Autumn and its nutritional pitfalls.

I wrote this several days ago, but I guess I never posted it.  It applies very well to my situation today, as we’ve had the heat on for almost twenty-four hours now, and it’s only gotten about six degrees warmer.

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It has been cool and damp here for the past few days.  Coolness and dampness call for extra coffee, I think.  Around this time every year, I begin to feel justified drinking extra coffee, and eating extra baked goods if they’re available, which, when I’m the cook, they very often are.

It begins on an especially dark Thursday, when I realize for the first time that the reason it’s so dark every morning is that we’re now getting up before sunrise.  How exciting!  No, really.  It’s exciting!  And I say to myself, well, for goodness sake, just turn on the lights.  So it’s cozy in the house, and I feel like having an extra cup of coffee.

But then the next day, it’s dark and cool again, so I might have a cup of tea in the afternoon.  Then, in the evening, it’s dark before the dishes are even done, and we sit around and say to each other, “Boy, it’s sure getting dark early now.”  You have to say that every few days until the time change (which is when?  do we know?).

After a week or so of extra cups of coffee and tea, served with wonderfully dense apple-y baked goods, I begin to think, “Why do I feel so crazy?  How much coffee have I had?”  This is not sustainable.

So, in case you’re like me, and looking for less calorically-dense and caffeine-laden ways to celebrate the cooler weather (or comfort yourself, if it depresses you), here are some things you can do to feel warmer but not so jittery and frenzied.

1. Go for a run.  If you come back from church, and your house is cold, and you’re too cheap to turn on the heat or the lights, and it’s not yet lunch time, you may be tempted to curl up in a blanket and stare at the wall.  Don’t do it.  Go for a run.  Or a walk.  But do go outside and do something.  It will warm you up better than anything else, and the weather will seem more pleasant afterwards.

2. Turn on the lights already.  Or even the heat, if necessary.  This is a hard one for me because I’m cheap.  It seems unreasonable to me that I should have to use lights during the day, but sometimes it is necessary.  And sometimes it’s just nice.  Maybe you are normal and already do this, but I mention it in case you are also wandering around in the dark and the cold, muttering about how Caroline Ingalls would have been grateful for far less than you have, blah, blah, blah.  Guess what?  Scrooge didn’t use lights either.  Think of that.

3. Cook something with a strong smell.  It doesn’t have to involve sugar, apples, or pumpkins.  Roast some garlic, or make chicken stock.  This makes the house feel warm and comfortable, but it doesn’t lead to any extra snacking.

4.  Drink lots of cold water.  Somehow this makes me less interested in coffee, in the same way that brushing my teeth immediately after dinner makes me less interested in dessert.  It won’t make you warmer though.

5. If all else fails, and you find yourself staring longingly at the coffee pot at two in the afternoon, at least resolve to drink it black.  That is enjoyable in its own way, it adds no sugar to your diet, and you will probably do it less often.

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