9 Winter Warming Tips to keep you on track
By Rowena Jayne – Real Food Yogi
Winter is here and the cold chills you to the bones… you take cover in snuggling up under a warm blanket as the snow falls and white residue builds on the window sill. You cough and splutter as your chest infection and nasal drip render you unable to actively participate in the buzz of life that continues around you……
Now stop for a minute and imagine a different scenario.. Imagine just the opposite… You enjoy the cooler months and transcend the cold, ills and even sadness that sometimes winter brings. With just a little more self care and a little more awareness, you turn it around and have the most amazing winter season yet.
Now that sounds more like a winter one dreams of experiencing!
As a rule of thumb – nature begins to slow down all around us during winter. The animals go into hibernation, the lush green shrubs and flowers that spread across the sidewalk in the summer months and now mere tufts poking through snow carpeted ground. The landscape appears far more barren and desolate after the trees were stripped of their leaves in the fall.
Human life form is the microcosm of the macrocosm and what occurs in nature, also occurs inside of us. However, we do exist in the modern 21st century, where come what may life doesn’t stop. We still have deadlines to meet, responsibilities to fulfil and we know the rent wont pay itself if we don’t keep going.
Therefore, we need to take heed of the weather and changes in the natural environment around us and play an active role in respecting these natural laws as much as possible to avoid, sickness and ill health. We do this by adjusting the food we eat, the type of and amount of exercise we do, the clothes we wear and so forth.
In different geographical areas the seasons also vary. In some countries it snows in winter, for others it rains. So we need to adapt in accordance to each individual environment. In saying that on average the winter sky is often thick with cloud and grey. The air is always crisp, cold, damp and heavy and one observes that the hustle and bustle of life does reduce to a far less rapid and more phlegmatic pace. Other days the weather becomes dry, cold and even windy. Therefore, we need to consider both scenarios when tweaking our lifestyle and dietary regimes over the cooler months.
9 Winter Warming Tips
1- Wear Warm Clothes
The first tip might seem obvious (to wear warm clothes), but so many people run around in skimpy outfits especially to go out at night, so this is a a great tip to adhere to in order to effectively reduce the chills and ills. On windy days, cover your neck with a scarf to protect from the wind and cold. Wear a head covering. 60% of heat is lost through the head (and extremities too) so be sure to cover your head to help preserve internal heat.
2 – Sleep in longer if possible.
With our busy lives and set work routines, this may not be feasible, but try at least on the weekend. Avoid sleeping in the day however, as it will lead to more sluggishness and lethargy; will impede metabolism and reduce the digestive fire.
3- Massage the Hands and Feet daily with Warmed Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is a warming oil and great to stimulate circulation, minimise cold hands and feet and improve feelings of wellbeing
4 -Eat more good plant based oils and fats like avocado
Fats are a super way to improve insulation to the body over the winter months and provide nourishment to the brain which is made up of fat – contributing to serotonin uptake and thus providing nervous system support -.
5 – Avoid Cold Drinks and Frozen foods
It might seem obvious, but unfortunately many people have lost connection to these natural laws that we, in our primitive eras knew intuitively. The digestive system is like a fire and adding cold, frozen foods will dampen the fire and reduce our metabolic and digestive functions. Cold foods during colder months will also increase mucus in the body and lead to congestion.
6 – Wear Colours Like Red and Orange
Colour therapy dates back years in Eastern medicine systems. Red and Orange are warming colours, stimulate and uplift so are great additions to the winter wardrobe.
7 – Get More Sunshine and Vitamin D
SAD (Seasonal Affective disorder) is a common condition which affects a substantial number of people in winter and the sadness associated with this disorder can be greatly improved with sunlight and vitamin D Supplements. Vitamin D is an immune modulator and also switches on good genes. Vitamin D is also the instigator for Vitamin C to be absorbed and vitamin C is an immune enhancing nutrient among other things.
8 Yoga Power
If you have a regular yoga teacher fabulous. Yoga will stimulate circulation. Pranayama breathing is also a brilliant method to warm the body inside out, as are sun salutations. Postures like Camel, Bow and even full locust poses are great too relieve any congestion in the chest and stimulate immune function.
9 Follow a winter warming diet
Drink a tea made from Ginger root, Cinnamon and a pinch of clove to increase circulation.
Reduce dry foods (dehydrated, dried fruits etc) especially when the weather is cold and dry.
Increase the intake of spices such as black pepper, cumin, garlic(natural antibiotic),cayenne pepper, chilli, ginger, cinnamon which are all warming and help to reduce toxins and stagnation.
Drink herbal teas that stimulate immunity, are antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial and are warming such as Tulsi, ginger, masala chai, Astragalus, Thyme, Sage and echinacea ( this list is not exhaustive)
Include Supergreens ( E3 live is my favourite – coming soon to Australia) to support the liver function and blood cleansing properties, and reduce toxic build up which will lead to illness. Remember the soil is depleted of much need nutrients, so in the modern age a good nutritional supplement is beneficial for health, especially during the winter months.
Include fresh juices daily with various fruits and vegetables, adding lemon, lime and ginger for additional warmth, oileation and vitamin C. Berries, Kiwi fruits and even pineapple are great additions largely due their vitamin C content and pineapples are great to soothe a sore throat.
Choose more mushy, warm, nourishing foods. Soups are a fabulous way to stay warm and of course taste great!
Below is a wonderful Soup that warms and Nourishes during the winter months. This is a cooked version, but I also have a raw version I will post soon.
Sweet Potato, Pear & Rosemary Soup with Cashew Sour cream & Rosemary Chia Seed crackers – by Rowena Jayne – Real Food Yogi
Ingredients from Nature:
2 cups boiling water
2 cups steamed sweet potato
1 cup pear juice
2 tablespoons sprouted mung beans (or lentils)
1/2 – teaspoon rosemary sprigs
dash of lemon juice
1/2 – 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 -1 teaspoon onion powder
Pinch Black Pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Optional: 1/4 cup sunflower sprouts/ corn/ fresh tomato/ avocado pieces or zucchini noodles.
Blend all ingredients together adding the oil last
Cashew Sour Cream
1 cup cashews ( soaked 2 hours if possible)
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1/4 – 1/2 cup water
Pinch sea salt
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender. If it is too thin – in a slow speed gradually add olive oil in a slow stream until it thickens.
Rosemary Chia seed crackers
1/2 cup black chia seeds
1 tomato, blended to a puree
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon rosemary sprigs
Add All ingredients into a bowl and mix until the chia seeds begin to become gelatinous (4-5 mins). Place the mixture onto dehydrator trays and spread with an offset spatula until 1 cm thick. Dehydrate for 5-6 hours until crisp.