30 Primal Inspirations For the Fall Season

As a native New Englander, I love fall but know it goes all too fast…. As beautiful as autumn is, I think it presents some Primal challenges. It’s darker. It’s colder. Food is generally more expensive—particularly the sensitive summer produce. We might get different cravings or be more likely to put on weight in these months. We may even feel our own inclinations toward semi-hibernation. While some of us keep our routines the same throughout the year, I know others prefer to make seasonal changes. We’re dealing with busier schedules, more stress, or less productive sleep. Or maybe we’re just interested in making some changes more in line with approximated ancestral conditions. Whatever your intention, I’ve got some Primal-inspired ideas for making the most of the fall season.

1. Take advantage of the fall hunting seasons to build some winter stores (with the proper licenses and training, of course).

2. Follow Grandma’s example and learn to can to cheaply preserve the last of this this year’s harvest.

3. Make some canned treats (e.g. jams and apple butter) to enjoy and some to give away for the coming holidays.

4. Start a windowsill indoor herb garden.

5. Try out one of those countertop lettuce growers. (Reviews, anyone?) Or, if you’re particularly ambitious, take on a larger hydroponic project.

6. Be ready to snatch up post-Thanksgiving poultry deals, or scout out some good ones now before too many people start their turkey-shopping. You can usually get good bulk deals from area farms.

7. Along those same lines, fill your freezer with the last meat shares for the year.

8. Invest in a dehydrator and go to town with all manner of veggies and fruit. Make a store of apple chips for the kids.

9. Freeze some produce items you don’t want to can or dehydrate. If you can blanch and shock, you’ll have some good greens handy for hearty winter soups and stews later.

10. While we’re on the subject of soups, don’t waste those poultry carcasses and roast remnants. Make and freeze some homemade stocks for soups, stews, and sauces. (Trust me, you’ll never buy packaged again.)

11. Interested in recalibrating your diet to seasonality? Scale back your fruit consumption. Think more along the lines of salad component than whole pieces.

12. There’s never a better time to begin an organ meat cooking repertoire. (Hint: the PB cookbooks and MDA recipe archive offer enticing recipes to get you started.)

13. Learn to love (and cook) low(er) carb root vegetables. Think mashed, scalloped, roasted, baked, or added to stews and gratins.

14. Regular neighborhood run not doing it for you anymore? Make the added effort to pick out new and inspiring places for outdoor workouts and family fun.

15. Warm up inside before heading out. The cool air will then feel especially refreshing and exhilarating.

16. Invest in clothes that will make you want to stay outside.

17. Find an indoor class or gym, or start an at-home routine for the cold and wet days when you can’t drag yourself outside.

18. Keep your thermostat on the lower side. If you’re cold, it’s a sign you need to get up and move (or break out the Snuggie).

19. Look at your social/volunteer/extended family/other obligations calendar and slash it by 20%. Go on – you know you want to.

20. Reduce dry skin by scaling back on showers and forgoing all but the most indulgent baths. Use natural oils sparingly and try forgoing chemically based lotions.

21. Although hot showers, baths, and saunas have special appeal this time of year, don’t forget the immunity-boosting effects of cold water. While a cold shower or bath immersion can do in a pinch, I find them pretty miserable. A polar dip in the ocean or the backyard pool are the way to go.

22. Feeling a cold coming on or feeling run down? In addition to some homemade broth and extra sleep, pull an IF or super low carb day.

23. Another tip if you’re fighting something off: score a last-minute massage to let go of stress and help balance out the hormonal lineup.

24. Embrace the time change this weekend by starting a morning workout or otherwise energizing routine (e.g. gentle yoga or brisk walk with the dog). If your schedule allows you to enjoy the first morning light, all the better.

25. Shift weekend chores and errands to free up precious midday hours for unbridled sun and fun outside.

26. Beg, borrow, or steal away if you can in order to get outside at midday during the week. Don’t underestimate the power of even a few minutes of sun and natural light.

27. Remember that circadian rhythms are impacted by all manner of cues – including food intake. Do an earlier dinner if you can, or eat a bigger lunch and scale down dinner during the darker months.

28. Resist the tendency to stay up late by shutting down the T.V. and other technology at least an hour before bedtime. If you have to work or just can’t forgo a must-see program, invest in some nifty yellow glasses to neutralize the sleep-zapping blue light.

29. Settle into more natural seasonal and sleep rhythms by dimming the lamps or breaking out the candles a little earlier in the evening.

30. It’s never too early to begin thinking about a Primal Thanksgiving strategy! More on that later….

Do you have your own personal fall challenges? What practices do you feel inspired toward this time of year?

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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