Now that we are passed the halfway mark of summer, the chill has crept back into our nights and the light is slowly starting to show signs of narrowing. Not only do these signs motivate us to make sure our wood is in and our pantries are stocked, these small changes in our environment mark an opportunity to prepare our immune systems for colder, darker times ahead.
Summer is a glorious time of unstructured play for our children, fresh food from our gardens and forests, get-togethers with friends and family and hopefully a holiday from the normal routine of life. It’s easy to passively build vitality in the summer months. However, soon, the children will return to school and us to our regular routines at the time when the colder weather returns.
Now is the optimal time to think preventatively and start working with certain foods, herbs and lifestyle choices to build immune system strength to be prepared for the coming changes as well as the cold and flu season. Think of the next 4 – 6 weeks as a training program, much like you would take on if you were going to run in a road race. You wouldn’t likely show up on race day without having engaged with a proper conditioning program to prepare yourself. ‘Showing up’ for cold and flu season without proper preparation can and most likely will yield negative outcomes.
Simply put the best time to build health is when one is healthy.
5 Strategies to Build Vitality for the Summer to Autumn Seasonal Change
- Raw VS Cooked: In the hot months of summer it’s very appropriate to eat foods and drink beverages that cool the body. However when the colder nights set in its important to bring back some warmer foods to make sure that the internal furnace of digestive fire is stoked. Remember that we embody our natural environment. So, when the nights are colder and damper we stand the chance of having these symptoms arise in our body systems as well. The common cold and chesty, phlegmy coughs can be signs of this.
- Rest: Take the time to appropriately rest and get enough quality sleep. If you can, let your natural biorhythm tune into the changes of light. Go to bed when the sun does and awake as the sun rises
- Drink a mug of Bone Broth daily: A properly prepared bone broth provides an array of minerals, micro-minerals and nutrients that function as the building blocks of a healthy immune and digestive system. Drink a cup while you wake with the sun in the chill of the late summer morning. Don’t have time to make your own? Look for Wild Peach Preserves and Soup Du Jar’s Bone Broth in the freezer section of your local health food store.
- Utilize Tonic Herbs: Certain Herbs provide the action of building tonic energy and vitality, strengthening the immune system and overall foundational health. The herbs to include when you are well, to continue to stay well include Reishi and Chaga mushroom, Astragalus root, Elderberry and many more.
- Vitamin D: How has your exposure to the sun been since May? We can obtain good levels of Vitamin D from the sun from May to about the end of September in our region. Remember to get enough from the sun you need to sunbathe for at least ½ hour per day, every day, during this time, without any sunscreen or sunblock on your skin. If you feel you may not have obtained all the D you need, now is the time to consider supplementation.
It is recommended to check in with your local health practitioner for guidance if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or have any outstanding health concerns prior to introducing new supplements or herbs to your routine.
Colleen Emery is the owner and Master Herbalist of Emery Herbals Dispensary, Healing Suites and Teaching Centre in the heart of Winlaw, BC. Colleen is passionate about empowering individuals and families to take charge of their wellness through fostering traditional skills and connection to the natural world.