For those of us who call Minnesota home, we are professionals at surviving the winter. But most people here in Minnesota don’t realize that the time to start preparing your body for winter is as soon as fall begins.

1. Fall is the time to cleanse your large intestine

According to Chinese medicine, autumn is large intestine season, which means fall is the perfect time of year to do a light intestine cleansing. This does not mean it’s time for a heavy fasting. Instead a large intestine cleansing can simply look like getting more liquids, eating more soups and stews, more vegetables, and having less processed foods. You can get your large intestine moving a bit more this time of year by adding spinach and grapes to any vegetable juicing.

Increase your probiotic use just slightly to help get softer or more regular stools. (Curious about what probiotic is best for your body? Have Dr. Brad test you at your next appointment.) Caring for your body with these food choices in the fall will give you a jump start on building strong kidney and immune systems before the weather gets too cold.

2. Start strengthening your kidneys for winter

Your kidneys hate being cold. This makes them extremely vulnerable during the winter months. Start building up your kidney system during the fall months by making warm meals, drinking warm beverages, and eating animal protein with every meal. Your body doesn’t need huge quantities of animal meat, instead it’s more important to eat animal protein regularly. A bite or two of chicken every three to four hours is a good way to get started.

3. Get outside and breathe deeply

Chinese medicine teaches us that our large intestine and lungs are connected to one another. With all the crisp and fresh fall weather get outside regularly to exercise. Whether you are walking, running, or riding your bike, be conscious about taking nice deep breathes. This deep breathing will help your lungs clean out as many toxins as possible before winter sets in.

4. Make a plan to get vitamin D this winter

If you stopped taking a vitamin D supplement over the summer, now is the time to start again. Just be sure your vitamin D supplement is a quality one! At Hope Clinic, we’ve noticed the D-5000 capsule seems to be the best one for Minnesotans. We have plenty in stock this time of year, so pick up a bottle or two next time you’re in the clinic.

If it’s possible for you and your family this winter, plan a trip to get away to a warmer climate for a few days of good sunshine. If a trip isn’t in the cards this year, make a plan to do a little bit of tanning bed time throughout the winter months. Or, in the room where you and your family spend the most time, replace regular light bulbs with full spectrum light bulbs (we carry these at Hope Clinic!).

5. Invest in your emotional health

This is a great time of year to invest in your emotional health, too. Support groups and therapists are great ways to get some extra emotional support. If you aren’t sure where to look for a trusted support group or therapist, don’t hesitate to ask us at the clinic for some suggestions to get you started.

Another practical way to care for your emotional health before the winter months set in is to get in to see Dr. Brad. He will make sure your energy systems are up and working like they are suppose to.