Autumn is our last season of abundance before the sparseness of winter. Autumn is full of ripe fruits, nuts and vegetables that we both eat and store in preparation for the winter ahead. Autumn gives us some glorious moments of warmth and sun to be enjoyed. It is a time to slowly transition from light, summer foods, to warming dishes such as soups, casseroles and stews. It is also a time to start some supplements in order to have an healthy immune system during winter.
As a very basic package, it is worth introducing a good dose of Vitamin C (it is no coincidence that winter is the season of citrus fruits!), Vitamin D3, Zinc, Magnesium, and a little Selenium.
We make Vitamin D from the sun. When we were hunter gatherers, we were closer to the equator and outdoors all day – so we had a constant supply of Vitamin D. In a UK winter, we are fully dressed and indoors most of the time, hence a supplement is essential.
There is also lot to be said for our previous generations who told us to wrap up in winter. Scarves, hats and layers. In modern days we rely on central heating, but turning the heating down a notch and putting on an extra jumper is good for us.
Although the days are far shorter. It is still vital to get outdoor light exposure in the morning. You may say, there is no light! But even on a cloudy, rainy winter day, the outside light is far brighter and better for you than indoor artificial light and it is crucial in setting your sleep pattern.
If you are into the habit of grounding (standing/walking barefoot on the grass or other natural surface) you may find this too difficult during winter. As alternatives, you can simply touch nature around you with your hands. Feel the leaves of a tree as you walk past, put your hands on the grass, touch plants.
In the evening, where possible, avoid artificial light. I know this is easier said that done in winter. However, these days, there are lightbulbs and lamps that are readily available and affordable which do not give out blue light (the sort of light from computers and screens which disrupts our circadian rhythm) and produce a much more natural and softer light.
Finally, as we start to transition to spending more time indoors in winter, consider taking up a new gentle indoor activity – anything you fancy from knitting, to journaling to Tai Chi. Anything that sparks joy!
Wishing you a nourishing and healthful Autumn.
Dr. Maria Amasanti