Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
2 Nov

30 Primal Hacks for the Fall Season

autumnYes, 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).

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 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 help keep you healthy and happily Primal this season? Share your thoughts and feedback with everyone. Hope you’re all having a great week!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Great tips! Just started my Primal journey on Monday and already feeling leaner..stomach is flatter and my asthma symptoms seems to be disappearing..Could it really be grains that cause these issues??? Time will tell!

    Cheryl wrote on November 2nd, 2011
    • My asthma symptoms are better from Primal eating as well. Used to take 250 of Flovent 2x daily. I don’t need Flovent at all anymore!!! I still take Singulair, but I am hoping to wean off of it someday.

      sarah wrote on November 2nd, 2011
      • Thanks for sharing! All last week (prior to starting this journey)my asthma was bad, trouble sleeping and the inhaler wasn’t helping. Much better since Monday:)

        Cheryl wrote on November 3rd, 2011
  2. I love the change in seasons and this lists makes me even more excited!!! There are a lot on here that I already do but at the same time there’s a lot on here I NEED to do/change! Here’s to fall and change!!!

    Kathleen wrote on November 2nd, 2011
  3. Great tips, keep it up!

    Steve wrote on November 2nd, 2011
  4. I know region specific tips are difficult, but any advice for those of us who live in the grey regions of the world? Seattle doesn’t see sun for a long time- afternoon or any other. Besides upping the vitamin D through fish consumption and good lard, what are our options? (I’m especially a fan of any high tech fixes!)

    Emily wrote on November 3rd, 2011
  5. Hunting is illegal in the UK, unfortunately…I imagine the look on my vegan mum’s face if she heard I’ve been hunting, haha!

    As far as canning goes, my gran is the all-round expert, but she’s also a diehard carb addict so I suppose she’d cover everything in sugar. I suppose it is possible to make jam w/o sugar – St. Dalfour do it; I’m sure fruit has enough sugar of its own to make jam…never heard of apple butter…but sounds awesome!

    My gym has a spa so I go for a regular deep-tissue which works wonders.

    I’m not really sure about what Mark’s take on herbal supplements is, but I take Garlic & Propolis as natural antibiotics & immune boosters. 4 caps of both garlic & propolis took care of a nasty gum infection I had – my dentist was rather abashed that I didn’t need the penicillin. :-)

    My holiday strategy is always stick to my guns. I don’t even crave carbs anymore (except roasted butternut squash, perhaps) and I just cant afford to get out of shape just because everyone else is guzzling concentrated sugar all day long.

    Great post Mark! *Goes off to make apple butter*

    Milla wrote on November 3rd, 2011
  6. Making and freezing lots of chicken and turkey stock!

    I also want to mention that aminos, particularly, L-Glutamine, are AMAZING for cravings.

    Thanks for another wonderful, informative post, Mark. =)

    – Jennifer

    Jennifer Minar-Jaynes wrote on November 3rd, 2011
  7. I read every single one of these comments, thanks everyone! I’m feeling better about the upcoming cold months.

    Anne wrote on November 3rd, 2011
  8. Great job addressing the primal challenges in th fall!

    Justin wrote on November 3rd, 2011
  9. Hibernation mode has kicked in early this year. All I want to do is sleep. Been trying to keep active and go outside (really nice here in central New York today) but nap-time beckons . . . any thoughts?

    Brian Clasby wrote on November 3rd, 2011
  10. I love all of these tips! Great post, Mark!

    Gotta pass this one on to a few people.

    Chris wrote on November 4th, 2011
  11. Love this! This is a great list for the holidays – I am going to print it out and also share it with friends/family!

    Becca/BreakingMuscle.com wrote on November 4th, 2011
  12. I live in Alaska and it’s normal to have below zero weather everyday beginning Late October to end of March. I get my fat storage for sure these months what with all the party’s and cooking everyone paricipates in all winter just to keep sane!! I need some good advice on how to keep primal a reality way up here in the ice!!

    Athena May wrote on November 5th, 2011
  13. I love this time of the year in Chicago. Good food, cold weather, and daily ice showers. The water in Lake Michigan is around 49-52 degrees this time of the year, and plummets to freezing by late December. During the course of my pre sun up workouts, and following a series of sprints on the beach, and a bare foot nature run through the preserve, there’s nothing more exhilarating then a cold water plunge into the lake. I must confess, I’ve been taking cold water showers since I was in high school (hot water didn’t exist, and showers after track we’re required.) and I now consider cold water, actually icy water a gift from the gods. I have to advocate for cold water and it’s ability to prevent colds since I very rarely get sick, and when I do, it’s mild and short lived. So bring on the cold weather, the seasonal meat eating, the extra hour of sleep, and frigid waters of Decemberrrrrrr!

    Paleobunga wrote on November 7th, 2011
  14. I embrace the use of a Neti Pot!

    Melissa wrote on November 26th, 2011

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