With winter, we have the cold. My kids await snow to build snowmen and outdoor playtime! Unless it’s dangerously cold or they are sick, I don’t discourage playing outside in the winter. My kids bundle up and go outside to play anyway. Regardless of the temperature, the fresh air is important and stimulating to our bodies. It’s invigorating, cleansing, and healthier than breathing in stale, recycled indoor air all day!
That said, it is critical to stay warm this time of year! When our bodies are cold, our immune systems work much harder to fight colds and flus. The old adage – “the cold air with make you catch cold,” is untrue…but if we aren’t taking the proper precautions, then the cold CAN make us less resilient, and therefore more vulnerable to getting sick. There are many ways to create that warming effect in the body. Here are some suggestions:
1. SOUPS AND STEWS
Gone are the summer days of salads and raw foods. Cooked vegetables are the best way to go this time of year. This is not to say that we can’t still enjoy a cucumber with hummus, but that is much more of a cooling food. Best way to get a meal jam-packed with nutrients and warmth is by chopping as many veggies as possible into a soup. My family particularly enjoys when I make a homemade minestrone with organic diced tomatoes, celery, carrots, zucchini, spinach, green beans, onion, garlic, parsley, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, and sometimes some grass-fed beef. And the great bonus, is that these types of meals typically make enough for leftovers all week!
2. ROOT VEGETABLES AND WARMING SPICES
Carrots, squash, potatoes, leeks, parsnips, cabbage and more. Plants that take longer to grow are energetically warming, so slow-cooking, like in a crockpot is an excellent method to prepare them.
The following spices can be added to increase the warmth of the food as well: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, garlic, cumin, cayenne, and cardamom.
3. ROOM TEMPERATURE OR WARM FLUIDS
Most health experts disapprove of having cold/iced beverages even in the summer months, but it’s imperative during winter to consume only room temperature or warm beverages. The warmth really helps ease the burden on your system during the winter. I generally only drink room temperature water, as I’m not a hot drink person except in the coldest of days, or if I’m ill. But this time of year we want to think hot teas, not iced teas.
4. SIT AND REFLECT
While we don’t hibernate as other animals do, I still recommend rest, meditation and more restful activities this time of year. I try to remember with less sunlight, energetically it feels better to rest more. I still maintain an exercise regimen all year round, but it feels right to go to sleep earlier with the increased darkness. While the optimal ratio of cooked to raw foods depends on the person, it is a safe bet to eat more slow cooked meals in fall/winter and early spring before the weather begins to warm. If you’re ever unsure, just think about what would logically be available seasonally. Most grocery stores don’t have a lot of squash on the shelves in summer, but now it’s easily found. Also, trust your intuition. Energetically, I don’t want salads, or avocados this time of year. Whereas May through October I can’t get enough of them. Also, if you’d like to hear more about this, I had a brief YouTube video on the topic of warming foods https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlmyhw34JbY&feature=youtu.be. Check it out and consider subscribing to my channel Dr. Christy Cares. I am passionate about supporting you and your warmth in your journey towards optimal health…so, feel free to reach out with any questions here!
Dr. Christy Matusiak