On the weekend we ordered some native plants and trees for our garden as well as seeds and seedlings for our winter vegie crop (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, parsnips, carrots, winter greens and peas). The expert down at the nursery told us that now is the perfect time to plant because we’ve had some great rain and there’s still enough warmth in the air and soil for the plants to establish their root systems before Winter. If we leave it too late, when the warmth is all gone, then they won’t get a chance to establish themselves before the winter cold sets in. So they won’t have established a strong base for the vigorous growing season in Spring. And then we’ll be left with weak plants prone to attack and disease.
And so it is the same with us. If we don’t use these Autumn months to establish and maintain good health and good habits and nourish our immune and nervous systems, then our body may become exposed, weakened and prone to attack when the winter viruses emerge.
So now is the perfect time to prepare ourselves for winter
Have you noticed how easy it is to “slack off” a bit? We rationalise and justify our decisions when we’re faced with the first sign of rain, wind, cooler weather. We give in to temptation and turn off the alarm, snuggle back under the covers and sneak some extra sleeping time.
We’ve noticed lately that the usual early-morning “throng” down at Eastern Beach has thinned. The die-hard bootcamps have packed up and gone into hibernation for winter. Only to come back next Spring to desperately try to catch-up on a whole Winter of in-activity. What chance have we got of maintaining healthy habits in winter if we rationalise our actions at the start of Autumn?
It’s no way to maintain a healthy, optimal lifestyle. The daily choices we make now and the mindset we embrace will optimally reflect in a quality life and a happier life. The change of seasons affects us all differently but most of us have a tendency to gain a few kilos, have lower energy levels and suffer from at least one viral infection in the cooler months. Here are 5 positive steps to do now to empower you to take back control of your health
Five Positive things to do this Autumn
1.Restock the Pantry with Seasonal Foods and Start Eating Well
Remove all the festive foods (they will not serve your goal) and restock with new seasonal foods – those ones that are nutrient rich and will feed and nurture your body and keep you satisfied. As the seasons change, so should our food and cooking methods. Experiment with recipes for light soups, curries, risottos and warm salads – all nourishing meals for the transition from warmer months to cooler months.
Fruit in season in early Autumn (March/April) include apples, blackberries, figs, feijoas, grapes, honeydew, limes, mandarins, valencia oranges, passionfruit, pears, persimmon, plums, pomegranates, quinces, raspberries, rhubarb, rockmelons, strawberries, watermelons.
Autumn vegetables (delicious roasted and in wonderfully warming soups) include asian greens, beetroot, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, capsicums, carrots, celeriac, celery, cauliflower, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, parsnip, peas, potato, pumpkin shallots, silverbeet, spinach, swede, sweet corn, turnip, chicory, zucchini, swede.
Nuts in season now include chestnuts and pistachios.
2.Preserve Excess Fruit
With fruit trees laden with fruit and vegie patches bursting at the seams with excess bounty it’s time to get out those the fowlers vacola jars and start preserving for winter. Tomato sauces, jams, chutneys and stewing or poaching fruit to freeze is a very satisfying way to spend a weekend – especially if the produce comes from your own backyard. Our quince tree is laden and my Dad makes the best quince jelly. This year when I drop off our quinces to him I’m going to hang around and make a batch with him… nothing like learning the secrets from the expert!
3. Maintain or Start Daily Exercise regime
Actually schedule it into your diary and make it a Priority. This is so important to keep mood and mental health balanced as we adapt to a change of seasons. In line with current health recommendations we are all advised to undertake a minimum of thirty minutes of exercise or 10,000 steps most days of the week. Gentle to brisk walking is recommended because it is a convenient mild form of training. It carries a low risk of injury. It is accessible to everyone and we can walk at a self-selected comfortable pace. However dancing, biking, golfing, swimming etc are also fantastic forms of exercise. The trick is to find what suits you and do it!
For those who have already been walking or exercising regularly you have probably found that you get fit relatively quickly. So the trick is to consistently increase your exercise intensity and frequency to maintain the training effect. A great way to do this is to join forces with a friend who has the same motivation as you. Walking together is not only enjoyable but it keeps you accountable – no one likes to let friends down, so you make the extra effort to meet and walk as planned – and from experience you are always glad you did.
4.The Power of Supplementation
Today’s lifestyle brings with it many unique challenges our parents and grandparents weren’t necessarily exposed to. The abundance of chemicals we are exposed to (artificial fertilisers, pesticides, colourings, preservatives, plastics, radiation, pollution) coupled with our ‘fast-paced’ lifestyles which cause our body’s to produce excess stress hormones can put enormous stress on our immune system and our quality of life. Signs of lowered vitality include tiredness, sluggishness and anxiety, digestive problems, weight gain, poor sleep, increased anxiety and lowered mood. Supplementation can support our body’s immune system and nervous system to not only combat the negative side-effects of modern-day living but to help us live optimally.
My 4 Top Tonics to use this Autumn
a) Astragalus membranaceus
Astragalus is a major herb prescribed in Traditional Chinese Medicine for strengthening the immune system and also has the added benefit of being a potent energy tonic and powerful antioxidant.
There are proven strains of gut flora that boost resistance to infection. And considering our gut is responsible for 75% of our immunity it make sense to have correctly balanced flora.
Withania is an Ayurvedic herb (traditional Indian) and one of my favourites for stress and debility. And considering stress compromises our immune system it is important to get support in times of need.
Rhodiola is a ‘cutting-edge’ herb traditionally used in Russian Traditional Medicine. It is an adaptogen and helps the body to maintain normal mental and physical performance during periods of elevated stress. It supports the body by being very rejuvenating and restorative and helps it adapt to the changes of our busy everyday life.
5.Resolve to Relax and Have some Fun
When was the last time you had fun? Do you remember the things you used to do to have fun? Isn’t it funny how life gets just so busy that we forget about our hobbies and the things we used to do for pure enjoyment. They tend to be buried in a past life.
It is time to schedule daily ‘time-outs’ for relaxation and fun stuff. It may, for some, take a little time and effort just remembering the things you used to do for fun. But it is well worth thinking about. Living a balanced life between work and play has a huge impact on our health, our vitality, our longevity and our happiness.
“Because it’s Not a Rehearsal”
©2016 Live Better Naturally Pty Ltd