triathlon_article_A_Winter_Way_Of_Eating

A Winter Way Of Eating

Article written by Daniel Max, Holistic Health Counselor, Yoga Instructor, Shiatsu Practitioner, owner of Sense of Self

Triathlon resource The New England winter climate is mostly cold and dry. Just as the trees and plants around us have dried, we may experience the dryness of our own skin and lips as well as a drop in our body temperature.

As things change externally, our inner body changes in a similar manner and we must care for our bodies accordingly.

Foods For Winter

  • Since winter is cold and dry we need to avoid similar food to maintain warmth and moisture within.
  • Warm, home-cooked foods are ideal, cooked with easy-to-digest oils such as ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil, but not deep-fried.
  • Use cooking methods such as steaming, roasting, stir-frying or poaching in order to heat the food all the way through.
  • Avoid raw foods, which are cold in nature such as salads, cold fruits, ice (especially in drinks), ice cream and raw vegetables as these tend to cool the body.
  • Incorporate foods that create moisture and warmth. Minimize the consumption of crackers, rice cakes and breads, as they are very dry.

Flavor

  • The flavors that nourish and balance the body in the cold, dry, winter season are the sweet, sour and salty tastes. It’s best to eat less of the astringent, bitter, and pungent flavors in winter, although all six tastes should be included in your diet.
  • From the less ‘favored’ flavors use ginger (unless you run both an extremely hot body temperature and a hot temper) and radish for pungent to keep warm, enjoy leafy greens and dandelion root for bitter, and cranberry or apple for the astringent flavor to aid detoxification during these months.
  • Root vegetables and grains will provide the sweet flavor. Refined sugars will create more harm than good.
  • For salty flavor reach for small amounts of high quality sea salt and an abundance of sea vegetables.

Food Suggestions

  • Warm hearty soups, healthy lean meat and root vegetable stews, whole grains, and roasted nuts.
  • Cereals, grains, and legumes: brown rice, oatmeal, millet, soybeans, and mung beans.
  • Meat, poultry and fish.
  • Nuts (avoid in excess if you have a lean or lanky body combined with a quick and restless mind.)
  • Root vegetables such as yams, sweet potatoes, yucca, potatoes, beets, turnips, ginger, ginseng, taro, burdock, carrots, parsnips, as well as, fennel, onions, chives, scallions, garlic and leeks.
  • Herbs, spices, condiments and oils: peppermint, basil, ginger, turmeric, parsley, gogi berries, licorice, cinnamon, cloves, chamomile, pepper, honey, and sesame oil.
  • Fruits and nuts: (at room temperature) apples, clementines, cranberries, red grapes, grapefruit, persimmons, dates, figs as well as lemons and limes.
  • If eating dairy (choose organic products!) avoid having them cold. Using ghee (clarified butter) is a great butter substitute.
  • Hydrate! Hot water and room temperature only. If drinking with a meal, sip hot water slowly.
  • The salty taste is attributed to the kidney and bladder, so by adding some salty foods in your diet during winter you can improve the function of these two organs. In Chinese medicine these are the meridians/organs governed by the water element that can be most affected by the dryness of the season. Incorporate some of the following foods to support the kidney and bladder function in winter: burdock root, eggs, fish, miso soup, nuts, tofu, and sea vegetables (such as arame, hijiki, kelp, kombu and wakame.)
  • This is not the season to be eating a fat-free salad and cracker diet. Play with steaming or roasting vegetables for salads and if eating things like toast for breakfast, spread a thin layer of ghee or butter on top.
  • To promote consistency, regularity and a sense of calm it is important in winter to keep a regular routine with your meals.

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