nourishing foods for winter
Similar to the Autumn months, Winter is all about warm, cooked foods. Out with the raw and cold temperature foods (like uncooked vegetables, salads, fruits, iced drinks, smoothies and cold milk with cereal) and in with roasted vegetables, savory soups and baked stews.
- Baking, roasting, stewing seasonal foods like winter squashes, root vegetables, winter greens, mushrooms, apples and pears is a wonderful way to warm the core of our being. It’s also a great time to enjoy the beans, grains and nuts that were harvested in fall.
- A great way to start the day is with warm oat or grain porridge, cooked eggs and proteins, toasted breads, congees, heated left-overs and soups.
- Foods that specifically nourish and warm the Kidneys include black beans, kidney beans, bone broths, lamb, chicken, walnuts, chestnuts, black sesame seeds and dark leafy greens. A small pinch of unrefined sea salt in meals also helps balance the kidneys. Seaweeds (in moderation) also offer a salty taste when cooked in soups, grains and beans.
- Warm, herbal teas throughout the day help keep us warm. Gently warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom are a great accompaniment to foods, though very hot spicy herbs are not recommended in winter because they create sweating, which ultimately cools the body. A small amount of a hot spice can increase circulation, so a pinch of pepper to taste could offer a perfect balance.
- In Winter, we naturally crave fats – satisfy the call by eating healthy fats instead of fried and packaged/processed crappies. Organic butter, ghee, olive oil, and coconut oil are stable fats to include in the diet. Marbled cuts of meat from local, grass-fed animals contain a healthier balance of Omega 3 fats than grain-fed animals. To help digest fats, room-temperature fermented vegetables are recommended. Bitter leafy greens also aid digestion of heavier foods.
- If you’re feeling under the weather: Soups of vegetables, beans, garlic, ginger and other warming antibiotic herbs and spices like thyme and rosemary are perfect to boost the immune system and ward off colds and flus. A little miso is wonderful with root, green and sea vegetables, and chicken soup is great to revitalize after an illness. If you’re chest feels congested and warm, barley cools toxic heat in the lungs and eliminates dampness resolving phlegm.