The Winter Kitchen Guide
Seasonal Eating is a dietary philosophy rooted in ancient medical systems, like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.
The Seasonal Eating approach focuses on flavours, foods and cooking methods that harmonize the body to seasonal changes. It is an approach based on common sense and wisdom, which reduces our susceptibility to colds and flus and helps our system run more efficiently so we have more energy.
THE WINTER KITCHEN GUIDE
The overall theme for a winter diet should be to focus on conserving heat, fluids and energy, which are lost at a much higher rate in cold weather. Up to 80% of calories consumed in winter are used to maintain body heat. Less heat, means less energy which results in lowered immunity, so use the following principles to stay healthy in winter:
EAT MORE WARM & LESS COLD FOOD
Winter is a time to cook porridge, make soup, and roast veggies. Save your cooling and drying raw salads for the warmer months.
DRINK MORE WARM & LESS COLD LIQUIDS
Think tea, carry a thermos. Raw juices, smoothies and cold drinks make it harder to stay warm in winter. If you are married to your blended drinks, add warming spices and protective fats. Warm your spirit with a glass of red wine or brandy after sunset.
Slow cooked food is warming and easier to digest, therefore placing less energy demand on our system. Pull out the crock pot and casserole dishes for making soups, stews, homemade broths, slow roasted root vegetables and slowly simmered root teas.
INSULATE WITH HEALTHY FATS
Arctic peoples live largely on saturated and monounsaturated fat because it has the highest heat value of any food. Fats support your sex and stress hormones, provide slow burning energy, stabilize blood sugar, keep the skin soft and hydrated and insulate us in frigid temperatures.
Cold weather and an active immune system demand more energy from your body. Dieting and calorie restriction in winter makes us more vulnerable to colds and flu. Staying nourished with food when energy demands are higher supports adrenal health and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
EAT SEASONAL FOODS
If your not sure, ask a farmer. In winter choose roots, tubers and other late harvest foods like: Beets, carrots, yams, turnips, parsnips, radish, ginger, pumpkin, squash, collard greens, kale, apples and pears.
STAY WARM WITH SPICES
Winter is cold so choose foods and beverages which include warming flavours like garlic, ginger, onion, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, leek, bay and thyme.
STAY GROUNDED WITH MINERALS
The balancing flavour of winter is Salty. Salt helps the body to conserve water when the air outside is bone dry. The salty flavour is not relegated to sodium alone but includes the full spectrum of minerals. Salty or mineral-rich flavourings include: Sea salt, seaweed, parsley, celery seed, celery root, Swiss chard, beets, miso, stinging nettle. Minerals are also grounding and calming to the nervous system.