Tag Archives: autumn

Ginger Masala Chai Worthy of a New York Winter

chai-tea-e-liquidI recently moved to New York City from California and am (ahem) “enjoying” my first real winter here. Let the wuss jokes begin!

It’s alright. I’m laughing at myself, too. Born and raised in California, used to being fairly tan, gets cold easily, loves sunshine so much she’s basically part lizard… Yep, that’s me. Now instead of donning a windbreaker for misty San Francisco mornings or wearing a hat for fun in the 60 degree Los Angeles winter sun, I’m learning the art of boots, down coats, ear muffs, long johns and mittens. Endless mittens. See you next April, world, because I am officially 75% clothing right now, and I can barely see over my scarf.

It’s going to be a long winter.

In all honesty, though, I love autumn and winter. I love the snow; I love the holidays; I love the feeling of warming up after being cold. It probably has something to do with a nesting instinct. One of the most beloved memories I have from childhood is making nests with my big sister on rainy days and sick days. When it was miserable, grey and raining outside, or when we were stuck in the house with colds and fevers, my sister would orchestrate a grand “nesting.” We’d pile tons of blankets and pillows on the ground, arranged in little cup-shaped seats like an egg carton. And then we’d hop inside the nest with a box of Nilla wafers and tea and watch a Disney movie to pass the time. Pure joy.

I still make nests of sorts, as does she, both literally and figuratively. Sans actual blankets and pillows, I just love making people feel warm, comfortable, and cared for. In any kind of weather, there’s little I love more than bringing people together around a table for delicious food and loving company. But this is a particularly important practice during the cold and dark months when our souls really need that extra swaddling. And many traditional winter recipes do the trick of warming us inside out.

Case in point, spice-infused recipes. This season you’re undoubtedly enjoying foods flavored with all kinds of spices, whether you know it or not. Butternut squash soup, gingerbread cookies, curries and stews, applesauce, etc. Winter recipes tend to incorporate many different spices, for several reasons. In Ayurveda, the winter season is associated with exacerbated Vata qualities, which are best assuaged through warming foods. This can be literally hot foods (like soup, hot cereal and warm drinks) and/or through warm-ing foods, made invigorating through the use of spice.

Even outside of Ayurveda, there’s a very practical reason to eat more spice during the winter. It’s cold, there’s a bug going around, you’re sniffly and sick…Voilà, spices curb cold and flu symptoms! Ginger, for instance, is an anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-bacterial. It can help boost your immune system, loosen mucus, open your sinuses, and relieve sore throats. That’s a lot for one little root!

Keeping the health benefits in mind, as well as the essential need for warming and nesting that we all experience during this season, I offer you chai.

“Masala chai” is the Hindi term for a drink made with black tea, milk, and lots of spice. It is a drink that has been consumed in South Asia for centuries and is traditionally much less sweet and much more spicy than what you’d get at your local coffee shop. I can’t necessarily vouch for the total authenticity of my recipe, as I’ve never been to India, but I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Ginger Masala Chai

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

2 cups of milk (I like organic whole milk, but soy, almond, or oat work as well)

2 cups of water

3 tablespoons of loose leaf, unflavored black tea (the stronger the better; I like Darjeeling)

1/4 teaspoon Wakaya Perfection ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of saffron

2 whole, crushed up cardamom cloves

3 teaspoons of Turbinado sugar (or Agave, honey, etc)

Instructions:

Get two saucepans going on the stove on medium heat. Pour the milk in one and the water in the other. You’ll need to work in both pots simultaneously. As the milk begins to warm, add the pinch of saffron, pressing it between your fingertips gently before dropping it in the saucepan.

Once the water in the other pot begins to boil, add the loose tea leaves and reduce to a low simmer. Let steep 3-5 minutes. While you’re waiting, add the sugar to the milk and stir until it dissolves. Once the tea is ready, place a strainer over the milk and strain the tea water into the milk saucepan. Now you’re working in just one pot.

Start building the spice. Add the ginger, cinnamon and any other spices you want to the pot, saving the cardamon to the side for the end. You can try the chai to see if it has the right spice/sugar ratio, and adjust until it’s just right. Bring the pot to a boil, and as it begins to bubble up, throw the cardamon in and turn the heat off right away. The chai will stew for a second, cooling down slightly, and the cardamon will infuse the drink just enough without overpowering it.

