It's that time of the year again, Autumn! Golden leaves falling in the cool autumnal breeze. The nights are growing longer and darker, the days stormy and grey.

Evenings are for snuggling on the couch, in a warm knit jumper and a hot cup of coco!


Food wise; Autumn in Europe is time to get the hands muddy and reap what was sown in the Spring time. The harvest provides us with hearty seasonal vegetables and fruits.


So why not take advantage of more seasonal, local food this Autumn?


We have compiled breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes that are plant-based, easy to make, are made of only local and seasonal ingredients, provide you with all the nutrients you need and are heavenly delicious. The perfect comfort food you can enjoy on a rainy day!


Breakfast: Porridge with Apples, Pears and Nuts




A wonderfully healthy, plant-based and nourishing food for breakfast that will fill you up and provide you with all the nutrients to start your day on the right foot, is porridge or oatmeal!

There are so many different options for porridge, but one Autumn and Winter favorite is with grated apples, pears and walnuts.


  1. To prepare, place ca. 150g oats together with 500ml plant-based milk (oat/soy milk) in a pan over medium heat.

  2. Add a pinch of sea salt or Himalayan salt, stir the oats and let them simmer for about 5 minutes, stir it as often as you can to guarantee a smooth and creamy porridge.

  3. In the meantime, grate the apple, cut the pear in little squares and chop the walnuts into small pieces.

To serve; Scoop into a warm bowl and top it off with the fruits and nuts. Sweeten as you wish or add spices like cinnamon to refine.


Oats are a great source of fiber that lead to a great digestion, increased fullness and appetite suppression. They also contain a good amount of protein and other vitamins like manganese (important for metabolism), phosphorus for bone health, iron, zinc for a healthy immune system and selenium for a good immune system.

Apples and pears are great locally harvested fruits for the autumn and winter months and are rich in vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants and potassium. Apples and pears are also important for a healthy heart.

Walnuts are a great source of healthy fats, omega-3s, are rich in antioxidants and they help decrease inflammation, promote a healthy gut and help lower blood pressure.


Lunch: Pumpkin, Carrot and Potato Soup




After a heart and soul warming porridge in the morning, we continue with some fresh, easy and delicious comfort food for lunch. Many root vegetables are locally in season in the autumn months, and what could be a better autumn lunch than a tasty pumpkin soup refined with carrots and potatoes?


To prepare;

Roughly chop 1 large onion, 1 whole squash, 3 carrots, 3 medium-sized potatoes and 2 cloves of garlic. Grate some ginger, for extra flavor .


(Tip: Keep the pumpkin seeds for a snack - they are one of the richest plant-based sources of iron and manganese!)


Cooking method;

  1. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pot and add the onion and garlic. Sauté for two minutes and then add the pumpkin and carrots. Sauté for another 5 minutes, until golden.

  2. Add about one liter of organic vegetable stock, chopped potatoes and grated ginger. Simmer for 15 minutes.

  3. Using a blender or food processor, blend the soup until smooth and creamy. Add spices like black pepper, sea salt, turmeric, paprika powder, fresh ground nutmeg, ground coriander and a tiny pinch of cinnamon and vanilla. Blend again.

  4. Let the soup simmer for another 5 minutes.


(Tip: Before you serve the soup, squeeze the juice of half an orange for an extra tangy flavour.)


Root vegetables like pumpkin, carrots, squash and (sweet) potato are great sources of vitamins A, B and C, antioxidants, manganese, potassium in the autumn and winter time. Turmeric and ginger are one of the greatest natural anti-inflammatory foods, providing a natural remedy against cold and flu.


Dinner: Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower and Fennel Gratin





For dinner, we have a vegan gratin with Brussel sprouts, Cauliflower and Fennel.

Packed full with nutrients and minerals, this dinner is most certainly healthy, comforting and yummy!


Cooking method;

  1. Start by cooking the Brussel sprouts in a large pot of salted boiling water for 2 minutes.

  2. Add cauliflower; cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

  3. Drain and transfer vegetables to a bowl of ice water to cool.

Vegan cream for the gratin, cooking method;

  1. Soak cashews in water or use cashew nut butter. Mix in a blender with water, a pinch of salt, pepper and nutritional yeast and blend well.

  2. Chop 2 shallots, fresh sage and fennel and add it to a large saucepan together with the creamy sauce. Bring to boil and then reduce heat.

