Do you ever think about how some mammals undergo a hibernation process annually? When winter comes, mammals rest, restore and slow down.
I actually think they could be onto something.
The modern-day demands that we work harder every day, hustle, be continuously connected, and hyper aware of everything going on most of the time.
In this past year and a half, my focus has been on living more in alignment with nature, taking rest periods to recalibrate and disconnecting when I need to. I have stepped back and have been living in a more attuned way, using innate wisdom to intuitively connect and embrace all that nature has to offer. Living off the land, growing my own vegetables and herbs, catching fish for dinner, hiking and exploring my local environment and taking care of animals.
I’m not going to say that once we get the first hit of a chill, we should all quit our jobs, relocate to a cave and sleep for months on end (but hey, some days, that sounds pretty good). However, it is becoming more obvious that modern life’s current fast pace, can’t be maintained, as it fundamentally goes against Mother nature’s intentions.
After the past 18 months of living simply and in a more aligned way, I believe that nature and the natural world has to be our focus now and forever, it's the fix that is needed in this current landscape and one that should be nurtured.
What has become evident is, that once you get in touch with the cycles of nature and all they have to offer, you can start to think more clearly, be more present and show up in ways that you never thought quite possible.
I've always been drawn to this way of life since childhood, as I write in my book Eat Clean Green and Vegetarian. "I grew up in England in a rickety house on a railway line at the bottom of an uncultivated bramble infested quarter acre plot. Within a year we had transformed it into a beautiful vegetable garden that we would disappear into, tackling nature head on and coming out triumphantly with purple stained hands clutching fistfuls of rhubarb or makeshift buckets bursting with juicy seasonal berries."
Growing up I was immersed in nature, being a part of the changing seasons and witnessing the circle of life; from watching the emergence of seedlings poking their first leaves out of the earth to observing the culmination of plants reaching their full potential, it was profoundly nourishing.
I'd love to share with you are ten things I’ve been engaging in, to help me fully align with the rhythms of nature. If you like you can take them one at a time, stick with what resonates and leave the rest. You do you, as nature intended.
My Ten Tips for Living in Alignment with Nature
1. A morning routine. Sticking to a semi-regular morning routine has helped me set up my day in a calming state and check in with how I feel before going into whatever the day may bring. While I don’t have a strict morning routine, I like sleeping without my curtains fully closed to wake naturally with the sun. I then check in with how I’m feeling and feel into what I need, whether that’s savouring a warm cup of tea in bed, writing down how I’m feeling or taking a few deep breaths before I start the day. I make sure I get some early morning sun to help wake my body and brain up for the day too.
2. A regular meditation practice. Unfortunately, our schedule-oriented world has made us believe we’re meant to be busy every second of every day. If that’s you, you might want to add meditation into your routine. After introducing Vedic meditation into my life, I can honestly say it’s made a world of difference. It’s inexpensive and is one of the most natural things a human can do – experience a feeling of calm and peace. Meditation, for me, has helped me feel closer to nature on a fundamental level and returns me to a balanced state. It also has the ability to reach into the cobwebs and dust out past traumas or life events (samskaras) so that you can feel them and then heal from them. You can read more about my journey Vedic Meditation, here.
3. Filling my home with plants. Yes, I know I’m a crazy plant lady, but having greenery around the house helps you feel more aligned with nature and clears the air at the same time! It has been proven that indoor gardening can help relieve stress, boost your creativity and focus. You don't need to just crush them and use their juices, indoor plants can help with mental health and promote a better mood. If you own cats or dogs like me, make sure to avoid peace lily and florist’s chrysanthemum as they can be toxic to animals.
Flowers also make beautiful get-well gifts! There are so many weekly and monthly flower subscription services that can definitely help you with the freshest seasonal flowers. A reliable flower subscription shop should, however, offer ethically harvested and sustainably grown flowers. Just one thing to bear in mind!
4. Gardening. After what’s been a tumultuous couple of years, I’ve found gardening to be one practice that’s helped me feel grounded and connected. Gardening may be hard work, but it’s incredibly therapeutic. It can be a great driver to put you in touch with nature and give you a greater appreciation of food. It’s an in the moment and mindful activity that helps you forget about time and allows you to focus on tending to what’s right in front of you.
I'd love to share with you are some of my best gardening tips Here .
5. Walking barefoot. You know how kids run around without shoes on in the mud? They may be onto something. Feeling the dirt, sand or grass between your toes (sans shoes) helps you feel the earth's vibration and can even hit incidental acupuncture points!
6. Follow the seasons. I believe getting in touch with the seasons can teach us how to understand our energy and needs; it's the rising potential of spring, the letting go of autumn and the time to rest in winter. It may look a little like this for you:
Summer: This is the season to be outside, socialise and spend time in nature. It’s also the time for fresh foods, lighter meals and gardening.
Autumn: Autumn tends to cool down, and nature slows down too, so wind down a little. Eat grounding foods and do warming yoga asanas.
Winter: it’s time to retreat, slow down and feel a bit more snuggly. Candles, hot baths, jumpers, long socks and warming foods are just some of the joys winter can bring.
Spring: Spring brings new beginnings, renewed energy and forward momentum. It's opportune to start a new hobby, get your hands dirty with gardening, and go on adventures.
7. Lunar Living. Get in touch with moon cycles. You might like to follow the moons as below.
New Moon: The new moon is a time of reflection. It’s time to slow down, rest and take some downtime.
