It's Prime Time To Get Your Health "Fall Ready"

Fall's almost here! Here's how to get your body ready for it.


Ah. I am so excited about this month! Pretty much because the one that follows it is my favorite one of the year—October. Although I've got some personal reason for why I like it so much (two of my favorite men, who are no longer with me, their birthdays are in October; my dad and my late fiancé), I think that it is the quintessential representation of fall—and the fall season is all kinds of dope. The weather is cooler. The leaves are changing into pretty and vibrant colors. I get to do more layering of my clothes. Yeah, there's not one single issue I have with fall. Not one.

Well, maybe just one. I'm not sure where y'all live, but I live in Nashville and it's the home of totally unpredictable weather; especially when spring and autumn roll around. Back when I wasn't as proactive about caring for my health as I should've been, if I caught a cold or my hair or lips got extra dry, I'd figure out what to do after the fact. These days, I'm a little more on top of things. These days, before the fall season officially hits, I know just what I need to do to get my health "fall ready". Here is what you can do to prepare beforehand as well.

1. Stop by Your Local Farmers Market


Broccoli. Cabbage. Carrots. Pears. Grapes. Eggplant. Kale. Zucchini. Pumpkin. Pomegranates. These are just some of the foods that are at their peak of freshness during the fall season. Since they're all really good for you, why not support your immune system, along with your community, by picking them up at your local farmers market? Also, since herbs like rosemary and thyme are also in season during autumn, there's no time like the present to amp up your vegan cooking skills too.

2. Up Your Vitamin D Intake


The sun does shine in colder temperatures, but between all of the rain and daylight savings time, you might not get as much as you're used to; this means that you might not get as much Vitamin D as you need either. That's why it's a good idea to be intentional about getting more Vitamin D into your system. You can take a D supplement, if you'd like. Or, if you'd prefer to eat more foods that are high in Vitamin D, some of those include eggs, salmon, mushrooms, orange juice and cheese.

3. Apply Some Frankincense and Myrrh to Your Skin


The fall season is weird in the sense that more inclement weather might result in more moisture in the air. But, at the same time, harsh and cold winds can dry your skin totally out. That's why another thing that I recommend is creating a blend of frankincense and myrrh oil.

Frankincense is an earthy-smelling essential oil that contains properties that not only fight acne but can prevent fine lines and wrinkles (skin-wise, a good read is Zoe Report's "Frankincense Oil Is Like 'Liquid Gold' For Your Face"). As a bonus, frankincense is able to relieve anxiety, reduce PMS symptoms, balance hormones, reduce stress and, if you're trying to make a baby this autumn, increase fertility too. Myrrh is a warm and spicy smelling oil that contains astringent properties that are great for treating eczema and itchy skin. It's perfect for fall because Myrrh is also able to moisturize your skin, relieve any cracking and fade blemishes too. Other benefits of myrrh oil is it boosts brain power, and it reduces bodily inflammation and cold-related symptoms like coughing and phlegm.

Because both oils are pretty potent, it's a good idea to mix them with a carrier oil before applying. Almond, grapeseed and jojoba are really great options.

4. Eat Healthy Comfort Foods


I always enjoy comfort foods, but I think fall may be the time when I crave them most. One article says that the reason why so many of us dig them is because they take us back to certain foods that we enjoyed as children and/or they're dishes that were made by someone we truly love(d).

If you've been trying to talk yourself out of having them this year because they aren't exactly the healthiest foods on the planet, there's some good news. Enjoying comfort food, guilt-free, is mostly about preparation more than anything else. "31 Healthy Comfort Foods for People Who Love to Eat" offers up some pretty healthy recipes. Or, if you're looking for some Black vegan inspiration, check out "15 Vegan Soul Food Dishes That'll Make You Rethink Meat".

5. Cook with “Warming” Spices


Speaking of eating, did you know that there are spices that can actually warm your body up? Once you start noticing frost on your car windows, that's a sign that there's more of a "bite" in the air. Something that can keep you from freezing is cooking meals with spices and herbs like black pepper (contains antioxidants and increases nutrient absorption); cinnamon (lowers blood sugar and has powerful medicinal properties); cayenne pepper (reduces blood pressure and improves psoriasis); ginger (boosts immunity and contains anti-inflammatory properties); and garlic (improves cholesterol levels and fights the common cold).

6. Drink Chamomile or Dandelion Tea


If sweet iced tea tends to be your summer drink jam, slightly switch things up by making your tea warm and going with an herbal kind like chamomile or dandelion. Chamomile is great because it reduces stress, lowers blood sugar, relieves cold symptoms, treats eczema and even soothes menstrual discomfort. Dandelion's a winner because it detoxes the liver, reduces bloating, helps to prevent urinary tract infections, fights inflammation and is loaded with antioxidants to boost your immune system.

Oh, and if you're wondering if it matters whether you go the loose leaf or traditional tea bag route, I recently read an article that's gonna have me taking the loose leaf route more often from here on out. If for no other reason than all of the dust that collects on the bags alone (yuck!).

7. Exercise Outdoors


The fresh air. The beautiful scenery. The wind resistance (because that can help you to burn more calories). Its ability to increase your mental health and boost your self-esteem. These are just some of the reasons why it's a good idea to exercise outdoors. Being that the fall season brings forth milder temperatures, you don't have to worry about burning up (summer) or freezing to death (winter).

So, why not use the fall season to take a hike, go canoeing or do something totally fall theme-related like playing in the leaves with your kids, walking through a fall harvest maze or going apple picking with some friends? Fall can be a fun time to do all sorts of things that will keep your body in shape.

8. Deep Condition and Oil Your Hair’s Ends 


When it's cold outside, that can do a real number on your hair. Whether you decide to wear it out, put it up in a protective style, wrap it up in a scarf or put on a hat, make sure your hair is well-moisturized by deep conditioning your tresses no less than twice a month (something that I have become a huge fan of is chebe powder).

Speaking of hair care, something else that you should do (especially if you're gonna be rocking wool hats 'n such) is to oil your ends. Sweet almond oil seals and protects, lavender oil thickens and (extra virgin) olive oil provides shine and sheen while protecting your ends from heat damage in the process.

9. DIY a Lip Scrub


If your lips are always chapped during cooler weather and you've always wondered why, it's basically due to two things. First, you're probably dehydrated, so drinking more water is the first way to remedy the issue. Second, since your lips don't have any oil glands in them, when there is harsh weather (heat, wind, cold), that can cause them to dry out.

To get rid of the dead skin that may be on your lips, make your own lip scrub (you can get some easy recipes here). Then, after they are soft and smooth, protect them by applying some shea butter or making your own lip balm (you can learn how to do that here and here).

10. Get Some Flannel Bedding

Something that does kinda suck about the drop in temperature during the fall and winter is the rise in electric bills. Something that you can do to keep some extra money in your pocket is to put some flannel sheets on your bed. They're soft and cozy, they're able to keep your warm and they're also the kind of fabric that allows your skin to breathe. Since our skin is our largest organ, keeping it healthy is always a good thing.

Flannel sheets actually feel so good that it can be tempting to hit your snooze button five times and remain in bed. Yeah, try and avoid that, though. I recently read that sleeping 10 hours or longer can double your chance of having a heart attack. Geeze.

Oh, if you're wondering how the heck to care for flannel sheets, wash them in warm or cool water, then dry them like you would any other bedding. Just make sure to skip the whole fabric softener thing. For some reason, it makes the sheets stiff and can cause the material to "bead up" quicker. Happy (almost) fall, y'all!

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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