  3. Simmer until mixture is reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Remove from heat.

  4. Prepare a baking dish and arrange the vegetables in the dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour cream mixture with fennel evenly over. Top with split almonds, cover the gratin with foil.

  5. Bake in the oven at 200°C for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer. Voila!


Brussel sprouts are an excellent source of calcium and vitamin C for immune health. Cauliflower provides big amounts of fiber and choline for brain development and fennel is a wonderful winter vegetable and rich in vitamin C, contains many antioxidants for cell reparation and potassium and magnesium for healthy bones. Almonds that are sprinkled on top of the gratin are rich in unsaturated fats and great for cardiovascular diseases.


Cooking fresh and seasonal is not only the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way, but on top of that it also provides great varieties of fresh, organic food and delicious, healthy, nourishing recipes that will get you excited for the seasons. The rich autumn harvest provides all the nutritional value you need to get you going, so you don’t have to resort back to buying imported foods.




We hope you try and enjoy these recipes and let us know how they turned out for you in the comment section!





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We all know him as the 'Ice Man', the man who pushes the body to the extreme, submerging himself in Ice Water and walking bare through glaciers, in just his shorts!

This isn't all he's known for, behold there are methods to his madness which are far less extreme. The Wim Hof Breathing Method, it is Scientifically proven to boost your immune system without nearly freezing yourself to death!

Interested in finding out more? Read on...



Physiology


What happens to your Oxygen levels, during WHM?

Lung Bubbles, have a large ''diffusion surface'' - This is where Co2 and O2 are exchanged.

When you breathe calmly, this can stretch up to 70 m2, yet when you inhale deeply this can expand to 100 m2 (Mandigers & Van StraatenHuygen, 2004 p.290 up to p.316). The WHM breathing technique is designed as such that anyone can reach the largest surface possible. By practicing the breathing technique, you will influence the ratio between O2 en CO2 in the blood. Based on scientific research (Kox et al., 2012), Wim Hof’s blood levels indicated, after 30 minutes of implementing the breathing technique, a significantly low dose of CO2. After an hour, the CO2-levels were even lower. On top of this, the amount of O2- consumption had doubled after 45 minutes. (wimhofmethod.com)


What happens to your blood levels, during WHM?

By thoroughly inhaling and exhaling while doing the breathing exercises, you will consume a lot of oxygen. In addition to this, the concentration of CO2 lessens almost immediately. While doing so, a shift takes place in the CO2 and O2 ratio in the blood. By systematically and deeply breathing in and out, the pH-value in the blood increases (making the blood more alkali) whereas the acidity lessens. Normally, on average the pH-value is 7.4. By exerting the breathing techniques, this becomes significantly higher. (wimhofmethod.com)


What happens to your nervous system, during WHM?

Under normal conditions, the nervous system is independently and subconsciously regulated by the body.

It has emerged from a variety of studies, however, that certain concentration/meditation techniques can result in independent, autonomic activity (Phongsuphap, Pongsupap, Chandanamattha & Lursinsap, 2008; Wu & Lo, 2008; Paul-Labrador et al., 2006). Mindfulness-based stress reduction, for example, has resulted in a decrease in activity in the sympathetic nervous system among fibromyalgia patients (Lush, Salmon, Floyd, Studts, Weissbecker & Sephton, 2009). Proof has also been provided that Wim Hof is able to influence his autonomic nervous system by means of his technique (Pickkers et al., 2011).

(wimhofmethod.com)


 


The Method


Throughout the years, Wim Hof has developed special breathing exertions that keep his body in optimal condition and in complete control in the most extreme conditions. The breathing technique is first and foremost premised on inhaling deeply and exhaling without any use of force!


Step 1: Get Comfortable Assume a meditation posture: sitting, lying down — whichever is most comfortable for you.

Make sure you can expand your lungs freely without feeling any constriction.

Step 2: 30-40 Deep Breaths Close your eyes and try to clear your mind. Be conscious of your breath, and try to fully connect with it. Inhale deeply through the nose or mouth, and exhale unforced through the mouth. Fully inhale through the belly, then chest and then let go unforced. Repeat this 30 to 40 times in short, powerful bursts. You may experience light-headedness, and tingling sensations in your fingers and feet. These side effects are completely harmless.


