This post was written by Heinen’s partner, Halle Snavely.
Fall is a beautiful time of the year full of color, warm, cozy clothes and comfort food. While it is a season that many people relish, it’s also a transitional time that can be tough on our bodies. The colder weather can bring about fatigue, digestive changes, dry skin and a general need for more rest. Integrating a few simple changes to your routine can help your body adapt to the transition.
Here are a few go-to tricks for easing your way into the fall season:
1. Load Up on Fall Veggies
Fall is known as the harvest season, and its full of hearty greens and colorful cruciferous and root veggies that your digestive system loves! Some favorites are winter squash (especially delicata), Brussels sprouts, collard greens, cabbage, apples, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic. During this time of year, you want to load up on veggies that support the immune system, so anything with beta-carotene, like squash and carrots, alliums, greens, cruciferous and citrus will do your body good!
2. Cleanse Your Fridge and Pantry in Preparation for Winter
Back in the day, the harvest season was perhaps the most important time of year because it was when people stocked up on veggies for the winter. While we don’t need to worry about rationing our food anymore, keeping your fridge and pantry fully stocked means you always have a meal on hand. Load your pantry with canned beans and lentils, nuts, grains like rice, quinoa and pasta, canned or jarred sauces, coconut milk and stocks. Keep your freezer packed with frozen meats and veggies, too. This way, you have everything you need for the perfect comfort food meal.
3. Make Your Own Bone Broth
There really is nothing better than homemade bone broth, and it is the perfect ingredient to boost your immune system and soothe your digestive system in preparation for winter. It’s also surprisingly easy to make.
- Bones from about 4 chicken carcasses, around 7 lbs. (use bones from rotisserie chickens if you don’t regularly roast whole chickens)
- 7 quarts water, or enough to fully cover everything in the pot
- 3 onions, unpeeled and quartered
- 3 carrots, halved crosswise
- 3 celery stalks, halved crosswise
- 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- A handful of thyme sprigs
- A handful of parsley sprigs
- 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
- Add everything but the vinegar to a large stock pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn down to a simmer. Skim any foam that rises to the top (you might need to do this several times), then add the vinegar. This helps to draw nutrients and minerals from the bones into the stock. Simmer, uncovered, for 6-8 hours.
- Keep an eye on it to make sure it stays at a simmer. If the stock boils, the bubbles will recirculate the fat that rises to the top of the stock, which causes the stock to emulsify and creates a muddy flavor. When the stock is ready, strain it through a fine mesh sieve and cool in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, scrape the fat that rises to the top and it is ready to use. If freezing, divide the stock into smaller containers and stick in the freezer. This stock can be refrigerated for up to 5 days and saved in the freezer for up to 3 months. Use the same recipe with beef bones instead of chicken, or make a veggie stock with any veggies you have on hand!
4. Take Care of Your Skin
Fall can be tough on our skin as the humidity disappears. Try adding a thicker lotion or a face oil into your routine to make sure your skin gets the moisture it needs. Swell Skincare makes a great face oil that is super moisturizing and full of natural oils that nourish your skin. Your hands can also get super dry around this time of year. Dr. Bronner’s hand and body lotion is a great solution. It’s nice and thin, so it’s easier for your skin to absorb all those moisturizing oils. Layering oils is a great way to keep my face and hands moisturized.
5. Revamp Your Exercise Routine
As the weather gets cooler, we find ourselves working out indoors more. Try focusing on yoga and strength training in the fall and winter, but still make sure to get that cardio in with some hikes in the Metroparks every once in a while.
6. Get Some Fresh Air
The fall season is a wonderful time to be outside and enjoy the beautiful colors, seasonal smells and a nice crisp fall breeze. According to Zach Bush MD, spending time outside and getting fresh air is the single most important thing for creating a healthy microbiome, even more so than eating fermented foods or taking probiotics.
7. Find a Creative Outlet
When colder weather hits and we spend more time indoors, it’s easy to plop down on the couch and binge Netflix. Challenge yourself to find creative ways to unwind. Read a book, do a puzzle, buy an adult coloring book or start journaling. Settling into a creative habit during the fall helps alleviate cabin fever once winter sets in.