Eat For Autumn: Spaghetti Squash

The harvest season is upon us, and amidst these days of autumn there are a lot of new recipes you can try.

Spaghetti Squash, also known as vegetable spaghetti, is a variety of winter squash. It ranges from yellow to orange in color with matching flesh. When you cook the squash, the flesh falls away from the rind in think strands like spaghetti.

Health Benefits

All types of winter squash are high in both vitamins A and C, and are also a good source of vitamins B6 and K, potassium and folate. The more orange in color the spaghetti squash is, the more beta-carotene is present.

Recipe: Spicy Spaghetti Squash with Black Beans

(Provided by Whole Foods Market)

Ingredients

•1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

•2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

•1/2 cup chopped red onion

•1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

•1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped

•1 cup cooked black beans

•1/2 cup sweet corn, frozen or fresh

•1 teaspoon chili powder

•1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

•1 tablespoon lime juice

•1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Procedure 

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange squash in a large baking dish, cut-sides down. Pour 1/2 cup water into the dish and bake until just tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Rake with a fork to remove flesh in strands, leaving the shell intact for stuffing.

For the filling, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeño and bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes or until soft. Add beans, corn and chili powder; cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute longer. Add cooked squash, cilantro, lime juice and salt, cook 1 minute until heated through.

Fill squash halves with filling, mounding mixture in the center.


How To Create More Simplicity 

Some of the most profound awarenesses in life are not complex or incomprehensible — consider it’s the simplicity of certain ideas or experiences that can make them truly meaningful.

See Straight

Some people tend to make things more complicated than they need to be, whether that’s a grocery list, an approaching deadline or an experiment with a new recipe. What then often follows, is a process of overthinking that turns daily tasks into anxiety and stress; these things that actually bring be a sense of purpose and fulfillment are given an inaccurate and inhibiting weight — bogging down what could actually be light and inspiring.

Drop the drama, and start to see things for how they are — nothing more, nothing less. Take out the story of what “should” and “could” be in any given situation, and focus on simply what is. Prioritize what you need to in order to stay in line with your intentions, and make an effort to stay away from falling into an overwhelming space.

Keep Your Perspective

Once you take out the excess and embrace things for what they are, remember to maintain this clean and clear perspective on your path of simplicity — your road to personal freedom.

There will always be complications that make things hard, but it’s what you do with them that counts. Turn a complication into a deep breath, and a chance to learn, and you will create more clarity and action around it; turn a complication into over thought and drama, and you will create more anxiety and stress around it.

Give yourself space with what comes up in any given situation, and you will find that it does not have to be as complicated, dramatic or stressful as you may have once thought it to be. Create more simplicity around what comes your way, offering yourself more lightness and freedom.


What Change May Come

The Autumn Equinox is upon us, and now is a great time to set new intentions as we shift into a new season.

 Season of the Senses

“Use what you have, use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smell of nostalgia; apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world’s oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white silence of winter.”

— Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way

Turn on your awareness this fall, so that every move that you make along your journey is as vibrant as the colors emerging all around you. The more in-tune you are with yourself, the more specific you can be with the intention you set as you move forward.

See the full expanse of golden orange and fiery red foliage as morning sunlight begins to shine through branches, and taste the crisp air as it breaks open your breath. Hear the crunch of fallen leaves roll underneath your soles with every step, smell the earth as its soil swells open in its last emergence before it settles under snow, and feel the light around you radiate your skin.

Set Your Intentions

Accepting change fully begins being grateful for all that it reveals. Instead of thinking of change as challenging your way of being, consider that change is the catalyst for inspiration. With newness comes possibility, so set some new intentions for this season from a place of awareness and dedication of your journey, bringing in joy along the way.

To set an intention, you can simply fill in a simple phrase, like: I commit to ______________, because it will enliven my life by bringing in more ______________.

Write down your intentions and put them in a place where you can see them every day. Any moment when you feel off course, realign with your path and just keep moving forward.


Don't Lose a Day, or a Decade

Ten years ago today, I was in my senior year of high school. The leaves were changing and it was volleyball season. It was a year or so before my yoga journey began, but there were many moments that year when I can remember a rush of vibrancy and joy rush through my veins, much like I feel after a good practice on my mat.

So now, a decade later, I can honestly say that life just keeps getting better. It's different, yes, and it will never be the same as it was then — all the untouched curiosity and possibility that exists in every ounce of adolescent newness, like an aspen leaf just before it breaks open into vibrant autumn gold.

I know not everyone would agree with my optimistic outlook on "growing up," or some would even rather be back in this place of youthful vulnerability and accepted ignorance. It's the philasophical question most hear before high school even began: "To be, or not to be?"

And, yes, that is the question.

So, to be happy, or not to be? To be fulfilled, or not to be? To be motivated, or not to be?

It's all a choice, every moment of it, and to say that you'd "rather be back in high school," or "rather have this," or "rather have that," means that you would rather choose "not to be," because you are not taking accountability for your own being.

Your choices in this very moment, and your many choices over time, are you chance to make your life the way you want it to be.

Who cares if you hated high school? Who cares if you loved it? It's a cliche reference, but one that most can relate to; so step out behind your teenage dream and make this life matter now.


