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By Katie Jenson-Hull / The Radiance Kitchen
Embracing nature's natural rhythms
Saying that life is busy is somewhat of an understatement for many of us. If hearing this statement rings true for you then seasonal living could provide you with the antidote you have been searching for. The concept of seasonal living allows the space to align and embrace the cycles of nature and to live in a way that is in accordance to how nature intended. Let me explain further.
Living in the season is intentional living at its best. For when we live in tune with the current season, nature gives us the go ahead to slow down mentally and physically. Going with, rather than against nature provides alignment. When we embrace the natural cycles and flow happening around us, life can become somewhat slower. We embrace the energy of the season. Modern day life has got in the way of how our ancestors would have lived in rhythm with nature. The noise of 21st century fast living has left us deaf to natural living and the natural seasonal rhythms.
My personal experience of seasonal living
I have pretty much always had an element of seasonal living even from childhood. Growing up spring was a time for renewal and energy, a time for fresh air and rejuvenation with time spent outdoors. Summer was a time for rest and to switch off and enjoy all that the sun's energy could bring. Autumn was a time for new routines and fresh beginnings. Winter was a time to retreat, nourish and hibernate.
It’s funny how all these years on I still have these fundamentals grounded firmly within. For a while particularly in my twenties seasonal living focussed mainly as to when it was acceptable to get my legs out and to ditch the thick black tights!
However, it was after having my son that seasonal living came back into fruition. While recovering from a challenging birth, I looked to the seasons as a guide for balance and grounding. Focussing on the here and now rather than the past or whatever the future may bring. Being simply here. Present in the moment. My body learnt to naturally ground within the present and match the energy of the season.
Years on I still consider myself as someone who lives with the seasons. Now I have a little less emphasis on being completely present but I always ground down with what the season is telling me. Allowing the energy of what is happening outside my window to guide me and anchor me.
Summer is the season of energy, lightheartedness and playfulness. However it is also a time for rest and traditionally time to take a break, relax your shoulders and allow tension to diminish with the warmth of the sun on your skin. It’s a time for freedom, for exploration and space. Summer is a time for experiences and connections with loved ones. Summer is a time to regain energy for the colder months ahead.
Set your summer intentions
What is summer to you?
At the start of the season reflect on what summer means to you. What words sum up this period and write them down. This is a great starting point to create a summer that will enrich you and set you up for what autumn and winter may bring.
A couple of my words are vibrant, bountiful, serene, adventure and space.
What do I want from summer?
Ask yourself, what do you want to take away from this period? Maybe you set goals at the start of the year. If so, revisit these as this time is a natural point of the year to take stock and refresh them.
I personally want to harness the feeling of space. After the last year I feel like I need to feed on the sunlight and warmth and re energize my body and soul. I need to switch off and regroup.
Once you have your intention for the months ahead find ways to explore them. Here are a few areas of seasonal living for summer to get you started.
Seasonal eating is my thing. Not only is it a more sustainable way of eating, it also provides the body with a variety of foods that contain nutrients that are naturally needed for the time of year. Eating in season also means that the taste is far more superior, have you ever eaten a strawberry in winter? The sweet taste of a juicy ripe strawberry in summer is far superior.
This summer you will find me experimenting with my juices. Making fresh delicious and hydrating juices full of wonderful minerals and vitamins. I am also going to be experimenting with dairy free cooking as a family member has recently become dairy free. Think dairy free ice creams and summery puddings that even an avid dairy eater wouldn’t spot the difference.
With the long, warm evening comes the perfect excuse to take your kitchen outside. Cooking and dining alfresco. There’s nothing I love more than foraging in my kitchen garden for herbs and salad leaves to create a wonderful and delicious meal outside. I also plan to be doing more outdoor cooking while camping off grid. Real soul food in my opinion is preparing and cooking on an open fire while barefoot and grounding with nature.
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy copious raw plant foods. These raw foods are often cooling foods that combat the warmth of the season. Think coconut water, cucumber, mint, melon, green leafy vegetables. A fresh seasonal salad is only as good as the quality of the ingredients used and the dressing you use. Make your own dressing with good quality extra virgin oil, a squeeze of lemon, seasoning, apple cider vinegar and a little honey.
Visit your local farmers market or select seasonal produce some of the best seasonal foods in July are: Red peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, salad, herbs, beetroot, radishes, courgettes, new potatoes, aubergines, courgettes, peas, french beans, plums, peaches, cherries and berries.
Summer is a time to be outside more, taking in the sunshine, safely topping up your vitamin D ready for winter, walking, swimming, exercising outside, camping and fruit picking. Basically, spend as much time outside to reap the rewards of summer energy.
If you are working make sure to take regular sunshine breaks. Eat your seasonal lunch outside, walk on your break, lie down in the park and let the sun's warmth recharge and energise you.
Bring the season inside
A key element of seasonal living is designing an inside space that reflects the season outside. Create beautiful seasonal tables, craft seasonally inspired projects such as a homemade lavender eye mask, light your favourite candles that have summer memories. I love rose and geranium scents at this time of the year. Their fresh, floral scents fill my home.
Selecting flowers from the garden and bringing them inside is a lovely way of bringing the outside in. I find the flowers from my bolted vegetables incredibly beautiful and quirky, I also love wild flower arrangements full of fresh scented herbs.
I hope you are feeling inspired to be more intentional this summer and to create a season that will leave you energised and ready for the autumn ahead.