Not gonna lie, we’re summer people over here. We’ve got three native southern Californians and a New Jersey girl on our team, and it’s important to us to soak up all the sunshine we can get before we settle in for the next 6-9 months of much more blah weather in Oregon.
That being said, one of my favorite parts of living in the Pacific Northwest is the novelty of the changing seasons. There’s beauty and also at least a bit of nuisance in each one, and it has become a treasured art to find ways of embracing each season for what it is. As we say goodbye to the long days, fresh berries, and the ability to walk out of the house in just a single layer of clothing, I welcome a season of fewer flies, less sweat, and more soup. And with those changes, come opportunities to shift your habits while also embracing a low-waste lifestyle.
A low-waste guide to embracing (and dealing with) the cooler months ahead:
1. Eat local and seasonal produce
My favorite part of embracing the seasons is eating what naturally grows during that time of year. There are so many benefits to doing this for your body and the environment:
- Seasonal produce is more nutritious as it’s grown naturally without needing chemicals to alter when it ripens.
- The sooner you eat produce from when it’s picked, the more dense it is in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Mixing it up based on what’s in season provides variety while also giving you nutrients that are valuable that time of year. Hydrating foods like watermelons, berries, corn, and tomatoes are helpful in the summer, while mushrooms in the fall provide vitamin D, and carrots, pumpkins, parsnips, and and citrus in the fall and winter provide vitamin C.
- Eating produce that was grown closer to you and seasonally requires fewer resources to grow and lower carbon emissions to get to you. That includes the water, light, and heat for indoor farming, fossil fuels burned to transport the food potentially from very far away, and the refrigeration that emits greenhouse gases 1,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
- It tastes better! Don’t believe us? Try a tomato grown from your friend’s garden in August versus a store-bought one in January.
Check here to learn what produce is in season or look up what’s in season that’s grown in your area!
If you’re not used to much variety, it’s easy to incorporate seasonal produce into everyday meals. Add a side of roasted veggies like broccoli, green beans, carrots or winter squash (my favorite is delicata!), make a pasta, risotto, or soup using a mix of local vegetables. Add some apples or pear to your morning oatmeal, or make a crisp for dessert! Some of my favorite fall recipes include:
- Lentil soup with carrot, sweet potato, onion, celery, kale, and fresh thyme
- Quinoa fried rice with broccoli, carrot, and roasted cashews
- Portobello mushroom and pineapple tacos
- Mushroom risotto
- Turmeric porridge with pomegranate arils or leftover cranberry sauce
- Creamy chanterelle pasta
- Apple crisp
- Baked potatoes with garlic brussel sprouts
2. Deal with dry skin and hair
This year, within a week of the autumn equinox, my skin felt tight and my scalp was itchy. *Cue me in the shower doing an uncanny impression of Janet Leigh in Psycho.* Ordinarily, I battle this for the better part of winter, but I immediately decided to level up my skin and hair care to nip that dryness in the bud. Fast forward to me just a mere two weeks later looking juicy and flake-free as ever. Here were my secret weapons:
- Body Butter + Heat Wave Body Oil for good measure.
- Note: Normal people only need one of these two, but for people that are dramatically dry and feel like they need medicated moisture, this combo is just what the doctor ordered.
- Deep Serum – Add this as a layer underneath your regular moisturizer or by itself.
- Herb + Shroom Hair Growth Oil OR Wild Mane | Hair Growth & Shine Serum – I adore both of these hair oils that I apply directly to my scalp as a treatment before I wash my hair. It helps balance my skin to keep the itch and dandruff away. Plus, they both help with hair growth! Did you know hair grows faster in the summer? Now you have a way to keep up those growth goals in the cooler months.
- Herbal Deep Conditioning Treatment – Yep, this too!
- Add this Body & Bath Oil to your bath or slather it on in the shower to seal in the moisture before it even has a chance to leave.
- Pro Tip: Switch up or add another shampoo to the mix – this Shampoo Bar in Soothe or these Shampoo Stones in Hydrate if you’re really not messing around.
3. Fortify your immune system
On top of the seasonal produce, which is a great way to support your immune system, I’m also making a point to focus on physical and mental healt.
- Take a daily swig of Fire Cider.
- Add a dropperfull (or 4 or 5) of Immunity Now to your water or tea when you feel a tickle in your throat or freak out because somebody on the bus was coughing.
- Get outside for at least 30 minutes every day to get a dose of vitamin D and exercise.
- Trying not to fight my natural seasonal impulses to rest more and practice more self-care when the days are shorter.
4. Embrace hygge
If you’re not already familiar with the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-guh), it’s essentially the practice of leaning into cozy, comforting environments and practices, which are helpful for coping with the darker months of the year.
- Warm knits – whip out the cozy sweaters and blankets! And make sure you’re taking good care of them so they last for years to come. Make sure to wash your knits on cold and lay flat or hang to dry to preserve the fabric. Got a snag? Learn to mend it yourself or take it to a tailor so you can continue wearing it for years to come. Looking to add more knits to your wardrobe? Check secondhand first!
- Darning mushroom
- Nontoxic candles – Many conventional candles use paraffin wax, which is a byproduct of petroleum refining. Opt for soy, coconut or beeswax instead of paraffin, and make sure that your candles are either unscented or made with essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances. Also keep an eye out for wicks made from natural fibers or wood. To be safe, learn how to make your own!
- Spend quality time with loved ones!
- Homemade comfort foods and beverages – this is the perfect time of year for baking, eating warming foods, and drinking hot beverages. Here are a few accessories we carry for the occasion:
5. Usable or reusable decorations
- Start with fall and winter decorations made from natural materials like winter squashes – pumpkins, delicata, acorn, and carnival – are all beautiful produce that will last for months as decoration before you’re able to eat or compost! Evergreen garlands and pine cones are great options for the winter. Bonus points if you forage for them yourself from your neighborhood or local forest.
- For other holiday decorations, check Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, Mercari, or your local Buy Nothing groups or thrift stores for secondhand decorations. If you do buy new, plan to use decorations year after year. You can even host a decoration swap with friends to spice things up!