Winter Re-juvenation

January 19, 2011

We are doing the official ‘cleanup for winter’ in my yard. Because this job is really big and I do find it a bit sad, I try several things to get out of some of it – like hiring someone else. This year I have convinced my boyfriend that he loves yard work, and he doesn’t have one of his own after all. So surely he wants to tend mine.

In between clients, I have been in and out helping where I feel certain things ‘require’ my control – or control freakishness as he – lovingly – points out.

This yard clean-up is my transition time. Don’t get me wrong. I love winter.

But I need to go there gently.

Autumn. The coming of winter. This is a time of introspection. A nesting instinct becomes prevalent in our society. We try and stay closer to home. We are aware of everything at this time of year.

The darkness. The cold. The basic instinct to survive. And this is where we need to feed our inner-selves. With good music, cozy environment, wholesome food, and loving exchanges with our family members. In confinement the going can get tough – why make it tougher by focusing on frustrations that just won’t matter by the spring.

At this time of year, aside from a really good yard clean, food becomes very important. What we feed ourselves is critical to how we feel in body, mind and spirit. Food and mood. Also – we don’t want to fall ill at this time of year. This is the time of year – for many reasons – to eat seasonal and close to the earth.

Root veggies, and earthy veggies rule over cold summer fruits and vegetables that grow early in the season. Warm and creamy soups (I make some to live for…), chilies with warm sprouted grain bagels and ‘better butter’, Mashies with warmed miso gravy and a side of roasted onions. I always store some fruits for summer such as blueberries, peaches and raspberries in my freezer for my fruitsy drink…but I don’t go crazy trying to get my six or more servings daily for the next five or six months. Best to do that in the spring and summer. Speaking of which, let me help you with a visual. Our ‘servings for the day’ of veggies and fruit looks like this. You should consume about one and a half to two cups of fruit a day, during Spring and Summer.

You always need to consume more veggies, about two and a half to three cups daily. All the time. But in the winter – you will take in less fruit, and more veggie. There – veggie and fruit consumption made easy 101.

Green powders are a given for a lot of reasons. But just stick to green powders. We don’t need a lot of other ingredients unless we know we aren’t getting our nutrition elsewhere. New Roots and Genuine Health are good options. My favorite – and here is another plug…Schinoussa, a raw super food from Quantum Nutrition. Available at your local health food store. This is a mixture of sea veggies in powder form.  And it tastes good! The health benefits of sea veggies are abundant. Look them up. For thyroid health, they could be considered your first line of defense.

For weight loss, try the one with bladderwack. For complete health insurance, both a greens powder and sea veggies should be your goal. I have some dynamite recipes for quick blender drinks to sustain us every season. An excellent way to load you blender drink with green nutrients is with blast of wheat grass. Look at www.dynamicgreens. They grow and deliver nicely portioned frozen wheat grass right to your door.

But remember at this time of year we should be thinking building up, breaking down and warming foods. Also – the water you drink should ideally be warm or room temperature. Never with meals.

This is the time of year where several biological things are happening to our bodies. We need to honor and respect that. Our body’s many amazing mechanisms need to be strong to do what it biologically needs to do in the winter. Everything slows down. Fasting is a no-no. Detoxing – unless you have a pressing reason to do so…should be avoided until the spring. Nurture, nurture, nurture. And let your body slow down to rebuild.

Keep your body in a solid PH level of around 7.0 or more with certain food choices. Greens, including sea veggies, help that along beautifully. Disease is not viable in an alkaline environment. There are some foods as I mentioned that should be consumed more in the winter. I have a wonderful list of alkaline foods versus acid forming foods that break it down nicely. But with food combining, food rotating and eating whole, natural foods that are sustaining, you are giving your body the winter nutrients it requires. Every season has its own set of requirements. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, in some cases if you eat what just feels right – ensuring the quality and nutrients are there – you are probably eating what your seasonal biological clock tells you is correct anyway.

In short, alkaline forming foods include: most fruits, green vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, spices, herbs and seasonings, and seeds and nuts. Generally, acid forming foods include: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, grains, and legumes.

Find a balance and check your PH weekly with litmus paper. You should get instructions on how to use the paper properly.

Go online and dig out some winter recipes. There are some great cookbooks available. Three of our favorites: GRUB…ideas for an urban organic kitchen by Anna Lappe and Bryant Terry, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman and Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robinson.

Also – using your cook books, meal plan and make your grocery lists from there. I do this once every two weeks with my partner – when he isn’t doing yard work. Soft music, candles, a glass of wine and we find it engaging and relaxing to design our meals. There is something intimate and even sexy about food and cooking. Especially in the winter.

Another great option is to order your organic groceries to be delivered. The service I use is Small Potatoes Urban Delivery – or – SPUD. Get in touch with them at www.spud.ca and check out their site. If you tell them I sent you, you receive $45 dollars toward your first order. For organics, this is really cost effective, seasonal and local, and really fun. I always forget what I order in my bin…so when it arrives, I have a blast going through it. Another produce delivery service is Organics Delivered or www.organicsdelivered.com they work with just produce and strive to keep as local, seasonal and organic as possible. Bonus? You get to try one bin for free.

And for your natural medicine cabinet? Make sure you stock up on ginger, licorice, elderberry and honey bush teas, Echinacea in tincture form, vitamin C with zinc lozenges, licorice and cinnamon sticks, oregano oil, mint oils, arnica, and lots of dried organic herbs such as basil, thyme, and rosemary. And keep an abundance of garlic and onions around. Don’t forget your EFA’s, and your complexes of B vitamins and Minerals. Vitamin A, C, E (the ACE plan) and an extra vitamin D (4000 mg or more) for a little sunlight insurance. And to finish off your winter supply list, good wines, natural candles, warm socks and polar fleece jams, a few yoga DVD’s such as Kundalini yoga and a new toothbrush. A funky and silly one.

And check in with your Natural Health Practitioner periodically. If all this advice can keep you well this winter, I might get lonely!

1 Comment

  • Audrey Jackson says:

    Thank you for the sage advice about ‘winter survival’. I am of the mind that humans should do as the bears do and hibernate!

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