Serve in two mugs and enjoy! Stay warm, everyone!

Memories, Nostalgia and a Loss of Innocence

President John F. KennedyFall is a tough time of year for me. It’s a hard thing to admit, as so many people love the autumn change of season. For me, the loss of colour and beauty, as the trees shed their leaves, coupled with the darkness of shorter days, has always been personally challenging. The fall is also a constant reminder for me of where my health journey all began.

November 22, 1963. A day everyone remembers as the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The whole world mourned America’s “loss of innocence.” For me, it became a pivotal day. A day that changed my life — forever. As a world, we mourned a collective loss of innocence. That day, I experienced my own personal loss of innocence. A loss that would in many ways, inform the rest of my life.

As a junior high student, vice-president of the student council at the time, I’d been suffering for several years with undiagnosable health issues that had me subjected to doctor after doctor, test after test, with a predicted, yet unlikely, prognosis that I was a “perfectionist.” I was down to a shocking 85 pounds and was considered deathly ill. Although the perfectionist diagnosis was possibly the truth, it probably wasn’t a viable diagnosis for the physical symptoms. Through years of seeking and exploration, I know now, the two are absolutely connected.

On November 22, 1963, my father, Louis, picked me up from school and we talked about the loss of president Kennedy and what it meant to us all. It had only been briefly mentioned at school that day, from my memory. Perhaps that memory is lost forever, as my father then announced to me, with great relief in his voice, that the newest doctor I had been taken to finally found “something.” My large and small bowel had somehow twisted themselves in a huge knot, an unusual “never before seen” phenomenon, that was later written up in a prestigious medical journal.

The gastroenterologist was referring me to one of Toronto’s top surgeons who was going to “fix” me. Cut date was scheduled over the Christmas holidays and they assured my parents, who had already spent more than enough troubled days and nights, that I would be “good as new” afterward. If only life were that simple.

The experience was horrific for me. That’s putting it mildly. Waking up with a tube down my nose and throat (the infamous nasogastric tube) is still so real for me that it set the stage for how I would move through the traditional medical system for the rest of my life.

My parents didn’t really ask a lot of questions before the surgery, as they were just grateful that someone had found something. I believe that is the key moment in my life, as young as I was, that I vowed to always ask as many questions as I needed to, to be prepared and get answers so I’d know what to expect. It’s also possible I asked a lot of questions before this. Funny thing how we create a story about a memory and it becomes our “truth.” This became one of the stories in my new book, Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie.

That day is only one of many in my life that is not only nostalgic, but one where the memories are so alive, it’s almost as if they happened yesterday. There are other key world events that create the same instant recall in me too. I happened to be in Los Angeles with my family in August of 1962, when Marilyn Monroe died. My brother Niel says he believes he remembers that we could see the funeral procession from the window in the restaurant we were eating in. That, I don’t remember.

Some years later, my best traveling buddy Sharon and I were in Los Angeles spending a fun summer. It was August 1969. Then the Manson murders shocked and rocked the world and being in L.A. immediately ceased to be a carefree summer holiday. These are two trips I have never forgotten. Precise moments in time, which created indelible memories.

Years later, when my daughter’s television series Ready or Not brought us to New York to film promos for its American network, we were comfortably settled in the studio enjoying taping the segments, when we felt what seemed to be an earthquake shake the foundation of the building. Everyone was visibly rattled, as there was no logical explanation for what this possibly could have been. It was February 26,1993, the morning of the day the first attempted World Trade Center bombing happened. Luckily, the bombing was somewhat unsuccessful. It was a very unsettling time for the world, maybe a forewarning of a more tragic time, with a much more devastating event to come.

The following year, on May 19,1994, my daughter Lani and I were back in New York and heard the sad news that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had succumbed to lymphoma, which had only been diagnosed in January of that year. We joined the world and mourned this iconic lady.

As I revisited my life to write Confessions, these stories surfaced as very vivid memories. Somehow the synchronistic timing of my life and my travels, with these key historical events, seemed to have left a permanent impression on my memory. I believe that many people remember exactly where they were and what they were doing for these same events. The day John Lennon died is another one of those events. Do you remember where you were and what you were doing?

On this 50th-year anniversary of JFK’s death, listening to people’s stories of where they were when they heard he had died, and the impact it had on their life, was incredibly moving. For me, it brought up both the collective and personal memory of that day again.

It’s interesting to look at what we remember. I’m blessed to have a remarkable 97-year-old mother, Lil, whose memory is still so accurate, she astounds people. She’s an inspiration and shows what is possible. Our lives are made up of memories. As a curious observer of human nature, I am continually amazed and fascinated by the way we spin the stories around these memories. Facts are the truth. Stories are the colour that bring them to life. That’s what is so amazing about creating your own individual life. There are so many unformed memories yet to be lived.

What are the memories that still live on in you?

Visit me at: www.beverleygolden.com  or follow me on Twitter:  @goldenbeverley

3 Soup Recipes to Warm Up Your Autumn

beet-soup1-1024x768With summer securely in our rearview mirrors, it’s time to start preparing for cooler temperatures. Get out your jackets and scarves, but what about when you’re home?

Soup! Whether you are battling one of those transitional season colds or just want an easy to warm you up as you watch the leaves fall outside. Soups are a simple and quick thing to make in the kitchen, and so easy to turn into your own recipes. And if you don’t finish all of it in one sitting you can always freeze the rest in a ziplock bag to be warmed up later.

Here are three of my favorite soup recipes, perfect for the fall season. Better yet, all of them can be made in 30 minutes or less for those that are always on the go.

1. Beet Fennel Soup

Ingredients:

  • beet – 3 medium (about 3 cups)
  • garlic – 1 clove
  • ginger – 1 thumb-sized piece
  • fennel – 1 bulb
  • kombu – 2 strips
  • caraway seeds – 1 tsp
  • cumin – 1/2 tsp
  • tarragon – 1 tsp
  • ginger powder – 1/2 tsp
  • fennel powder – 1/2 tsp
  • onion – 1 medium (1 cup chopped)
  • chicken stock – 1 quart (may substitute vegetable)
  • ghee – 1 tbsp
  • coconut milk – 1/2 cup (may use soy milk or regular milk)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

Scrub the beets well and then chop into 1 inch cubes. Warning – this is a messy business! While your kids might love the mess, I would avoid wearing your favorite white shirt.

Chop fennel, garlic, ginger, and onion. I am pretty rough about it. No fine dicing for me..

Put the onion, garlic and ginger in a large saucepan with the ghee (or oil) and cook on medium-high, stirring often, until the onion is transluscent.

Turn the heat down to low.

Add caraway seeds, cumin, ginger powder, fennel powder, and tarragon and mix. Simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add beets and fennel and mix to coat. Let that cook for two to three minutes.

Add chicken or vegetable stock and kombu. Turn heat up to medium-high and cover until the soup starts a low boil.

Make sure to check the soup often so you don’t burn it.

When the soup starts to boil then turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for about a 1/2 an hour or until the beets are soft.

Take the kombu out.

With a hand blender, blend the soup until smooth.

Add coconut milk. Mix well.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Butternut Squash Soup

A bowl of butternut squash soup, which is packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, most notably C and the powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, which protect against heart disease, make this soup incredibly good for you too.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized butternut squash peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  • 3 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth. If you make it if fresh, that is great. If not, Pacific Foods makes a nice organic one.
  • 1 piece of Khombu (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Put the broth, khombu and cubed squash in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium/low and let cook for 1/2 hour. Remove khombu. Blend with a hand blender until smooth. Add salt to taste.

I usually serve it with a hearty, whole-grain toast.  I like to cut it into strips for dipping. My older son was so excited he couldn’t wait for the toast to come out of the oven.

3. Creamy Dairy-Free Carrot Soup

This soup is a nutrient powerhouse that helps our family get through the colds and flus that often derail the holiday season.

The carrots are rich in Beta-Carotene which the liver converts to Vitamin A. This is important because Vitamin A helps to rid the body of the various toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis. If our livers are not functioning properly, we are more susceptible to the viruses and bacteria that make us sick. A healthy liver is needed for a healthy body, so helping it do its job is like a natural form of health insurance.

Ingredients

  • carrots – 4 cups, chopped
  • ginger – 1 thumb-sized piece
  • ghee – 1 tbsp (may use coconut oil)
  • onion – 1 large
  • apple – 1 large
  • garlic – 1 clove
  • coriander – 1 tsp
  • caraway seeds – 1 tsp
  • coconut milk – 3/4 cup
  • chicken stock – 4 cups (may substitute vegetable stock)
  • salt and pepper – to taste

Instructions 

Chop the carrots, onions, ginger, apple, and garlic.