Hof states: “By not breathing out entirely, you come to a point where a residual of air remains in the lungs. After doing this thirty times, you exhale again without any use of force. This time though, you don’t immediately inhale again, but wait with inhaling until you sense your body needs new oxygen. After this, the whole process starts again. While you start to sensations of lightness, laxity and tingling, these rounds are repeated a number of times”.

Step 3: The Hold After the last exhalation, inhale one final time, as deeply as you can. Then let the air out and stop breathing. Hold until you feel the urge to breathe again. Step 4: Recovery Breath When you feel the urge to breathe again, draw one big breath to fill your lungs. Feel your belly and chest expanding. When you are at full capacity, hold the breath for around 15 seconds, then let go. That completes round number one. This cycle can be repeated 3-4 times without interval. After having completed the breathing exercise, take your time to bask in the bliss. This calm state is highly conducive to meditation — don't hesitate to combine the two.



With thanks to: wimhofmethod.com



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On the journey of life, we can find ourselves standing at a crossroad. Facing those big decisions which have us pondering over what direction we should take. Often the answer will largely impact not only our lives but the lives of those closest to us.

Questions such as; Is this medical procedure aligning with my belief system, how will my choices negatively or positively affect myself and those around me? Or maybe whether to stay in a difficult relationship or to end it?


These kind of questions have one thing in common and that is that there is no right or wrong answer. There is no manual on how best to make these decisions, friends will often have varying opinions, which could cascade the mind into a web of confusion.


These questions, can lead us onto un-necessary suffering if we allow them to consume our minds and alter our relationship with the present moment. So then...how do i make the best decision in this present moment, which will change the course of my life? Is there a method which will bring clarity and greater sense of freedom?


Different ways of thinking


Depending on the situation, we can solve challenges either from the brain or the heart. Heart based thinking works in heart-brain coherence, it is the anchor of which we can hold onto when these often chaotic challenges present themselves in our lives.

Single eye of the heart - Present and in harmony with the moment. It uses the logic of the mind with the personal truth from the heart. Instead of writing up checklists of pros and cons, the wisdom of the heart knows exactly what is right for us in the present moment.


Through out history, poets, philosophers and prophets have regarded the human heart as a


source of divine wisdom and love. The renowned French philosopher Blaise Pascal stated:

"The heart has reasons that reason cannot know"

Such examples are endless and show the gap between ancient knowledge and the modern day scientific perspective.


It has recently been found that within the heart there is a 'little brain', which continually sends feedback to the brain, this is an ongoing two way dialogue which continually influences the others function and performance. The heart communicates to the brain in four ways; neurologically (through nerve impulses), biochemically (hormones and neurotransmitters), biophysically (pressure waves) and energetically (electromagnetic field interactions). (HeartMath, 2016)



5 Steps to Learning the language of the Heart

(Find a comfortable seat, in a cozy room with minimal distractions)


Focus Your Heart

Set an intention to move awareness from the mind, down into the heart area.

This sends a signal to the mind, that you're now shifting your perspective from the outside world and are now becoming centered in the world within you.


Slow Your Breathing

With each inhale and exhale, hold for a count of 5 and direct the breathe down into diaphragm.

This will send a signal to your body that you're in a safe space and will neutralize the flight, fight response, thus stimulating the relaxation of the nervous system (parasympathetic response).



Feel a Rejuvenating Feeling

Feel a genuine sense of compassion and caring, direct the feeling out from your heart center. You can send this out to anyone or anything. The more important part is that you tune into this energy center, allowing the feeling to be as sincere and heartfelt as possible. Its the quality of this feeling which fine-tunes and regulates the coherence between your heart and brain.



Asking the Heart Intelligence a Question

Now that we've created harmony between our brains and heart, we can tap into the Wisdom of the Heart. As you continue to breathe and hold the focus in your heart, its now time ask that all important question.


Keeping the question short and brief, allows your heart to communicate its truth. There's no need for a preface or the history of an event before the question. Allow the totality of the question to sink into your heart center,



Observation

If this is your first time observing the sensations in the body, this is a great practice of drawing awareness inside,

Simply observe all the feelings and sensations, as the question is asked. Feelings such as; warmth from the heart and gut, peaceful sensation or maybe there are mixed feelings - each feeling is welcome, even those which are uncomfortable, the trick is to be an observer and feel what the heart has to communicate.



This 5 step process empowers us to make intelligent, heart based decisions. When we feel unsure who to ask or turn to, sometime our greatest guide is only 18Inches from our brain!








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