As a native New Englander, I love fall, but I think it presents some Primal challenges.
It’s darker. It’s colder. That’s good for sleeping perhaps, but early morning or late evening workouts? Forget about it. The temptation to burrow under a cozy blanket becomes harder and harder to resist.
Eating Primally is arguably easiest and most expedient in the summer, too. You can always whip up a big-ass salad with fresh and abundant summer produce. Cooler weather has you craving more comfort food and slower cooking.
As the holidays loom, schedules fill up, budgets get stretched, and stress skyrockets.
At the same time, fall and the coming winter present unique opportunities to adapt your Primal lifestyle with different schedules, alternate forms of exercise, and seasonal eating.A lot of people count autumn as their favorite time of year for good reason.
In the spirit of embracing everything the fall has to offer, here are 20 Primal-inspired ideas for making the most of the season.
20 Primal Ways to Be Healthy and Happy This Fall
1. Take advantage of the change of season to shake up your workout routine. Now that it’s not so hot, take indoor workouts outdoors. Explore new trails. Try a new fitness class or activity. Is this the year you finally try snowshoeing or rucking?
3. Interested in recalibrating your diet seasonally? Scale back your fruit consumption and make the most out of the produce that is in season in the fall and winter. Find recipes that utilize low(er)-carb squashes and root vegetables.
4. Use the fall hunting seasons to build some winter stores (with the proper licenses and training, of course).
5. Follow Grandma’s example and learn to preserve the last of this year’s harvest by canning, freezing, fermenting, or dehydrating. Fill your stores now and enjoy the bounty all winter.
6. While you’re at it, make some canned treats like jams and apple butter to enjoy yourself and give away for the coming holidays.
7. Start a winter garden. Many hearty greens and cruciferous vegetables thrive in cooler weather. Check your local gardening zone to see what plants are best.
8. If that’s too ambitious, start a windowsill indoor herb garden.
9. Make a few big batches of soups and chili. Freeze in individual serving sizes (Souper Cubes® are perfect for this) so you can enjoy them all winter—or deliver to neighbors who are under the weather to do good in your community.
10. While we’re on the subject of soups, don’t waste those poultry carcasses and roast remnants. Make and freeze some homemade chicken or beef bone broth for soups, stews, and sauces. (Once you make your own, you’ll never want to buy packaged again.)
11. Be ready to snatch up post-Thanksgiving turkey deals. Freeze the birds and then have homemade turkey stock all winter long.
12. As the sun becomes less abundant, double down on midday sun exposure. Shift weekend chores and errands to free up precious hours for unbridled sun and fun outside. Don’t underestimate the power of even a few minutes of sun and natural light.
15. Make like a bear and prepare to hibernate. Settle into more natural seasonal sleep rhythms by going to to bed earlier and sleeping a little later in harmony with the longer nights.
16. As the sun sets earlier, be more diligent about limiting your exposure to artificial light after dark. Dim lamps or break out the candles a little sooner in the evening. Shut down the TV and put your phone on the charger 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. It’s never too early to begin planning for the holidays. This means thinking about your holiday dinner menu, sure but it also means setting healthy boundaries with your loved ones to hopefully circumvent the same old fights and uncomfortable conversations that seem to occur year after year.
20. The holidays are the season of overcommitting. Look at your social/extended family/other obligations calendar and slash it by 20 percent. Go on—you know you want to!
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.