30 Primal Hacks

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Yes, yes, I know. I'm getting in somewhat under the wire here. For those of you in the Northeastern U.S. who got an early helping of winter this weekend, you have my sympathies. As a native New Englander, I love fall but know it goes all too fast…. As beautiful as autumn is, I think it presents some Primal challenges — for us moderns as it undoubtedly did for our ancestors. It's darker. It's colder. Food is generally more expensive — particularly the sensitive summer produce. We might get different cravings or be more likely to put on weight in these months. We may even feel our own inclinations toward semi-hibernation. While some of us keep our routines the same throughout the year, I know others prefer to make seasonal changes. Our motivations vary. We want to save money or work with what's more readily available. We know ourselves and understand that we need to switch out the summer workout to stay in shape during the more inclement months. We're dealing with busier schedules, more stress, or less productive sleep. Or maybe we're just interested in making some changes more in line with approximated ancestral conditions. Whatever your intention, I've got some Primal hacks for making the most of the fall season.

1. Take advantage of the fall hunting seasons to build some winter stores (with the proper licenses and training, of course).

2. Follow Grandma's example and learn to can to cheaply preserve the last of this this year's harvest.

3. Make some canned treats (e.g. jams and apple butter) to enjoy and some to give away for the coming holidays.

4. Start a windowsill indoor herb garden.

5. Try out one of those countertop lettuce growers. (Reviews, anyone?) Or, if you're particularly ambitious, take on a larger hydroponic project.

6. Be ready to snatch up post-Thanksgiving poultry deals, or scout out some good ones now before too many people start their turkey-shopping. You can usually get good bulk deals from area farms.

7. Along those same lines, fill your freezer with the last meat shares for the year.

8. Invest in a dehydrator and go to town with all manner of veggies and fruit. Make a store of apple chips for the kids.

9. Freeze some produce items you don't want to can or dehydrate. If you can blanch and shock, you'll have some good greens handy for hearty winter soups later.

10. While we're on the subject of soups, don't waste those poultry carcasses and roast remnants. Make and freeze some homemade stocks for soups, stews, and sauces. (Trust me, you'll never buy packaged again.)

11. Interested in recalibrating your diet to seasonality? Scale back your fruit consumption. Think more along the lines of salad component than whole pieces.

12. There's never a better time to begin an organ meat cooking repertoire. (Hint: the PB cookbooks and MDA recipe archive offer enticing recipes to get you started.)

13. Learn to love (and cook) low(er) carb root vegetables. Think mashed, scalloped, roasted, baked, or added to stews and gratins.

14. Regular neighborhood run not doing it for you anymore? Make the added effort to pick out new and inspiring places for outdoor workouts and family fun.

15. Warm up inside before heading out. The cool air will then feel especially refreshing and exhilarating.

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