Eating for Winter

Each Winter, the bitter temperatures and icy weather send us indoors to seek warmth and protection from the cold. The Earth is at its farthest point from the Sun, and everything grows quieter in the Northern Hemisphere. We use this season to slow down and in many ways, retreat from the world before emerging again in Spring. 

During this time of year, we naturally look for ways to keep warm and stay warm. We layer on thicker clothing and big jackets, and eagerly gather around a fireplace if we can. Moving between extreme cold and heat indoors can be challenging for the immune system. It’s important to get enough daylight, keep your movement levels up and stay connected to your community. Your diet is an essential part to keeping yourself healthy at any time of year, but especially in Winter.

In traditional Chinese medicine, this season is connected to our Kidney health and to the element of Water. The kidneys are responsible for removing excess waste and fluid, and is vital for controlling homeostasis – the Yin and Yang – in our body. It helps us determine our response to stress, and is the root of our will power.  To keep ourselves strong, we want to eat more warming and nourishing foods.

Some helpful foods:

Fruits & Vegetables: Apple, Asparagus, Bamboo shoots, Chestnuts, Cooked Cabbage, Carrots, Fennel, Garlic, Grape, Leek, Mushrooms, Pomelo, Potatoes, Radish, Root vegetables, Scallions, Tangerine, Yams

Carbohydrates & Seasonings:  Bay leaf, Black pepper, Black rice, Ginger, Glutinous millet, Glutinous rice, Goji berry, Miso, Purple rice, Rye, Sichuan pepper, Turmeric, Whole wheat

Protein & Fats:  Beef, Bone broth, Black soybean, Black sesame, Hempseed, Lamb, Sunflower seeds, Venison, Walnut

In Winter, bone broth is easily one of the best things we can consume for our bodies. Sipping a cup of hot bone broth a day can boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, and nourish your health in a myriad of ways. You can add ginger, turmeric and black pepper for extra boost or add it to other dishes. However you consume bone broth, it’s important that it’s made with grass-fed animal protein. You can prepare it yourself, or find it in stores. Some brands I like are Brodo, or Kettle & Fire. There are numerous bone broth recipes out there, and one that I like is from The Kitchn.

If this season has got you feeling run down, it’s good to check in and make sure you’re getting adequate sunlight, hydration and healthy sleep. Eating well, getting proper movement and rest can be helpful to regulate your mood and battle fatigue. 

Notice how you feel in Winter. How can you bring more of these helpful foods into your diet? What are other ways you are nourishing yourself this season? 

Image by Jocelyn Morales via Unsplash