With the cooler weather, I have been craving oatmeal for breakfast. Initially, I thought it was too heavy for a pre-run meal, but I have been experimenting with it and it's not too heavy at all. In fact, it's perfectly warm and satisfying.
Oatmeal is quite nutrient dense, 1/2 cup of uncooked oats makes about 1 cup of cooked oatmeal and contains 13 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. A solid start to the day. I have been adding a spoon of almond butter, chia seeds, cacao powder, a banana and drizzle of maple syrup for a slightly sweet, grounding, nourishing bowl of breakfast. It's quick to make and provides the right amount of fuel for me to get moving.
Oatmeal provides a nice base for a variety of toppers - raisins, dates, dried cranberries, fresh or frozen berries, coconut, hemp seeds and cinnamon offer a variety of combinations that will keep oats interesting so we can continue to enjoy them throughout the colder months.
As I listen to the blustery wind and observe the red and golden leaves blowing off the trees and down the sidewalk, I find myself reflecting on how positively agitating that sound once was for me. Several years ago I lived in an apartment near the lake where my window faced the alley and next to that alley was a very tall building. In the fall, it was a virtual wind tunnel. The sound of that wind positively filled me with anxiety and agitation. I could not get relief from that sound or the feelings it provoked in me. Between the wind and the colder, darker days, I absolutely loathed this time of year.
It’s no coincidence that I found Kundalini Yoga in October (of 2007!), the month where I historically began to steel myself for the winter by staying indoors, isolating myself. It was not an enjoyable or peaceful way to live. As I began my Kundalini Yoga journey, I gratefully noticed immediate shifts. The darkness was not as bothersome. I went out in the evening regularly for classes. I felt more relaxed, not as sad or alone.
As I continued on my journey, I was introduced to Ayurveda and learned that this time of year has the qualities of the Vata constitution or dosha, meaning it is a windy, cold, dry season that can aggravate those parts of me. Understanding this, I began to support myself with new tools, which have allowed me to embrace the beauty of this season, rather than resist it. Simple things like sipping hot water throughout the day, eating well cooked veggies prepared with olive or sesame oil, consuming seasonal foods especially root vegetables, hot peppers, ginger and squash. Enjoying sweet treats like warm apple crisp and fruit pies. Taking time to massage my skin with warm sesame oil before I shower. Running regularly, breathing through my nostrils to ground myself and keep a calm and steady pace. Engaging in suspension of breath pranayam meditation. And slowing down, focusing on walking more slowly, eating and drinking more slowly and being intentional in my thoughts, words and actions.
Using these tools, which I have incorporated slowly, over time, have contributed to a calmer mind; improved digestion; happier feelings; a deeper level of satisfaction with my life; a stronger sense of self, self-love and compassion; enhanced well-being; feeling connected with others; enhanced, more loving & understanding relationships; a deepened spiritual connection; an open heart and softer, more comfortable skin. I am a more open, loving and compassionate person because of these tools and my dedication to practicing them. And for this I am beyond grateful.
And the journey continues… Wahe Guru.
I am an animal loving-Vegan runner, I practice and teach Kundalini Yoga and I love to cook and eat flavorful plant-based food.