SUN SHIFT

The autumnal equinox arrives this month on Thursday, September 22. I have already become aware of the subtle shift in sunlight that heralds autumn. Something about the light, a certain flavor to the air, feels like a cozy sweater to me. Summer can often feel intense with its heat and sizzle. Transition seasons, like fall (and spring), offer a refreshing shift. The autumnal equinox is celebrated in many cultures as a harvest festival (think Oktoberfest and Mabon). May we celebrate the bounty of our growing season as it comes to a close.

This month I offer a small cornucopia of health and wellness: some of the latest research on the benefits of walking for knee osteoarthritis, a delicious poached chicken and apple chutney recipe, my latest exercise video (Down Dog Variations), everything you might want to know about September’s birthstone–sapphire–from my Etsy store (Made With Mantra Shop), and my current teaching schedule (I’m taking a break at the beginning of October!)

In Health & Wellness,
Claudia

“And the yellow sunflower by the brook, in autumn beauty stood.”
–William Cullen Bryant

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, analyzed a nested group of participant data, in a large community based multi-year study of 1,212 participants aged 50 and older who had osteoarthritis. Those who reported walking for exercise had a 40% lower chance of new or frequent pain, when compared with non-walkers. This supports the possibility that walking for exercise is beneficial in preventing the onset of knee pain. According to the researchers, it may also slow down the worsening of internal knee joint damage from osteoarthritis. Find this research in Arthritis & Rheumatology (2022; doi:10.1002/art.42241).

POACHED CHICKEN & APPLE CHUTNEY

Crispy fall apples are loaded with polyphenol antioxidants and soluble fiber pectin–both beneficial in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors. Try this sweet and savory dish for both its flavor and heart healthy benefits.

  • 3 medium sized apples, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs or dried plums
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 4, 6 oz chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Combine apples, figs or plums, shallot, honey, thyme, mustard seeds, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon zest in a medium-sized saucepan. Place over medium heat until apples begin to sizzle. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes, or until apples have softened. To poach chicken, place breasts and salt in a pot large enough that they lie flat in one layer, then add enough water to completely cover the meat by about 1 inch. Bring water to a very slight simmer with just a few bubbles breaking the surface, reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until meat is cooked through. Slice chicken breasts, and server topped with the apple chutney. Makes 4 servings.

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