The leaves have changed colors and are mostly gone. The air is getting cooler. In honour of the season changing, here are a few tips from your neighbourhood naturopathic doctors!
- It’s time to consider taking Vitamin D. Over summer, when you are able to get outdoors and expose your skin to the sun, you can get enough from what you can produce in your skin. Over the darker seasons (fall, winter and spring), it’s a good idea to supplement. A dose of 2,000 IU per day will be a good maintenance dose. Talk to your naturopathic doctor to find out if you should be taking more than that. Vitamin D helps keep your immune system robust over the winter, and it helps prevent seasonal affective disorder (low mood that occurs over winter).
- You may find that as the temperatures drop and seasons change, you often get a cold or flu. You can help prevent this with Vitamin D (as named above), and “change of season soup”. This is a Chinese medicine formula that you can purchase in good herbal stores (such as Herbies herbs on Queen street). The herbs in this formula are Codonopsis root (Dang Shen; 3 sticks, 10 cm long), Astragalus root (Huang Qi; 4 sticks, 15 cm long), Dioscorea root (Chinese wild yam) (Shan Yao; 2 sticks, 5cm long) and Chinese Lycii berries (Gou Qi Zi; 3 tbsp)***. Add these ingredients to 5L water in a big pot and simmer for 2 – 4 hours. Drink 1 cup of the decoction daily for 1 week. You could also use it as a base for soup or add honey to sweeten the tea.
***Please ensure you aren’t allergic to any of these ingredients, and if you have questions or want to be sure it’s the right thing for you, visit your naturopathic doctor.
There are many other western herbs or naturopathic approaches to boosting the immune system, so visit your naturopathic doctor if you feel you need extra immune support this fall.
- Eat for the seasons! As temperatures begin to drop, you might wish to decrease your intake of “cold” and raw foods, such as salads. These can be hard to digest, and with colder weather, your body may find better balance with “warming” foods. Eat cooked vegetables, especially the root vegetables and squash that become abundant. Add warming spices to your foods, especially cinnamon, ginger and chilli. Savour the late summer fruits, such as apples and pears. Try adding baked sweet potato and cinnamon to your morning smoothie to add warmth!
Herbed and baked fall vegetables:
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
4 – 6 cups of chopped and peeled root vegetables or squashes (such as sweet potato, parsnip, beets, acorn squash, butternut squash etc). Also add washed and chopped broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Divide chopped vegetables onto 2 baking sheets and drizzle with olive oil.
- Sprinkle vegetables with salt, pepper, and dried herbs and gently toss to coat.
- Spread vegetables into an even layer on baking sheets and bake at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking time.