Fall has officially arrived!

The cooler weather is here and is welcomed by myself and my family! My kids now are focused on pumpkin patches, baking cookies, and getting ready for Halloween. I too have fallen into a more relaxed, comfort-food driven mode. Growing up in the Midwest, the arrival of fall meant casseroles, crockpot suppers, soups, and baked anything! Thus, I’ve made pizzas, quesadillas, pasta, meatballs, and chocolate cookies (just one batch so far)! Eating seasonally is a reminder that our nutrition is the foundation to our immune systems and our general beings, so I must remind myself that when it comes to comfort foods, moderation is key. My son is definitely the most ‘sensitive’ of my family to the changes in our diet. Along with the looser restrictions and reintroduction of gluten and dairy, his severe nasal congestion and sleepless nights have also returned. And, of course, right around the corner of the fall festivities is Halloween! Candy, sugar, artificial flavors and dyes, will soon be filling the bellies of all our little ones for days at a time. History repeats itself, and this time of year is definitely more difficult on my son’s immune system to say the very least. Every Halloween night I let the kids have a few of their favorite candies, but that night- and usually for the following day or so we are plagued with the aftermath of behavioral changes, mood swings, and even the occasional bedwetting and nightmares! SOS-calling all my other mom- friends! I can’t be the only mom making this connection?!

So starting today I’m going to take my own advice, the same advice I would tell any of my patients or fellow parents: Recenter your focus back on healthy nutrition to support our immune systems and take care of our GI tracts. Make sure that at least 1-2 veggies reach our tables and our mouths per day. Cut way back on gluten and dairy, if they seem to bother you (they tend to cause a lot of inflammation). Drink plenty of water. Get outside and get some exercise: any movement counts! And start taking that vitamin D you might have hiding in the back of your medicine cabinet.

When preparing for Halloween, please trick or treat our kiddos with the ‘healthier’ treats. Believe it or not, chocolate is preferred over artificial flavoring and dye containing sweet treats- as the artificial colors and sugars are harmful to the nervous system. Alternative options are always greatly appreciated: Tattoos, playdough, slinkies, stickers, stamps,glow sticks, bubbles, ect. You will make both moms and kids alike smile! Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) has some great resources and information about alternatives and the Teal Pumpkin Project- raising food allergy awareness.

If you would like more one-on-one guidance this fall season or if anyone in your family seems to be more sensitive, I’d love to talk with you about other tips and tricks I have for staying healthy and improving our health- not only during this holiday season, but the others that are soon to come as well!

For more tips on offsetting sugar consumption, check out (or revisit!) Dr. Julie’s blog here.

Happy Fall & Happy Halloween from Lake Travis Integrative Medicine!