One thing I have learned through gardening is enjoying the change of the seasons. It gave me an appreciation of the natural rhythms of life. As we move in to fall and the days become shorter, I try to adjust my schedule too. Fall is a prelude to winter, a time of hibernation and introspection. It’s the time that allows us to wind down our projects and activities, so that we may prepare for a quieter time in life. This slowed pace allows us rest, recuperation from busy summer activities that, while fulfilling, are also draining. Fall eases us into this time of reflection. I know I welcome the thought of quiet days with a blanket and a book, something I just don’t make time for during the busy summer months.
Fall reminds me also to make the most of summer harvests. Preserving herbs and the rewards of the garden becomes a focal point. I love food preservation, but these days I rarely have time. So when a friend asked me if I would like a bag of apples given to her by a neighbor, I jumped at the chance! I brought home a heavy bag loaded with local, unsprayed apples freshly picked from the tree.
These apples were perfect for applesauce, so I started peeling. After some seeding and rough chopping, I tossed everything into the slow cooker, added some vanilla and cinnamon along with a little bit of water, set it to low, and let it go. I cooked the apples overnight, and in the morning we woke to the amazing smell of simmering apples.
I pureed the apples into a chunky style applesauce, and the girls and I enjoyed some for breakfast. I wanted to preserve the rest of the sauce but couldn’t do any canning this time, so I just divided it into wide-mouthed mason jars, let it cool in the fridge, then set it in the freezer to keep. This applesauce will be amazing to pull out over the cold days of winter, let it gently warm on the stove, and fill the house with it’s aroma and our bellies with it’s sweetness.
It’s these little rewards that remind us of the joys of the past year, and give us something to look forward to in the coming one. What traditions do you follow in your home to celebrate the seasons?
So we all know about keeping a food journal. If you have ever gone to any alternative practitioner regarding your health, you will have been asked at some point to write down all the foods you eat in a given time period. These can be really helpful for people who want to lose weight or need to identify problem foods. I talk about them to many people, and I often recommend an individual use one. But I have to admit, following my own advice was something I really hadn’t done before!
So when my own practitioner recently asked me to keep a food journal, I found myself learning first hand just how helpful this is! Each week I write down what I eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any in between snacks. Even though I have seen a marked improvement in my health over the last six years, it’s always a work in progress. I still struggle with a few recurring health issues. This is where I know nutrition has gotten me to a certain level, but I need the next component of my health plan to bump me to the next. So my health practitioner asked me to journal my foods daily to help pinpoint ways to improve upon my treatment approach.
Wow! This has been so very helpful! Within one or two days I could already see where I needed to make some changes. Eating grain free and dairy free has helped me immensely, but I was able to see where I was letting sugary treats sneak back in. I also saw that I was lacking in variety. For those of us who experience struggling immune systems, variety is important. Eating too little variety can trigger food sensitivities, especially when we are already prone to experiencing them. For me, weight is not the focal point of my outcome, but the journaling has been very helpful to make me aware of all those times I eat “just a little more” of something, or grab “one more bite”. Sound familiar? In addition, just the practice of writing something down is a sort of accountability. For some of us, accountability to ourselves is all we need. But for the rest of us, reporting back to another person adds an element of responsibility in sticking to the regimen. This latter group, that’s me.
So, I’m still working on my food diary. And I imagine I will continue to do so for a while. It’s been extremely helpful for me to pinpoint areas of weakness. And at this point in my journey, it really does come down to the details. But whether you are further along in your personal journey, or you are just starting out, keeping detailed notes is wonderfully beneficial. It is a great way to make yourself more aware of choices and habits that are likely affecting your lifestyle. So if you haven’t been keeping a food diary, perhaps now is a great time to do so. You’ll be amazed at how much this can help you!