Yes, yes, I know. I’m getting in somewhat under the wire here. For those of you in the Northeastern U.S. who got an early helping of winter this weekend, you have my sympathies. 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 – for us moderns as it undoubtedly did for our ancestors. 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. Our motivations vary. We want to save money or work with what’s more readily available. We know ourselves and understand that we need to switch out the summer workout to stay in shape during the more inclement months. 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 hacks 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).
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 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.)
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.
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.
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.
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 help keep you healthy and happily Primal this season? Share your thoughts and feedback with everyone. Hope you’re all having a great week!