How to ebb and flow with the seasons, by Audrey Krafft
For some, fall is a magical and beautiful season that’s highly anticipated. For others, the cooler and shorter days can be a little depressing and hard to adjust. Whatever camp you fall into, the change of seasons will likely throw you off your routine and the best way to counter this is to have a plan. Here are a few ways to adjust to a new season and the start of the holidays.
Go to bed earlier. The shorter days can make us feel like we’re racing the clock to get everything done. Instead of fighting nature, surrender to the process and take this opportunity to get some much-needed extra sleep. When the days become shorter, the decrease in sunlight exposure means that our “brain produces more of a hormone called melatonin, which makes you sleepy,” according to the National Health Service.
BTW: We aren’t the only ones whose bodies tell us to rest during fall and winter. Hens may stop or slow down egg production, due to the lack of daylight and cooler temperatures, which they take as a cue to rest! If I’ve learned anything from living on a farm, it’s to follow what the animals do. They are so much more intuitive and connected to nature.
Switch salads for stews. If you associate a lean body with salads, think again. Our bodies have a really hard time digesting raw vegetables, namely goitrogens like kale, collard greens, broccoli and cauliflower, which can wreak havoc on our thyroid, but even more so in cold weather because our bodies have to work extra hard to digest them. Stews are an awesome way to get lots of nourishing, seasonal veggies into our diets, and if you start the Crockpot in the morning, dinner will be ready when you get home!
According to Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac., “if someone wants to have green smoothies, one thing you can do to at least reduce somewhat the potential goitrogenic effect of them is to steam the greens first.” And if putting hot, steamed vegetables into your smoothie grosses you out, put them in the freezer to blend up later!
Adjust your outdoor time. If you love your early morning or after dinner walks, you might not reap the same benefits this time of year. Getting a vitamin D dose from the sun is so important for our health, physically and mentally. So, if you can, take your walk at lunch time, which will also serve as a boost of energy to get you through the afternoon slump.
Did you know that “Despite its name, vitamin D is not a vitamin, but a prohormone, or precursor of a hormone,” according to Medical News Today?
Plan your treat days. ‘Tis the season for sweets, treats and more sweets, but instead of fearing them, or indulging from now until New Year’s Day, find a balance. Give yourself a limit and be realistic about how much sweetness your system can handle without experiencing negative repercussions. Another great option is to seek out healthy alternatives, like Lily’s stevia sweetened chocolate or Lakanto’s endless variety of monk fruit sweetened treats. You can also get creative and make your own healthy alternatives to your seasonal favorites. However you choose to do fall, have a plan that respects you, your body and allows you to have fun along the way.
Audrey Krafft and her husband run a farm in Kenwood. Visit Audreykrafft.com, for some delicious recipes made without gluten, grains, dairy or sugar.
Photos by Diane Askew