How To Winterize Your Diet and Lifestyle
By: Elisheva Blumberg, Lubicom Staff
It’s cold out and I’m feeling it.
It’s all-out winter weather here in the Northeast: it’s nippy, frigid, wind-blown… and so cold even ice cream isn’t calling my name like it should.
It’s no secret that our appetites change in winter, lessening the appeal of light and chilled foods (i.e. ice cream, watermelon, iced coffee) while increasing the loveliness of heavy and warm foods (i.e. pasta, stew, hot cocoa).
These seasonal cravings are actually messages from our bodies, which react — metabolically, hormonally, psychologically — to the changing weather.
Try these tips to keep yourself and your family warm and well-balanced during this frigid winter:
1. Don’t go hungry
Eating causes our bodies to produce more heat — in fact, our body generates 10% more heat on a full stomach. This explains why we feel so cold on a fast day!
To keep your body’s furnace working at a perpetually toasty rate, don’t go too long without a snack.
2. Get some sun
Sunlight exposure ramps up vitamin D production and triggers release of serotonin, the mood-regulating “happy chemical”. In winter, fewer daylight hours and weaker sun rays mean that we’re not getting an optimal amount of sunlight.
Aim for some outdoor time in the sun every day (just don’t forget your earmuffs!) and consider enriching your diet with some of these foods that provide vitamin D:
- Fatty fish (tuna, salmon, herring, sardines)
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
- Vitamin D-fortified foods (some dairy products, orange juice, and cereals)
3. Stay hydrated
Our bodies experience a diminished thirst response in cold weather. This means you may be dehydrated without realizing it.
Make sure to drink plenty of water or other fluids — even if you don’t feel like you need it.
4. Make the most of seasonal produce
Fewer produce options make it all-too-easy to snack on convenience foods rather than fresh foods. To keep your body functioning in tip-top shape, search for recipes using whatever cold-weather crops are available to you.
Try simmering up some hearty soups made with winter root veggies (cabbage, carrots, celery, potatoes) as well as legumes (dried lentils, beans, split peas).
Oh, and don’t forget the citrus! Citrus, which provides essential vitamin C, is at its peak during winter, so take advantage of the tart tastiness of blood orange, grapefruit, mandarin, tangerine, and pomelo.
5. Balance your yin and yang
According to Chinese medicine, we should eat in harmony with the seasons and our natural environment. With this philosophy in mind, cold winter weather calls for warming “yang” foods that are easy to digest and that warm our body’s internal temperature.
Examples of warming “yang” foods are:
- Spices like chilli pepper, cinnamon, garlic, ginger root, and turmeric
- Bone broths
- Beef, lamb, and chicken
- Heavy grains, seeds, and roots
- Sesame oil
Tell us: How do you stay warm and healthy when it’s freezing outside?
And here are a few more recipes perfect for winter: