This morning felt like the first true day of autumn – the air was cold and crisp, more layers were required to walk the dogs, and my body wanted warmer foods for breakfast. This shift of season can be a common time to feel run down or have some light symptoms like sniffles or a raspy throat. So, I always think about supporting my immune system to help with the transition into colder months.
Making slight changes to what you’re eating can feel nourishing as well. Because Fall is often cool and dry, focusing on warm, moist foods can create a positive shift. Using spices like cayenne, ginger, pepper and cinnamon can bring a heating energetic as well. Letting go of raw foods like salads will also support digestion and balanced energy. Add roasted veggies, warm grains, or cooked protein to balance the cooling nature of raw foods if you must have them. I love to switch to bone broth with veggie bouillon for breakfast and add immune-supportive mushroom powder for an extra shot of plant-based resources.
Consider making some subtle lifestyle changes to support this transition season. Going to bed half an hour earlier to ensure more rest allows extra time for deeper renewal. Look to the trees that are bringing their energy inward – less focused on production and more oriented towards conserving energy for the winter ahead. What projects can you wind down? What can you say “no” to? How can you create more white space on your calendar? What resources can you gather now to support you through the winter?
Practicing hydrotherapy (the therapeutic use of hot and cold water) becomes more important. Ending your shower with cold water for 30-60 seconds or soaking in a hot tub followed by a cold plunge are two easily accessible options to get that lymph flowing and T cells more activated. It is important to remember to warm your body before using cold water so that you don’t get chilled. Ending with cold water supports the most circulation into your core, allowing your internal organs to optimally benefit from this practice.
I take in herbs, tinctures, and teas that support not just my immune system, but my nervous system as well (since we know they are so intertwined that supporting one always enhances the other!). Melissa officinalis (aka Lemon Balm) is one of my favorites and can be grown inside in a pot. This plant is an excellent anti-viral and is also very soothing to the nervous system. Plus, it has a subtle citrus flavor that is brightening to the spirit and the palate.
During this season, invite your body to slow down and savor each moment. Drink in the sunshine, notice your pace, and allow more time for rest and rejuvenation.
BONUS: Here’s my Fall smoothie adaptation – I don’t use any frozen fruits and do add cinnamon to bring a warming aspect.
- 4 leaves of kale, de-veined
- 1 banana
- 1-2 tablespoons almond butter
- Milk of choice (I like oat or almond)
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- Cinnamon to taste
- Blend as you like and enjoy!
Nicola Dehlinger, ND, graduated from SCNM. Dr. Nicola sees clients from around the world in her naturopathic medical practice, Pura Vida Natural Healthcare, in Durango, CO. She is an expert in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. She is able to minimize supplements and medications as her patients become empowered to heal themselves. In addition to seeing clients, Dr. Nicola leads group and private retreats. She teaches a variety of online and in-person classes. In her free time, you can find Dr. Nicola in the mountains or the kitchen, enjoying time with her husband, son, and dogs. Website: www.puravidahealthcare.com