Put the onion, garlic and ginger in a large saucepan with the ghee (or coconut oil) and cook on medium-high, stirring often, until the onion is transluscent.

Turn the heat down to low.

Add caraway seeds and coriander and mix. Simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add carrots and apple and mix to coat. Let that cook for two to three minutes.

Add chicken or vegetable stock. Turn heat up to medium-high and cover until the soup starts a low boil.

Stir every few minutes to keep it from burning.

When the soup starts to boil then turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for about a 1/2 an hour or until the carrots are soft.

With a hand blender, blend the soup until smooth.

Add coconut milk. Mix well.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

Welcome Fall! 3 Delicious Recipes for Apple Season

red-applesThis past weekend was the autumn equinox, which means we are officially moving into fall! This is the perfect time for all things involving pumpkins, squash, cranberries, and…apples! This delicious fall fruit is packed with natural sugars, carbohydrates, and fiber – the perfect snack on its own, but also a delicious ingredient for all kinds of recipes.

Here are 3 of my favorite apple recipes for you to enjoy this autumn!

1. Apple Ginger Fruit Leather

Ingredients:

  • apple – 4 cups, chopped
  • ginger – 1 piece, about 1/2 inch cube
  • honey – 1 tbsp
  • parchment paper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 250

Steam the apples and the ginger for about 5 minutes. I recommend steaming over boiling because you don’t want to apples to be soggy. Remember, we are taking the moisture out.

Puree the apples, ginger, and honey.

Pour into a pan lined with parchment paper. The pan I use is 9X12. Smooth the surface of the mixture with the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula. Make sure that it is distributed evenly. The leather won’t cook evenly if there are thick parts and thin parts.

Bake at 250 for about 3 hours. Check it every 1/2 hour or so. When the leather is no longer mushy to the touch it is time to take it out.

The leather will be a little hard at this time. It needs to be left out for a few hours in order to soften up. When the leather has some give, cut it into strips and enjoy. It can be left out on the counter in an airtight container for weeks but, believe me, it won’t last that long.

2. Apple Lemonade

I love lemonade. The problem is that it takes a ton of sugar to keep you from puckering up when you drink it. This juice tastes just like sweetened lemonade. The joy is that it is sweetened only with apples. Sounds like a win to me.

Needless to say, this is my kids favorite juice. My younger son says that wants me to “make this all day, and all night, every day.” I don’t think I will be doing that, but it makes me feel much better giving them this juice instead of the hyper-sweetened variety.

The key is to add 1/2 a lemon to every apple you juice.

Ingredients:

  • apple – 1, cored – preferably organic
  • lemon – 1/2 – preferably organic

Instructions:

Put the ingredients through the juicer.

The reason I say to use an organic lemon is that I use the whole thing, peel and all. You don’t want the pesticides and waxy residue in your juice glass, so buy organic. (You should still rinse the lemon thoroughly before use.)

You should core your apple before juicing it. Apple seeds contain cyanide which you most definitely don’t want in your kids drink!

3. Gluten-free Vegan Apple Crumble

I love apple crumb pie. The best part of this pie is that it is so packed with good stuff that you can eat it for breakfast and not feel guilty!

Ingredients:

Crust (and 1/2 the crumble)

  • garbanzo bean flour – 3/4 cup
  • almonds – 1 cup (ground to a fine flour)
  • gluten-free oats – 3/4 cup (ground to a fine flour)
  • hemp seeds – 1/2 cup (ground to a fine flour)
  • chia powder – 1/2 cup
  • coconut oil – 1/2 cup
  • Xantham gum – 1/4 tsp
  • salt – dash

Crumble

  • Half the crust ingredients
  • gluten-free oats – 1/2 cup
  • coconut butter (or oil) – 3 tbsp
  • crushed walnuts – handful

Pie Filling

  • apple – 2 cups, thin sliced
  • lemon juice
  • cinnamon – 1/2 tsp
  • maple syrup – 1 tbsp
  • apple juice – 1 tbsp
  • grated ginger – 1/2 tsp

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

To make the pie crust mix all of the crust ingredients in a large mixing bowl. It should have the consistency of dough.

