How to Eat in Winter
By following the energy of the season, we can learn the best diet and lifestyle recommendations for winter. It’s time to adapt our eating and lifestyle to the season, so we stay in harmony with nature and maintain good health.
The foods that ripen in winter tend to be dense, heavy and nourishing. We get root vegetables in season now, including potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions. Veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage ripen in winter. They tend to be more dense and fibrous than their summer green leafy cousins.
And maybe most dense of all, we get the hard winter squashes, like acorn, butternut, kabocha, pumpkins, spaghetti squash, etc.
Is it sounding like stew yet? It should be. The dense winter foods take longer to cook, and that’s entirely appropriate for the colder winter weather. The best cooking methods for winter are the slower, longer types, like baking, roasting and slow cooking methods like soups and stews. It helps to break down the dense fibrous foods and helps warm our bodies in the cold season.
The fruits coming in season now are also dense, like apples, pears, persimmons, and citrus. Like the winter veggies, they also tend to be less sweet and more fibrous than the summer fruits.
We can see that the consistent message from Mother Nature is dense, fibrous, nourishing foods. And that’s our big clue for the season.
That doesn’t mean to eat more food. It means to eat the right kinds of foods, like the ones just mentioned.
It can also be dry in winter, and heating tends to dry out the air more. Pay attention to the humidity. If you’ve got a lot of static electricity, that’s usually a sign of dry air. Make sure you’re drinking enough water. Usually about 1-2 quarts/liters per day is about right. If you’re exercising and sweating, or it’s very dry, you may need to drink a bit more.
Soups and stews have more water in them, so they help when it’s dry and cold. It’s a great time to bust out the crock pot, roasting pan or soup pot and enjoy winter vegetables.
Lifestyle in Winter
Winter is the most Yin time of year. It’s the coldest and darkest, with the shortest days. The winter solstice is the most Yin day of the year. Its the least daylight and most darkness. Since Yin is the calm, restful and restorative energy, it’s best to follow nature and be more Yin in winter.
Like the trees that lose their leaves in winter, the energy goes deep into the earth to hibernate, rest and recharge for the more active times of spring and summer. For good health, we should also rest more, nourish ourselves (body, mind and spirit) and “recharge our batteries”.
Think like a bear and hibernate. I know many people run around and shop, go to parties, stay up late, and do way too much during the holidays. That’s exactly opposite of how to maintain good health in winter. Winter is the time to restore your energy. If you don’t get a “full recharge”, and instead get more burned out, it can affect your health for the coming year.
These days everybody seems to be trying to do more stuff in less time. Use this as a reminder to take some time just for you, to rest and recharge.
Have a happy winter and happy holidays.