If you stop to think about it, we feel most in tune with nature’s rhythms when seasons change. In spring, we feel lighter and more energized. In fall, we relish snuggling into soft sweaters and eating comfort foods. But these are the times, says Angela Wright, Nature’s Fare Holistic Nutritional Consultant, when it’s important to pay attention.
“Like everything else in nature,” she explains, “we have different stages of growth and hibernation. Our bodies respond to changes in weather, and light and temperature affect our bodies’ ability to function, heal, and recover. If we don’t go with the seasonal flow, our digestion, mood, and ability to stay healthy are affected. Winter is recovery time: slow down, look after yourself.”
Here are Angela’s top three tips to make your seasonal shift healthy:
1. Warm up from the inside out
Agni—in Ayurvedic medicine—is the Sanskrit term for the “digestive fire” that turns on our digestive juices, to break down food, absorb what we need, and eliminate the rest. If that fire is weakened, digestion is weakened and toxins are produced and stored in our body.
- Eat less raw food. Physically it takes a lot of energy to warm up and digest food; you need that heat to warm your body.
- Tip: If you drink raw, green smoothies for breakfast, instead of using frozen fruit or veggies, defrost them the night before to warm them to room temperature.
- Eat seasonally. We are designed to function at our best when we eat with the local seasons—no strawberries in January! Check out a farmer’s market for ideas, and indulge in root vegetables, winter squash, and kale. They take longer to break down and keep our blood sugar stable.
- Add probiotics, like sauerkraut, to produce beneficial enzymes.
2. Make a supplemental shift*
*Always check with your doctor or a qualified nutritionist before taking any supplements, especially if you take prescribed medications or are pregnant.
- Angela’s essentials:
Vitamin D: Most people, in this latitude, are deficient, especially if you’re not getting a daily dose of sun, so it’s a good idea to start taking it now, rather than when you are depleted. The recommended daily amount for the average adult is 2,000 to 4,000 IUs.
- Vitamin C: Especially important if you’re not eating as many fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Echinacea: Take every day during flu season, to help adrenal glands stay strong, or in tea or tincture form at the slightest niggle of a cold.
3. Chase the Blues
A proactive approach is wise for those who feel the winter blues.
- Make sleep a priority. Allow your body to heal and recover from the day before, and do proactive ‘housekeeping’ to clean damaged cells and viruses. Otherwise our bodies stay overwhelmed, in reactive mode, leaving us vulnerable to illness and depression.
- Go out first thing in the morning. Even when it’s not sunny, the light will talk to your pineal gland, a producer and regulator of hormones, including melatonin, which plays a role in regulating sleep patterns.
- Sign up for a class to exercise, stimulate your brain, and give you a reason to go out and be social.
- Plan a holiday to a tropical destination, or ski, snowboard, or snowshoe above the cloud cover.
Getting sick is a great way to prime your immune system, but we must give it the energy, time, and resources to recover quickly. When you do have a cold or flu, help to show it out with:
Herbal immune booster staples
Echinacea, oil of oregano, and elderberry. Make sure you have these on hand so you can take at the first inkling of a sniffle.
Try soothing chamomile or calendula, and your favourite combinations of ginger, sage, oregano, rosemary, turmeric, or lemon, with prebiotic raw, local honey.
Bone, mushroom or seaweed broth, or cabbage juice
All are high in nutrients and amino acid l-glutamine, used by our digestive tract cells for fuel and healing.
Angela Wright, BSC, CNP, RNCP is one of Nature’s Fare Markets’ Nutritionists who provides complimentary one-on-one nutrition consultations in our White Rock and Langley stores. Since entering the field of Holistic Nutrition in 2005, she has run a private practice, worked in supportive cancer care, and taught at a leading private nutrition college. Check out the appointment schedule on page four and book your free appointment in-store today or online at naturesfare.com. Learn more: alignnutrition.com