Take out 1/2 of the mixture and press it into a pie tin. You want to make sure it is thin and consistent.

The other 1/2 of the mixture will be used for the crumble mixture so set it aside for right now.

For the pie filling take the sliced apples, lemon juice, ginger, maple syrup, and apple juice and cinnamon and mix together in a bowl (I actually used my juicer and juiced 1/2 a lemon, 1/2 and apple and a piece of ginger and poured that mixture over the apples with the cinnamon and maple syrup)

We ran out of ground cinnamon so my son grated a cinnamon stick into the filling mixture. A little more high maintenance but it worked.

Put the pie filling mixture into the pie crust.

For the crumble, take the other 1/2 of the crust mixture. Add the whole oats, sugar, walnuts, coconut butter, and mix thoroughly.

Put the crumble mixture onto top of the pie. Press it down a couple of times so that the crumble stays in place.

Bake in the oven for ~45 minutes. Enjoy!

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

5 Ways to Celebrate the Fall Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon

Early this morning, if you were awake during the pre-sunrise hours, you may have noticed a brilliant full moon lighting up the sky. It’s called the Harvest Moon, and it signifies that autumn is just around the corner.

The autumnal equinox is officially this Sunday, September 22. This is when the sun shines straight on the equator, and the lengths of day and night are roughly equal. The days will begin to grow shorter after that, as we are all so familiar with. We are moving into the fall and winter seasons, now, gearing up for shorter, darker days, cooler weather, and many months of holidays and festivities to come.

But for now, we’re still experiencing the glow of the full moon, and it is a great time to honor the season we are moving into and celebrate the harvest!

I know, it might sound strange to celebrate harvest in this modern era when very few of us actually plant, grow and harvest food. Our separation from this agricultural process may be a critical factor in the environmental problems our world faces today – not to mention our growing obesity, eating disorders, and other food-related ailments.

We still, of course, benefit from the energies of the earth to produce sustenance for our bodies, but how often do we offer our gratitude? How often do we approach our food with the reverence it deserves? I promise you, if we were intimately involved in all stages of its production we’d feel much more awed by the miracle that food is.

Here are 5 ways to honor the earth and celebrate the Harvest Moon:

1. Break bread with friends and loved ones. Harvest is all about the bounty of the earth and stocking up for the more barren months ahead. Cover your table with rich, sustaining goodies, and invite your friends to bring dishes to share! Give thanks for your food in any way that seems appropriate, and enjoy watching your loved ones nourish their bodies with the food from your table.

2. Make a promise to yourself to end food shaming. Food is a gift from the earth. Vegetables, fruits, seeds, grains – meats and dairy, too, if you’re not vegan/vegetarian! Food is not poison. Food is not the enemy. We would not survive without sustenance, and there’s nothing wrong or unnatural about that. So enjoy the food you eat, and stop feeling guilty about it.

3. Plant some seeds! I know, harvest is about the reaping, not the sowing. But there are lots of delicious fall and winter foods you can plant now and enjoy in several months. Go for kale, beets, squash, and cauliflower! If you don’t have a garden, then get yourself a small pot for your porch or window sill. The joy of watching a seed sprout and eventually grow into full brilliance will only be beaten by the joy of eating food you grow!

4. Use this full moon as a great starting point to begin following the moon cycles. The Gregorian calendar certainly has it’s place, but it’s fun to also follow the “calendar” laid out by the moon’s cycles. Once attuned to its rhythm, you’ll start noticing the subtle difference between a waxing and waning moon; you’ll enjoy the dark night of a just-new moon; and a month from now, you’ll welcome the full moon once again!

5. Practice active gratitude. The bounty of harvest is a blessing, and abundance in all categories is a gift. Even if you don’t feel particularly blessed at the moment – if you feel poor or lacking in some regard – don’t start with the wishing. Start with the thanking. That is, instead of asking the Universe (or god/dess, or spirit) for what you desire, give thanks for what you already have. Express your gratitude wholeheartedly, and don’t leave anything out! You can write it out, say it in your head, or vocalize it to a friend. The practice is so gratifying and cleansing that by the end you will undoubtedly feel rich beyond measure. That is true abundance. That is the harvest.

