You know the feeling: you’ve got a headache, then the person next to you at work starts to get the sniffles, then suddenly the entire office has a case of the common cold. The shorter days, hustle and bustle of winter activities and drop in temperature, usually brings with it an (unwelcome) spike in illnesses. But you can outsmart the common cold right in the kitchen. Here are some ways you can nourish your body during the winter months so you can stay healthy, be less stressed, and encourage your body to work with you and not against you.
With New Year’s diet resolutions on the mind, we often feel that we MUST eat “cold” foods like salads, fruits, and green smoothies. But it can be hard to eat “cold” foods when the weather is just as cold! For these winter months, choose from a whole world of warming foods that are great for the body, mind and soul such as kale, collard greens, brussels sprouts, garlic, clove, squash, parsnips, cinnamon, pine nuts, walnuts, cashews, mushrooms – and even more!
Since the cold weather months are quite dry and it’s typical to not want to eat cold “watery” foods like cucumber and watermelon. We do, however, need to make sure we’re drinking enough water! Try drinking a glass of water right when you wake up – your body has been fasting for 6-8 hours so rejuvenate it with some H2O! As for caffeine? A cup of coffee a day is fine, but make sure you drink another glass of water right after as caffeine dehydrates your body! Your body needs to stay lubricated and it will thank you.
Winter is the perfect season for getting together with friends and family around a well-prepared, home-cooked meal. The sharing of food can be one of the most stress-relieving and lasting experiences of winter. Particularly when you’re feeling stressed, the reassuring feeling of a genuinely shared meal can help lift your spirits. Instead of eating on the go, take the time to enjoy a delicious meal with those you love!
Those Canadian winters are dreary, bleak and so dark cold so we get it when you say you don’t feel like going outside! Most people have to work so they are indoors and away from natural light for a majority of the day. If you’re an early bird like me, you usually get up and come home when it’s dark outside. BUT – we all need Vitamin D to support the health of the immune system, brain and nervous. Feeling antsy at work? Force yourself to go outside for a brisk 5 minute walk to feel more energetic.
It is especially important to eat nutrient dense foods in the cold weather months. Bone broths (a trendy restaurant item at the moment!) are the perfect example of “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Locked away inside that hard shell is a wealth of essential nutrients – anti-inflammatory and gut-healing proteins, healthy fats, and a wealth of minerals just waiting to be used. Root vegetables (like rutabaga, sweet potatoes, and carrots) also provide sustenance when our bodies are fighting the cold. Our Maple Mustard Pork Chop next week features rutabaga mash to help brace us against the looming gloom!
Just a few simple changes can help you nourish your body during the winter months. Good luck!