While summer is my favorite time of the year, fall comes a very close second.
There are so many things to enjoy about the fall. After hot and (where I live) humid weather all summer, the cool and crisp air is a welcome respite. It’s fun breaking out the light jackets and sweaters, and I have my very favorite pair of jeans to wear with ankle boots in the fall.
One of the reasons I love summer is its high energy. Fall is an energetic time as well, but in a different way. Summer is all about fun, parties and vacations. Fall is about harnessing the energy of summer, and channeling it in a productive way.
During the fall we “get back to business” – think about when you were young and you went back to school in the fall after being off all summer. Workplaces also hunker down in the fall after summer vacations. Where I live in Washington, DC, the US Congress takes a month-long break in August and comes back in the fall to finish out their legislative session.
Everyone is ready to get back to business in the fall, be productive, and get things done. For you on your fertility journey, it’s awesome to have the fall to renew your focus on your health, wellness, and intention for your journey. Fall is an incredible time for renewal, because we can let go of things that no longer serve us.
Just like the trees shed their leaves, we shed from our body and spirit things that are weighing us down or holding us back – things like people and relationships that we’ve outgrown, or rituals and practices that no longer fit into our lives and where we’re headed. Isn’t that exciting!
Speaking of health and wellness, you can ring in the fall with some amazing foods that can help you fuel your fertility and feel healthier.
One common thread to many fall foods is that they are either orange or are root vegetables (or both). The benefit of these is that they are loaded with phytonutrients to help you build your immune system and ward off illnesses. It’s not a coincidence that we see foods with these phytonutrients in the fall – they help you get ready for winter, when so many little colds and infections are always going around.
Isn’t it amazing how nature always gives us what we need when we need it!
Foods that are naturally orange are rich in beta carotene, an antioxidant that is a precursor to Vitamin A. Antioxidants are great – and necessary – for helping to improve the quality of our cells, including egg and sperm cells. If egg or sperm quality is an issue for you, I definitely recommend incorporating root vegetables into your eating plan for this fall. Even if egg quality is not a central issue to your fertility, we can all always benefit from improving the quality of our cells – for our overall health and wellness, in addition to our fertility. There’s no downside to improving egg and sperm quality, and the root vegetables of fall help us to do that.
Vitamin A helps the sperm and the ovaries develop properly, so it’s important for both male and female reproductive health. Vitamin A also helps facilitate normal growth and development of both an embryo and fetus, so it’s also important to get enough of it once you do get pregnant – so get into the habit now, during preconception, of eating a diet with adequate amounts of Vitamin A. Again, the root vegetables of fall are a great source for this important nutrient.
Great examples of root vegetables to eat at this time of the year include sweet potatoes, squashes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, ginger and onions. My mouth is watering!
Here’s a great recipe for a basic butternut squash soup to help you get into the fall spirit. This is one I eat all through the fall. I always feel so nourished when I eat it.
Butternut Squash Soup
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 medium butternut squash, cubed (hint: butternut squash is a real bear to peel and cut, can buy it already cubed at the store)
1 medium apple, peeled and cubed
2 cups vegetable broth
sea salt and pepper to taste
optional: heavy cream for texture
optional: pumpkin seeds and/or pomegrate seeds for garnish
Directions: Heat olive oil over medium heat in large pot. Add onions and carrots, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add butternut squash and apple and coat in the oil. Add vegetable broth to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it, you may need to add more vegetable broth if it starts to boil away. Once the mixture is soft, let cool slightly, then put into a blender and blend, OR use an immersion blender to blend right in the pot. Blend to desired consistency. If using cream, slowly add cream to desired taste and texture. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Garnish if desired with pumpkin and/or pomegranate seeds.
This post is also available in: Arabic