By Katherine Sumner
“Time slows. The days are shorter now. The warmth of the sun begins to lessen as leaves change color. The garden, which in summer overflowed, is now fading into the larder or onto the compost pile. Life in its many forms slows down. Autumn invites us to choose slow foods, whole foods, foods that take time but bring health.” – mary beth lind and Cathleen hockman-wert
As we begin to feel the crisp, cool air of fall and winter, our bodies begin to crave more warming foods – such as curries, soups, stews, and chili.
It is no surprise that nature provides us with the foods our bodies need. First we begin the season with an abundance of apples – why? The apples high fiber content helps to cleanse the intestines of impurities and heat and prepare the intestines for the dry winter to follow and a high-protein / high-fat diet.
In winter, the cold wind dries out the earth and our bodies can become dried out too, a sensation we feel in our throats and sinuses. To counteract the drying effects of winter, we draw on nature’s high-protein, high-fat diet in the form of warm, heavy, oily foods that will replenish our depleted reserves of moisture. Heavy foods such as bananas, avocadoes, beets, winter squash, nuts, meat, deep-sea fish, and oils – all help to keep our bodies warm, moist, and nourished. If we continue to eat foods that are already drying to our bdoies – pretzels, crackers, cooling foods such as cucumbers, melons then our bodies become dried out. Often the first indication that the seasons are changing is a scratchy throat or dried mucus in our sinuses. As a defense against an irritation caused in the membranes by allergens or / and pollutants, the body produces mucus which becomes an ideal place for cold and flu germs to breed. So when fall begins, start by eating an abundance of seasonal fruit in the fall, then begin to eat more protein and fat, grains, nuts, hearty soups, and meat.
Rest is another important part of the winter season. Winter is the season for rest that is why the days are shorter. Nature is giving us a signal that we need more sleep during this time for our bodies to stay strong and for our bodies to be able do their jobs while we sleep of removing excess toxins and fats from our bodies.
Not only do we need to eat a high-protein / high-fat diet, we also need to be mindful of giving our bodies enough rest to stay strong.
NOURISHING OUR CHILDREN IN THE WINTER
So how can we as moms nourish our children during the winter season?
Minimize dairy - when drinking milk, try heating it and adding some spices – ginger, cardamom, turmeric, or honey to reduce it’s congestive properties.
Start including root vegetables – beets, parsnips, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, onions and limit the intake of raw vegetables.
Use a variety of oils – coconut oil, olive oil, and sunflower oil to help keep our bodies moist.
Eat whole grains – brown rice and wheat (unless gluten intolerant)
Eat sweet, sour, and heavy fruits – oranges, bananas, avocados, grapefruit, pineapples, mangoes.
Add spices – ginger, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, mustard seed, clove, fennel, sea salt.
Add nuts and seeds.
Add meats and fish or if vegetarian add spices of your beans and increase your use of tofu,
Learn to make a homemade, nutritious stock! “Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily – not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, and trace minerals” – Weston price foundation, Sally fallon
Rest and give thanks.
Then find a simple recipe with your child and get them in the kitchen. Depending on their age, they can help you clean the vegetable, mix up the ingredients, or set the table. Once you find a few recipes that seem to work add them to your family favorite list! Here a few tips from our kitchen –
1) Keep raw nuts and seeds on hand – giving our children goods fats so their bodies do not get too dry and begin to produce excess mucus a breeding ground for colds and flu.
2) Roast root veggies – coat the veggies with a little olive oil or coconut oil plus some sea salt and roast them on 400 degrees for a tasty treat!
3) Have your child create his/her own smoothie – start with 2 bananas, almond butter, raw cacao, ice/water, and a splash of green powder!
4) Make your own soups and stock – cook a simple vegetable soup with your children. Have them pick the vegetable(s) (carrots, brocolli, sweet potato, butternut squash, corn, green peas) then heat some homemade vegetable stock and have them pick and choose which veggies to put in their soup and maybe a grain or favorite pasta then pour the heated stock over the their bowl of veggies and viola! They have made their own vegetable soup!
5) Adding winter greens (swiss chard, collards, kale, or spinach) to soups or pasta.
These are a few ideas of ways to start including those wonderful winter foods into your family meals and begin eating seasonally.
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