5 Ways To Come Back Into Balance

Do you feel in balance right now? Perhaps your heart is fluttering from too much yerba mate, or your legs feel heavy from yesterday's long autumn hike. Is your room filled with half-folded piles, or your email drifting beneath the fold? It's fine, because it is what it is, but you can always take action to being it all it back into balance.

Shift Stagnant Energy

There’s nothing quite like movement to keep your body, mind and spirit in check. If it’s for a few minutes, or an hour or two, daily exercise is an ideal way to invest in your peace of mind and your health. If you can break away from the grind for a walk, run, bike ride, simple stretch or yoga session, your whole being will benefit from clearing space for more clarity, ease and longevity.

Eat for Equilibrium

You are what you eat, so keep it balanced. Moderation is a key tactic here, so while you can enjoy your indulgences, relish in your fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Choose to consume in a way that will create more equilibrium — if you’re feeling heavy, eat light; if you’re cold and/or dry, eat warm, moist foods; if you’re feeling scattered, eat grounding, earthy foods.

Drink More Water

Water is fluid, so the more your drink, the more your body will be able to adjust to whatever comes its way. No, water will not fend off a flat tire, or a bad day at the office, unless the bad day spurs from you feeling dehydrated (or nauseous, or “hungry,” or irritable — which can all come from lack of H2O in your system). And if you get that flat tire, at least you won’t be thirsty. Drink more water!

Clear The Clutter

You are the director of your own destiny when it comes to organization. Everyone is busy, but you get to choose how to be more intentional with your time. Instead of feeling overwhelmed but all the things you have to get done, simply shift your perspective to thinking of tasks as a way to keep your day-to-day on track toward your ultimate intentions. To-do lists and other organizational methods are great tools, but never underestimate the power of doing, instead of thinking about doing. Set intentions, and carve your way with clear actions.

Speak Your Truth

Expressing your needs is one of the most powerful ways to obtain support on your path of balance. To tell your friends, family and co-workers what is going on with you from a place of curiosity and possibility, rather than fear and judgement, will help lighten load of whatever you have going on, rather than internalizing it. Just having others hear you in your authenticity will help keep you upright as you experience the eb and flow of life.


Eat Clean: Fruits & Veggies On The Go

We know that diets rich in fruits and vegetables help to lower heart disease and keep our weight in check, giving us the nutrients and antioxidants we need to make our organs sing and our skin glow.

Busy lifestyles and convenient eating habits are not always conducive to intaking all the colors of the rainbow, but here’s some tips to keep you get your daily dose.

Shop Smart

As you stroll through the produce, grab items that are easy to pack fast: apples, oranges, berries, bananas, bell peppers, carrots, avocados, tomatoes, greens with a splash of lemon. You’ll be able to rinse what you need and hit the road.

Simple Greens Salad
Arugula (or kale, spinach, etc.)
Splash of lemon
Splash of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Get Your Blender Going

If you blend a bunch of goodness together, you can pack the extra in mason jars and have tasty boosts throughout the day. Health stores around you may do daily juicing or blending with fruits and veggies, but it’s a simple process that you can do on our own.

Mix and match your favorite flavors, and remember to try to balance tart and bitter with a bit of sweet — bitter greens and lemon go wonderfully with apple.

Kale, Avocado, Apple and Ginger Smoothie
Handful of kale
Half an avocado
Half a lemon
One sliced apple
One to two tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
Water or coconut water to mix to desired consistency


How To Travel Happy

There are times when traveling — by plane, car, boat or otherwise — seems just as free and light as we imagine it to be. This is when the ideas and dreams we create around the journey are actually attained — a here-to-there, there-to-wherever that is easy and inspiring, seamless and sustainable.

But when the hiccups happen, the journeys we are meant to enjoy don't really feel so joyful, and that's when our expectations fall prey to frustration and disappointment. And then, once we arrive somewhere, what if the destination isn't all we dreamed it up to be? Here are some ways to step into the moment while traveling, specifically on how to plan ahead in order to be more proactive before any adventure begins.

Move Your Energy

Do your best to get an exercise session in before you head to the airport or embark on your road trip. There is no debating the benefits that movement has on your body and your mind, especially before the extended hours you'll spend sitting. If you don't have time to move before you go, see if you can still get some stretching or breathing practices in — whether you have a few minutes to kill at the airport, or several hours to spend in the car.

Pack Some Snacks

Gas stations and airports don't usually have the healthiest of options to eat, so it's important to plan ahead and B.Y.O. sustenance. Hydration is a key component to keep you body going strong, so be sure to have a reusable water bottle with you at all times (even if you have to drink the whole thing in the security line before a flight). Bring fruit with you — dried fruit is extra lightweight and packable — and raw almonds and dark chocolate can add a little extra crunch — like a homemade trail mix. If you want to pack a meal, toss some arugula, pistachios and cooked quinoa together with sea salt, cracked pepper, olive oil and a dash of lemon.

Stay Open And Engaged

Make eye contact, and say please and thank you to the people you pass and meet along your journey. Authentic connection is a simple and sustainable pathway to gratitude, which helps us all to live in a space of joy and fulfillment. There are so many people in this world who you can learn from and find inspiration through, and you can provide that for others as well. Be open to what is possible through honest communication and heartfelt interaction.