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Our bodies require certain things from us during the cooler months. According to Chinese medicine, winter is a time of full ‘Yin’, meaning more quiet, inward activities are required. It’s also Kidney time, which means that by abiding by what your body needs during the winter months, you can restore your adrenals – your vital energy. During winter, our bodies want us to have extra sleep, they want us to rug up and stay inside more, they want us to be more gentle with ourselves, and they want us to eat quite differently to other times of the year. There’s a reason why we crave hearty, heavier, warming meals during winter. It’s our body’s innate intelligence letting us know what’s best for us. Here are some ways that you can give your body what it needs this winter.
1. Eat warming foods: Warm yourself up from the inside out by including foods like hot rolled oats, vegetable soups, lentil curries and bean stews. Include warming spices like cayenne pepper, chilli, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, fennel and anise.
2. Eat more cooked than raw: Winter is the month when raw food diets can become tricky. Our bodies naturally crave warm food during winter, and it’s important that we give it to them. It’s still important to have some raw in your diet so that your body is receiving fresh, live enzymes – but you can decrease the ratio of salads and increase the ratio of cooked food. Fresh vegetable juices are a great way to still receive live enzymes in raw food, while mostly allowing your body to eat mainly warm, cooked meals.
3. Eat grounding foods: Your body will feel more supported if you feed it heavier meals that include legumes and beans and grounding foods like root vegetables. It’s no mistake that these are the veggies that are in season during autumn and winter: potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, celery root, pumpkin, beetroot. On that note, it’s very important that we eat seasonally, so look for foods grown locally in your area.
4. Eat immune-boosting foods: Add garlic to your meals wherever possible, eat plenty of leafy greens, eat heaps of fresh foods, and load up your diet with foods that are high in vitamin c (citrus, kiwi fruits, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, papaya etc.) and zinc (nuts, seeds, leafy greens).
5. Eat for good gut health: Overall health and immunity starts in the gut, and this is particularly important through winter. So, include a high quality probiotic in your supplement regime, but also consume fermented probiotic foods.
6. Have warm drinks: Start your day off with lemon juice in warm water rather than a cold juice or smoothie so that you don’t shock your system first up. It’s also good to drink your juices and smoothies at room temperature rather than icy cold. Plus, get stuck into plenty of herbal teas and warm nut milk drinks
Great Winter recipe to try: Hippocrates Soup
This soup is designed to support the kidneys, which is one of the organs we most want to take care of during winter. It’s designed to strengthen the immune system and flush out the kidneys.
1 medium celery knob or 3-4 stalks of celery
1 medium parsley root – if available (if not, add extra celery)
garlic as desired
2 small leeks (if not available, replace with 2 medium onions)
1 kilo of tomatoes
2 medium onions
a little parsley
Do not peel any of these special soup vegetables, just wash and scrub them well. Cut the vegetables coarsely. Place vegetables in a four-litre stainless steel pot, cover them with purified water and simmer slowly for 2 hours. Put the cooked vegetables through a food mill in small portions. Vary the amount of water used for cooking according to taste and desired consistency. Add a bit of crushed garlic to serve.