And enjoy this song “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young! One of my favorites…

Your Seasonal Guide to Food as Medicine: September Produce

Apples on treeOver the past few weekends, my sister-in-law and her family have made over 20 gallons of cider from some of the pie apple trees that grow on the pasture of our family’s Iowa farmland. Nothing says autumn like apple cider! And so it is here…the end of summer. Luscious berries and delicate flowers are fading as hearty leaves and roots make their entrance into our farmers markets and recipes. Whether you are in Arizona or Maine, I’m sure you’re noticing the changes all around you.

However, because the expression of the seasons is not the same in every state, what’s “seasonal” in terms of produce can vary quite a bit. I recently came across this interactive map that allows you to choose your state and see what’s in season where you live. There are lots of tools like this out there, but this one happens to be especially easy to use.

For this month’s seasonal guide to food as medicine post, I’ve chosen to focus on some of the edible herbs that also act as common botanical medicines and then, of course, I must talk about the amazing properties of apples. If you’d like to start at the beginning of this series, you can find the first article here.

Horseradish – A hardy root that’s been cultivated for over 2000 years with long list of traditional uses for everything from acting as a blood cleanser to treating headaches. From a modern science perspective, compounds in this spicy root have shown benefit as an antibiotic. In a 2006 study, a constituent of horseradish was found to decrease symptoms from acute sinusitis, bronchitis, or urinary tract infections as effectively as standard antibiotic therapy. From my own personal experience, I also believe a nice-sized bite of this raw root does an excellent job of opening up congested sinus passages!

Lemon balm – This herb gets its common name due to its lemon scent although it’s not related to the citrus fruit itself. An edible plant, the leaves show promise as an anti-viral medicine, specifically indicated for the virus, Herpes simplex, as well as showing benefit for symptoms of anxiety. You can crush up the leaves to make a hot tea or find dried versions in capsule form at your local health food store.

Borage – This plant is native originally to Syria, although it has spread throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean and can be grown in many temperate climates. The leaves and beautiful lavender flowers may be eaten, but it’s the seeds that get the most attention in the natural medicine community. According to a retrospective review of more than 2,000 supplement and medication records for elderly Americans (60-99 years), borage oil supplements are one of the most popular herbal products among elderly women, likely due to their relatively high level of gamma-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid linked to improvements in inflammatory conditions and menopausal symptoms.

Elderberry – This plant has an incredibly long and impressive history as a medicinal plant. Native Americans used elder for infections, coughs, and skin conditions. Ancient Egyptians even used elder flowers to improve complexion and heal burns. From a modern science perspective, elderberries show promise as an anti-viral medicine, decreasing viral load in the body as well as improving flu-like symptoms.

Apples – Last but not least, apples! We all know the famous apple saying relating to health, and it’s true that this little miracle from Mother Nature is packed with goodies like fiber and vitamin C. However, what I find especially exciting about apples are some of the amazing compounds, called phenolic phytochemicals, found primarily in the skin of the fruit that are currently undergoing scientific investigation. An emerging theory is that these phenolic compounds may protect against certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by acting as an antioxidant in brain tissue.

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Be Productive this Fall: Tips from Around the Web

If you’re juggling a lot of responsibilities right now and gearing up for yet more as fall progresses, join the team! It’s a busy time of year. Here are some awesome, practical, and at times unexpected tips from around the web to help you balance everything.

There’s more to this than staying away from caffeine after 5pm. And who couldn’t use a better night’s sleep?

6 Diet Strategies For a Sounder Sleep (Care2)

These intentions will be useful beyond September, too! Stay inspired, enjoy the process, and more.

20 Intentions for September (MindBodyGreen)

Wait, don’t multitask? That seems counter intuitive, but check it out! This is your action plan for mega productivity.

27 Ways to Get More Sh!t Done (Greatist)

More counter intuitive advice: Working less may be the key to greater productivity. Sounds good, eh?

Is Your Work Ethic Affecting Your Health? (HuffPost)

And because being productive means more than just meeting deadlines and cooking a week’s worth of meals in one go, here’s some advice on how to make more time for the activities you love:

How to Actually Create Time for Something Important to You (Positively Positive)

photo by: koalazymonkey

7 Tips To Get Over Your End-Of-The-Summer Blues

Way to rub it in that summer is over, Los Angeles. After a giddy long weekend of resting up, hanging out with friends and enjoying the beautiful warm weather, I woke up this Tuesday morning to dreary clouds and a morning chill. Autumn has already made its pre-emptive invasion and I am not too thrilled.

