Many of us find ourselves in the throes of extremely cool temperatures today. Even with the heat on winter is, with or without snow, in high gear. Maintaining a balanced system that allows us to feel energetic, focused and warm on the inside is critical in this season and especially now, as our bodies are needing to adjust to arctic air which is demanding.
Cooler conditions call for warming measures, especially in the kitchen. Consuming more grains and root vegetables to push blood to the surface of the body to generate heat is the prescription for winterized nutrition. The inclusion of spices such as cinnamon, Chinese 5 Spice and pumpkin spice add heat to food and in turn up the body’s thermostat.
Try these simple and value-friendly warming winter dishes to keep the home fire burning and to fuel you optimally now and throughout this cooler season:
1.) Keep a big pot of SOUP on the stove that you can dip into all week and keep adding ingredients in order to keep it going. Cut up some onions, carrots and celery and toss them into a pot with some vegetable bouillon cubes or powder. I like Knorr’s. After a couple hours you have the base and you can add sliced mushrooms, kale or spinach, even frozen vegetables like edamame, packaged split lentils, dried beans (that have been soaked overnight.) In a pinch, canned beans you rinse can go in, along with a pinch of natural sweetener, salt, pepper and preferred spices. A trick I use to boost flavor is I toss in a small piece of corn-on-the-cob and use the actual cob (I cut the corn off and repurpose it.) Add a dash or two of cinnamon and BAM! – more heat in your pot.
2.) Did you know that you can strengthen a vulnerable immune system by adjusting cooking styles when it’s cold out? So, along with that pot of soup, why not toss some sweet potatoes into the oven. Baking and roasting food adds added warmth to the body and right now, here in NY that’s an inviting prospect. And no need to remove skin on organic potatoes as they are nutrient-packed. Sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber and vitamins K and C and serve to balance blood sugar levels and mood too. They ease sugar cravings too which makes them an invaluable tool if easing up on sugar is a resolution this year.
If you take the time to bake potatoes you might bake some extra and cook them until slightly underdone so that they can be reheated. Either YAMS or my favorite Japanese Satsu-IMO POTATO. Learn more about this magic variety here https://ultimateyounow.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/imo-one-hot-potato/ . And think about making a potato more of a meal with toppings including sautéed vegetables like spinach and onions with paprika or black beans, salsa and guacamole or other vegetables, legumes and favorite protein sources. Use your favorite dressings and sauces, nuts, nut butters and seeds, or just allow the beautiful flavors of these whole foods power up your spuds.
3.) And while you’re adding fuel to your inner fire, throw a pot of GRAINS on to cook. It will act like kindling in your body and while keeping the heat in. I batch-cooked this
Mango Quinoa Salad http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/mango-quinoa-salad and a Hot Lap Bowl http://engine2diet.com/recipe/hot-lap-bowl/ to eat all week.
The key is taking a handful of nutrient-dense ingredients, cooking them in batches to save time (and money) and throwing durable ‘logs’ on the fire within. This will just require adjusting your sail a bit and using cooking methods that add warmth to your food. Spring really is just around the corner. Heavy jackets are coming off and lighter, cooling fare is in the forecast. Eat warm and prosper.
Peace + plants,