The shifting landscape over the 4 seasons in Virginia can feel as dramatic and wonderful as any scene in Fantasia; colors blending, winds shifting, and nature sounds layering to make the soundtrack of the 4 seasons each distinct and different. The colors around us right now are still vibrant and the sun is still warm, but in the next few days to weeks the color scheme will become slightly duller and the sounds will fade away as we welcome the beginning signs of winter – quiet and stillness.
We’re so fortunate to live where we do, with easy access to the city and a major interstate that could get us just about anywhere, yet tucked away into the quiet and calm of the meandering Chickahominy River. We’re given the opportunity to admire the leaves and take the time to appreciate the seasonal changes, yet at the same time, the general mildness of our Virginia autumns allows us to keep working with the land to get as much as we can before it also rests for the winter.
This is the perfect time of year to slow down and reflect on the past few months, the remaining few months, and our plans for the upcoming year. Our beautiful little farm is the perfect environment to focus on a healthy headspace and to get out any extra anxious energy that the fall and winter can bring into the mix. That being said, fall is such an important time to focus on your health and the health of your family. Here are just a few quick ideas on how to stay healthy this fall, naturally.
Choose fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables:
Fresh fruits and veggies help boost our immune systems, keeping us healthy and safe for all of our upcoming visits with friends and family. Refined sugar is highly oxidative and inflammatory and therefore actually directly causes a cascade of depressive reactions on the immune system. Swapping our sugary treats out for local, in-season items will instead help provide your body with the important vitamins and minerals it needs for this time of year. Carrots are always best in the late fall and winter after their starches have had a chance to transition into sweeter natural sugars. It’s also at this time that they provide the most nutritional benefit. They’re full of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, to help combat illnesses. I’m also a firm believer that every good meal starts with garlic and onions. Not only are these two items delicious, but they’re also found to contain natural antibiotic and antiviral components.
Pay attention to your Digestive System:
Our digestive systems are usually our first line of defense when it comes to outside pathogens, as a large majority of our immune systems actually live in our gut. This means that sluggish or malnourished digestive systems and microbiomes can actually lead to weakened and compromised immune systems and seasonal illnesses. Therefore, taking a high-quality probiotic as well as eating lots of fermented foods is even more important in the fall and winter. This is a good time to try foods like kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. All of these items help feed your good gut bacteria, which in turn helps keep you healthy.
Get Appropriate Sleep and Rest:
Late fall and winter naturally nudge your body into a place of rest and reflection. Adhering to the natural rhythms of the season will help ensure that you don’t overextend yourself and your energy reserves. However, this also doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a good idea to sit around like a bump on a log for the whole season either. Getting up and moving is almost always a good idea for the human body, but so is knowing when to take it easy. Perhaps this is the best time to try out a new yoga class you’ve been eyeing or maybe set a goal to go for a brisk walk every day this fall and winter to get out of the house and get the blood flowing. Whatever it is, make sure you have fun!
I hope you’re able to take some time out this fall and winter to reflect and enjoy this beautiful slice of Virginia we call home. If part of that means you’re looking for a little more one-on-one time with the dirt, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Woodside Farms will still be hosting Friday volunteer hours from 9 am-noon until the winter weather tells us to stop. We’d love to see you all there!