Food | Series

Autumn Immunity

I have some pretty fantastic women in my life and am so honored to have my dear friend Sarah share her wisdom on the blog today. Sarah is a dear friend of mine who happens to live on the other side of my loft building. Her love of holistic health, nutrition, and beauty are intoxicating- you can’t help but to be inspired whenever you’re in her presence. Plus, we happen to share an immense love of dancing- and friends who dance together stay together, right? Enjoy this nugget of knowledge from her- she’s a wise one with oceans of insight.


Written by Sarah Shreves | Saffron & Sage

Our immune systems are wildly beautiful and intuitive systems that work to defend us against physical, emotional, and environmental challenges or “stress”.

The immune system may seem immoveable, but in reality, it behaves, reacts, and responds to what is in and around us: our thoughts, our emotions, our environment and what we eat. Immune cells are intuitive, they learn from each time there is a “stressor.” After taking care of the threat, immune cells remember unique signals of that particular germ or “disruption” to mount a quick response in the future.

This complex system is in a constant state of becoming, just like people. Our tissues come together to form organs and bones, organs and bones come together to form our bodies, and our bodies come together to form communities.

Communities, when together, form cities, and all of our cities form a global society. We are interwoven with one another, constantly growing in depth and unity.

Uniting the mind and body into balance helps our immune system.

For me, the starting point for that balance and movement toward a therapeutic and sustainable life comes forth in three ways:

  1. Trusting the power of nutrition
  2. Eating mindfully
  3. Shopping seasonally


We must recognize nutrition as a cornerstone of our health-care system. Here is why: proteins provide the building blocks for all of our tissues and organs, skin and bones, and blood. Carbohydrates provide the fastest form of energy, usable by every cell. Fats get woven into the membrane of every cell, insulate nerves, and serve as a pre- cursor to life-sustaining hormones. Carbs, proteins & fats, are all needed!

  • Always look for things not packaged in plastic that are non-GMO and organic.
  • Shop locally at your farmers market
  • Trust the rainbow: dark green varieties such as broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, and collard greens; yellow-orange such as sweet potato, apricots, carrots and cantaloupe; red such as tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries, and red bell peppers; white such as onions, garlic, and cauliflower; and purple-blue such as red cabbage, beets, and blueberries.

Research shows that this way of eating helps treat disease & endorses a strong immune system. Eating whole foods actually works because your body can easily recognize a carrot, and it takes little energy to break it down for digestion.

Artificial foods (think, Cheetos) are made up of chemically modified and bio-unavailable ingredients. Your body will exert more energy trying to break down Cheetos only to find there are no usable nutrients. This leaves your body tired and without any materials to build your immune system.


  • Rather than meeting a friend for a sugar-laden coffee drink, meet for a brisk walk. Or go out dancing on a Saturday night instead of going out for dinner.
  • Giving thanks before a meal is not just a religious practice. Ancient cultures understood that a grateful tongue expressing a thankful heart puts the body as ease, welcoming the food as a ready to digest meal.

“It’s better to eat the wrong food with the right attitude than the right food with the wrong attitude.” —Chinese medicine proverb


Eating seasonally reconnects us to the natural pulse of life. Although living in a city like Los Angeles, we may be a bit removed from the snowstorms and heat waves, these annual cycles make us more mindful of the eternal realities of birth, growth, death, decay, and rebirth. They keep us aware of our humanity and the beauty of rhythms. The cool hibernation in winter is more restful when you have been out and about in the hot summer. The new ideas and projects we start in spring are that much more exciting because we let others die in autumn.

In winter, those parsnips & hard squashes are a treat. In summer, the peaches and nectarines are sweeter. In spring, the onions and artichokes are fresher. And autumn brings delicious persimmons and nuts. Without the sense of scarcity, there is no sense of abundance.


Come Sept 23rd we will enter Autumn; the days grow shorter and cooler and plants dry up and lose their leaves. It gets windier and the air can have a more brittle feeling.

  • Be especially mindful about staying regular in your routines: an erratic schedule will tend to throw you out of balance.
  • Eat more warm, oily, and heavy foods like soups with cabbage and squashes. Dishes with artichokes and non-GMO corn will taste amazing. Turkey is ready for consumption and most dates and nuts are in season. Olives are also in harvest at this time, so pull for that olive oil more than ever!
  • Increase your intake of foods that are sweet, sour, or salty. Kiwis, mangoes, raspberries and persimmons are great in autumn
  • Stay away from foods that are dry, light, and cold.; no longer are you eating cucumbers or peppers or berries.
  • Add warmer drinks to your diet like nut milks and teas
  • Raw honey, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, vinegar and black pepper are all great herbs and spices to integrate as well

Saffron & Sage is a social enterprise that connects communities to consciously curated products, places, practitioners, and practices.

Sarah is the creative director of Saffron & Sage, a holistic health curator & lifestyle photographer for conscious brands based in Los Angeles





Local Foods Wheel (in last photo) can be purchased at



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