Waxing Moon: It’s time for things to start blossoming! You may feel more energised, happy and cleansed, so it’s a great time to move, take on challenges and be productive. This is the time to start planting the seeds for your future.
Full Moon: When the moon is the most energetic big and bright. Things are hotter, and you may feel more social. It’s a great time to nurture relationships, be creative and get stuck into tasks.
Waning Moon: Things are starting to wind down. You may feel a little more irritable, tired and less focused. This is a great time to be creative and strategic and fine tune smaller details.
8. Spending time with animals. Spending time with my dog and cat has put me in touch with cycles and seasons more than anything else. They need to be cared for, loved and spend time outdoors. Even watching nature documentaries can help us gain a clearer understanding of these fundamental components of life.
9. Natural scents and candles. Turn off the lights and light a candle. Lighting candles is a beautiful way to connect with one of nature’s elements, fire. Fire is one of the most ancient natural forces in the world. My favourite Negative Ion candle is negatively charged and packed full of good energy from the earth; it elevates my mood and purifies the earth. You can read more about negative ions and my candles here.
10. Eating plant based. You don’t need to love yoga, kale or horsetail braids to enjoy a plant based diet. Since simplifying my life, I've been growing my own vegetables and salad greens and including them in most of my meals. Vegetables are our nutritional heroes: delicious, high-fibre and packed with essential vitamins and minerals. They can be used as healing instruments in your life.
It’s never been easier to buy food that’s out of season. However, there are reasons vitamin C-rich oranges grow in winter, and vitamin A-rich berries grow in summer. If you aren't able to grow your own, maybe visiting farmers markets can help put you in touch with seasons and seasonal eating. Alternatively, you can save on gas and time (all while reducing your carbon footprint) by subscribing to a monthly fruit subscription service that'll have your seasonal fruits delivered to your doorstep.
Eating with the seasons, ensures you’re consuming the freshest foods whilst supporting local farmers and producers. It can connect you to the food on your plate, reinforcing a mindful eating practice. You can read more about how to eat healthy on any budget, how to prepare and shop seasonally here.
I'd love to share some of my favourite plant based seasonal recipes for you to enjoy.
If you make them, I'd love to know what you think in the comments section below.
Cheesy Turmeric Cauliflower
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 small head cauliflower, chopped into florets
- small handful coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, turmeric, yeast flakes, salt and pepper. Place cauliflower in and mix until coated.
- Lay the cauliflower on the prepared baking tray.
- Bake for 20–30 minutes, until tender.
- Set aside to cool.
Maple Roasted Carrots with Pine Nuts
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsps Golden Gut Blend or Love your gut powder (optional)
- Handful pine nuts
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) heirloom or baby carrots, peeled and trimmed
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
- Combine all the ingredients except the carrots in a small bowl and stir well.
- Spread out the carrots in a large roasting tin, drizzle over the dressing and pine nuts toss to combine.
- Roast for 25–30 minutes, until the carrots are cooked through.
Nutty Sweet Roasted Pumpkin
- 1 small pumpkin, cut into moon shapes
- 1 tbs olive oil
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 TBS coconut sugar
- Good pinch sea salt
- Handful mixed nuts and seeds
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and place pumpkin slices on the baking sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil, making sure you also cover the back of the pumpkin.
- Sprinkle with cumin, cinnamon and coconut sugar. Season to taste. Roast for 20-30 mins or until crispy.
- Checking halfway through cooking. Five minutes before it’s cooked, sprinkle over the mixed nuts and seeds to roast. Remove from oven.
- It goes really nicely with this dressing.
Garlic Tahini Drizzle
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- Celtic sea salt, to taste
- 70 g sesame tahini
- 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or more, to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
- Place the garlic and a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle and mash to a purée.
- Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the tahini.
- Add the lemon juice and a little bit of the water, whisking continuously, adding a little more water each time until the sauce reaches the consistency of thick cream (or runny yoghurt).
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
Slow Oven Roasted Tomatoes
- 12 Roma tomatoes (or tomatoes of your choice)
- 1 TBS fresh dried rosemary
- 1 tsp. Celtic sea salt
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 TBS olive oil
- Heat oven to 100 degrees Celsius.
- Place tomatoes on baking dish.
- Splash on olive oil.
- Sprinkle on sea salt, garlic and rosemary.
- Bake on middle shelf of oven for approx. two hours.
Broccolini with Goats Cheese
- small bunch broccolini
- 1 tbs olive oil
- ½ cup goat’s cheese
- Place broccolini in a tray, drizzle with oil, and place in 175 degree oven for 15-20 mins or until cooked to your liking.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with crumbled goat’s cheese
Crispy Golden Roasted Potatoes
- 8 large potatoes
- 3 tbs Olive oil
- Fresh rosemary or dried
- 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
- Pinch sea salt
- Preheat oven to 220°c/200°c fan-forced.
- Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.
- Drain potato, then return to pan and shake over low heat to dry out and rough up sides.
- Coat bottom of shallow roasting pan with olive oil fresh rosemary and 5 fresh whole garlic cloves preheat in oven for 5 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and add potatoes carefully tossing in the oil. Sprinkle extra fresh rosemary on top.
- Season well with salt. Pepper, Roast, basting with oil every 15 minutes, for 50 minutes or until golden and crisp. Serve.
If you'd love to have some more in-season recipes, check out my book Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian here.