As the days get shorter and colder, I load my wood stove to keep myself warm. And I stoke my “other stove” as well — my digestion. It’s the “burner” of our physical body that miraculously transforms food into energy to keep us strong during the long winter.
Try my 6 tips for strengthening digestion:
- Fall is when we transition from light, raw summer salads to more substantial, hot, cooked foods like soups, stews baked and roasted dishes that warm both the house and our digestion. Cooked fall fruits make a great dessert. Try the Apple oat and nut muffin recipe below.
- Sip warming teas like fresh ginger root tea and my favorite toxin-busting cardamom, fennel, ginger tea. You can always just drink hot water after your meals too. If that doesn’t seem appealing, I challenge you to try it for just one week. I suspect you’ll make it a regular habit because it feels so good. Let me know!
- Warming spices and herbs not only provide antioxidants, but also warm and enhance digestion. Turmeric and ginger root are my favorites, but cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, mustard seed, red and black pepper are close behind. Try using more of these spices in your everyday cooking.
- Eating a larger lunch and an earlier, lighter dinner allows digestion to be complete before going to bed and making for a more successful and restful sleep-repair stage.
- Even if your meal is simple, enjoy the food in peaceful surroundings. Take time to chew well and savor different tastes. Just last night, I prepared a quick one-pan meal and enjoyed it while watching the sunset.
- One day a week, give your digestion a rest and eat only easy-to-digest liquid foods like soups, smoothies, and juices (made with warm water), protein shakes, pureed foods and plenty of hot water.
Apple oat and nut muffins recipe
Yield: 12 muffins
1 1/3 cups light spelt flour (option: gluten-free flour)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup Sucanat sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup finely chopped peeled apples
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup finely chopped and shelled raw pumpkin seeds, unsalted cashews or macadamia nuts
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup melted clarified butter
¼ cup rice syrup
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable oil or clarified butter, or use a silicone muffin pan or paper liners, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and baking soda. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the apples, milk, pumpkin seeds, applesauce, butter and rice syrup. Mix well with a spoon until blended.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
- Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
- Let the muffins cool in the pan for no more than 2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.