because it helps to move us forward, stimulate personal growth, and experience new things. However, moving through change can often feel bumpy, unstable, and worrisome, and unpredictability can certainly be intimidating and scary.
I'm not necessarily saying the the change of season is intimidating and scary. In fact, many people thrive with the change of season. The autumn season brings lots of positive elements like beautiful fall colors, pumpkin everything, and crisp refreshing weather. However, there's also less sunshine, daylight savings time (for some of us), and perhaps a change in schedules, especially for those of you with kids in school and sports. Those changes may be a lot to handle for some — personally, the (seemingly) abrupt cooler temps blindside me every year!
It's important to, first, be gentle on yourself. Know that it can take time to adjust to all of the things that come with a change of season, or any change, and that going through change is temporary.
Second, determine if there are any lifestyle factors you can implement to help cope with the change. You could establish a new healing morning routine that will set the pace for the rest of your day like a mini yoga practice, deep stretch, meditation, positive affirmations or a walk outside. Having a routine, especially in the morning as you start your day, can provide certainty and ritual during times of change.
Another lifestyle consideration is what you eat. To stay focused and feel grounded, avoid added sugar, processed foods, fried foods, and foods that just don't make you feel your best. That might sound obvious, but we've all been there — for example, the choice between a chocolate chip cookie or an apple? You may know which is the best choice to fuel your body, but when given the choice, which would you choose? If you said apple, I'm sending you a virtual high-five!🙌🏼 I know, for me, if I have a (vegan) chocolate chip cookie in the house and there is fruit in the fridge I'm opting for the ooey gooey cookie. But, I know that the cookie is only going to give me temporary satisfaction from the instant burst of sugar, which leads to a very quick happy dopamine response and ends in exhaustion, a depressed mental state, unfocused mind and desire for more sugar. It creates physical and mental instability. The apple (with some peanut butter!) on the other hand would create a gradual release of energy since, in addition to natural sugar, apples have fiber, which helps to delay the release of sugar into the blood. This creates what's called sustained energy, which is a good thing. Choose high fiber, whole plant-based foods for stable blood sugar, sustained energy, and a happy, focused mind. Overall, think about foods you choose to eat and how they'll make you feel long term. And, keep whole plant-based foods in the house if you want to snack healthy!
Also, do you eat seasonally? Choosing seasonal foods may help to adjust your body into rhythm with the season. For example, certain plant-based foods thrive best in autumn temperatures. And, here's a fun consideration: when you eat plant-based foods that thrive in a particular season, your body thrives from those seasonally grown plants. For example, autumn plants have lots of phytonutrients, or plant nutrients, that give them their beautiful red, orange and green hues. When you eat these phytonutrients, they heal you in many ways like protecting your skin, supporting your immune system, assisting with cognition, and creating a sense of well-being. All of these things, plus overall health in general, can help you feel grounded.
Cheers to four autumn-centric plant-based food categories that can contribute to you feeling balanced, grounded, and focused—in other words, ready to take on the world!
1. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and turmeric can help you feel grounded with their gentle boost in energy from natural carbohydrates, including fiber, plus key phytonutrients like vitamins A, C, and folate. Also, root vegetables, as they're named, have roots that reach deep within the earth. These roots anchor the plant in place and provide a strong foundation for growth. If you want to get even more out of them, imagine yourself enjoying the grounding energy they bring as you're enjoying them.
2. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, and Brussel sprouts. These are the stinky veggies, but they're stinky for good reason! Cruciferous vegetables have sulfur compounds, specifically sulforaphane, that has been shown to help prevent lifestyles diseases like cancer and heart disease. Cruciferous vegetables are also packed with fiber. When temperatures get chilly, there may be a tendency to slow down (curl up by the fireplace with a good book, anyone?) — this may include your metabolism and digestion. High fiber foods like cruciferous vegetables can help to keep things moving. And, when things are moving consistently, you feel light yet grounded, am I right? Oh, and don't forget to drink plenty of water with your fiber!
3. 'Tis the season for greens! Kale, bok choy, red leaf lettuce, spinach and chard thrive in the fall and come with an insane (yes, insane!) number of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that are essential for physical and mental health. Specifically, they contain plenty of magnesium and B vitamins, both of which can help to relieve anxiety and stress, helping you feel more grounded.
4. Swap coffee with a matcha green tea latte or, if there's no way you're giving up coffee (I feel you), then enjoy just one cup in the morning and a matcha tea in the afternoon. Or, simply sip on hot green tea. Matcha is the ground green tea leaf and it's often mixed in a water and plant-based milk combination to create a latte or added to smoothies and baked goods. Green tea in tea bags or looseleaf tea is the full leaf (not ground) and can have the same effect as matcha tea. The most researched active components of green tea include Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), L-Theanine (L-THE), and caffeine. EGCG is thought to have many health benefits. In the context of feeling grounded, however, EGCG has been shown to have a calming effect, relieving stress. Theanine has been shown to encourage relaxation, reduce tension, stress, and anxiety, improve sleep quality, and increase alertness or focus. Visit our green tea blog for a delicious matcha green tea recipe. And, if you're curious about the caffeine in green tea, it contains about 28 mg for an eight-ounce cup.
Please share, which foods make you feel more grounded?