While the official start of fall this year is apparently on September 22, it is common knowledge that after Labor Day weekend, the summer is pretty much over. When you are a summer junkie like me who loves flip-flops, the smell of suntan lotion and lazy beach days, the shorter days and colder weather after the last three-day weekend of the season can make for a very bittersweet week.

So what to do to avoid the post-summer funk? Here are some ideas to celebrate the beginning of a brand new season. While fall isn’t exactly known for ice cream on the boardwalk and lazy outdoor barbeques, it’s good to remember that it comes with its own share of seasonal perks, too.

1. Treat yourself to a seasonal wardrobe update. I’m going to miss summer like crazy, but I do love me some fall fashion. Cute sweaters, knee-high boots, classy jackets, scarves, slinky cardigans–bring it on.

2. Start planning ahead for some fun fall activities. Ok, so it’s not too early to start planning for your Halloween costume. Or that Dionysian pre-Thanksgiving epic potluck you’re going to have with your friends before you have the more legit and less crazy Thanksgiving dinner with your family. Or the all-out apple-cooking party you’re going to organize to get rid of the ridiculous amounts of apples that the apple tree in your backyard is going to generate. See, isn’t fall fun? 

3. Get excited about learning something new. It’s back to school season! What do you want to learn this month? Get nerdy with a new book, a new cooking class, or join a meet-up group to get more informed about hobbies and subject matters you are pasionate about.

4. Furnish your kitchen pantry with some new tea bags. Since we’re ending the season of iced coffee and frozen yogurt, how about some boxes of tea to usher in the fall? I love the rich spiciness of Good Earth Tea, which is so perfect to brew on colder days.

5. Do some major de-cluttering: it’s fall-cleaning time! Who says seasonal cleaning has to only happen in the spring? Maybe you unearthed a junk load of summer T-shirts and tank top that no longer suit your fancy. Get rid of old stuff and donate to the thrift store and Salvation army; the new empty spaces in your living space will help bring in new energy for the new season.

6. Be more mindful of your immune system. Don’t eff up your enjoyment of the fall season with a pre-winter cold. Wash your hands, avoid touching your face, eat oranges, exercise, and all that jazz.

7. Start thinking about the Christmas gifts you want to surprise your family and friends with. Yes, I know: Labor Day JUST ended and thinking about holiday shopping is kind of gross. But there’s really no perk-up like giving, and maybe some hardcore pre-emptive Christmas present planning for your favorite people is just the Rx you need to cure your post-summer funk.

 Originally published in 2010

photo by: mysza831

Start Fall Off Right: Five Articles to Welcome the New Season

With Labor Day behind us, we can welcome the true beginning of autumn. Take a deep breath. Now is a great opportunity to set intentions for a new season, shake some of those fun but less-than-optimal habits accumulated over the summer, and get into a healthy, energizing routine. Keep in mind, this tends to be the season of candy corn and pumpkin pie… So go into it with a game plan, and you’ll be golden.

What do you do to beat cravings? Here are some super practical tips from weight-loss guru Tosca Reno.

Tosca Reno’s Awesome Tips For Beating A Sugar Craving (Blisstree)

You may be busier now that summer’s just about over, but that might actually help your workout routine! Knowing that you have to block out time for exercise can help you stick to your resolve.

Five Tricks to Fit in Fall Fitness (Yahoo! Shine)

Whether you’re rushing to work or rushing to drop your kids off at school, you’re bound to be rushing somewhere this fall! Take advantage of these quick, healthy breakfast snacks – some of them will probably surprise you!

30 Healthy Breakfast Snacks for Mornings on the Run (Greatist)

Speaking of all that rushing you’re bound to do…Check out these energizing foods if you need a boost.

7 Weird Energizing Foods Runners Swear By (Care2)

And since we’re coming into a new season, why not start off with a fresh schedule and a fresh set of healthy habits. (Gotta let go of those old, bad ones first…)

Why We Hang Onto Bad Habits (Positively Positive)

Desktop Wallpaper Background: My Intent Is To Find Serenitea In The Fall

 

 

DESKTOP WALLPAPER DOWNLOAD: My Intent Is To Find Serenitea In The Fall



 

Right-click or Ctrl-click here to download 1600×1200 image file to use as your desktop wallpaper background

Artwork by Yumi Sakugawa

 

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