As the summer winds down and nights wander in with cool breezes our bodies call out for different things to keep healthy and strong. Where the heat of the blazing summer sun was once enough to call forth the power of our immunity, without its penetrating rays staying strong in the sky, we require a bit more to support the seasonal transition into fall that leads the way to winter's doorway. Here are some essential nutrition tips for fall-transition and beyond.
1. Start with a Glass of Warm Water
After leaving the fires of summer, moving into the fall and winter – which are more governed by the wind/air element – it is powerful and soothing to add a bit of warmth to the system first thing in the morning to get everything going. Warm water alone is enough to stoke the digestive fires and move stagnant materials in the colon on their way. Adding a bit of lemon juice and raw honey will also stimulate proper PH and enzymatic functions.
2. Salt Your Bath
Adding a bit of Himalayan Pink Salt into a nice warm bath along with a scoop of Epsom Salts and a few drops of lavender oil will gently heat the body and encourage a detox of the system while giving much needed magnesium to tissues which promote relaxation and a calm disposition – all elements which assist the body in not taking on stress as the seasons change.
Sound is a powerful tool we have at our fingertips which allows us to instantly change the frequency of our bodies and minds. By plugging the ears and gently humming or ommm-ing the body's vibrational frequency is tuned, organs are brought into harmony and cells are encouraged to work optimally. The humming sound is called “Brahmari mudra” in yoga and literally helps to calm the heart and balance the immune system. Using toning through the seasonal transition can ensure the body makes a smooth switch from summer into the cooler temperatures and more stressful environment of fall and wintertime.
4. Movement is Key
By keeping the body mobile through running, walking, dance, yoga or some other means, the immune system is supported by moving the lymph and ensuring proper function of all the endocrine glands. Movement is also the key to a graceful transition as our bodies can find the subtle harmony in the atmosphere that exists behind mind, emotion and all the hustle-bustle. There is a silent dance happening behind the scenes at all times, dictating the movement of the planets, the tide and the seasonal transitions. By getting in-tune with this dance through moving our own bodies we may receive intuitive guidance on how best to support our bodies in this change.
5. Warm and Sweet
In the Ayurvedic tradition it is known that summer is high in Pitta (the fire element) and fall and winter are high in Vata (space and air). In order to appease the coolness that comes with fall, sweet foods, along with warming foods and spices, are recommended such as heated grains, soups and heavy sweets such as rice pudding. Spices like ginger, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon and cloves help warm the body and ward off colds and flu. Sweet, heavy fruits such as bananas, cherries, peaches, grapes, melons and mango are best. As the coolness of fall finds its way to our seats, let the warm and the sweet be our bodily treat.
6. Intestinal Cleanse a Good Idea
According to Chinese Traditional Medicine, late summer rules the stomach and early fall the large intestine. This means the transitional months that turn summer to autumn are when these organs are most active and it is the best time to cleanse them. How do we do it?
Start with a gentle dose of clarified butter everyday, also known as ghee. In the Ayurvedic tradition it is known that ghee contains butyric acid, a critical enzyme to help the stomach and the intestines do their job. Without butyric acid, inflammatory conditions develop. So, it's a good place to start. Next, add in some raw salads (you can drizzle the ghee on top) with some various sprouts and seeds to add some additional fiber to your diet. Hearty grains are great for cleansing and the avoidance of white flours, white sugar and pastas is of significant import.
During the seasonal transition, cutting back on red meats and adding fresh, lightly steamed or warmed veggies into your diet, along with some cleansing herbs such as: ginger, fennel, peppermint, slippery elm and turkey rhubarb is a good place to begin. You can also find intestinal cleansing formulas at your local health food store containing a bit stronger herbs for the colon such as Cascara Sagrada or Senna. As a beginner, I would start with Cascara Sagrada, as it is milder. An additional dose of fiber such as chia seeds, flax seeds and apples really help to soothe and move the colon.
7. Get on beat with the Circadian Rhythm
It's so easy to leave the lights on and stay up late in this age of technology and possibility, but what is it doing to our natural rhythm? And thereby, our ability to maintain natural immunity? It's getting a bit later in the year, but not too late for a camping trip. Sleeping out under the stars for even two nights helps to reset your body's natural clocks. Back in the city, try turning the lights down or off when the sun goes down to encourage everyone into bed earlier. Use candles instead of overheads and get up with the sun! This way, as winter approaches, it becomes more natural for your body to stay in harmony with nature and tell you when there is imbalance on its way.
8. Preparation equals Avoidance
Have you ever noticed that when you are prepared for something, like a natural disaster, a dramatic event or a storm, it doesn't happen? Murphy's law applies. The same is true for winter, and at the very best – getting prepared means you are ready if sickness starts to head your way.
I like to prepare by putting together an amazing natural remedy that can ward off any tricky body invader and make colds and flu into a distant memory of the past. Here's the simple recipe I gleaned through Dr. Christopher's herbal medicine school: The School of Natural Healing.
plus – several bottles of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (with the Mother)
Fill a Mason jar (choose your size) halfway with Apple Cider Vinegar.
Chop or send through a food processor: Cayenne, Onion, Garlic, Horse Radish and Ginger.
Add them to the Mason jar and cover with more ACV until you reach about 1 inch from the top of the jar. Place lid on and store in a dark, cool place for at least 2 weeks (1 month if you want a really strong batch). I like to go from moon to moon – so New Moon to New Moon or Full Moon to Full Moon.
Shake the bottle several times per day to help extract the properties into the vinegar.
At the end of the time period, strain through a cloth and place in bottles. This formula will keep for 2 years unrefrigerated. Use about 1 tsp- 3 tsps at a time at first onset of a cold/flu.
Ease fall transition months by incorporating as many of the above ideas into your regimen for greater health and a more fluid dance into the vernal months to come. By coming into alignment with the changes at hand, we can find joy and fulfillment in how the seasons transition and avoid the problems that may arise by resisting the natural flow of life.
PostiveHealth.com: Chinese Medicine Calendar:
Mapi.com: Ayurvedic seasons: