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Shifting with the seasons

This morning felt like the first true day of autumn – the air was cold and crisp, more layers required to walk the dogs, and the body wants 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 the body transition into colder months.

Making slight changes to what you’re eating can feel nourishing as well. Because the 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 energy 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. 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 transitional season. Going to bed half an hour earlier to ensure more rest allows extra time for deeper renewal. Energetically, 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, and 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 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.

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 is a naturopathic doctor at Pura Vida Natural Healthcare in Durango. She can be reached at 426-1684 or www.puravidahealthcare.com.