By Pam Wilson
Winter has arrived in the Northeast and while many of us are enjoying the snow and outdoor sports like skiing, skating and hiking, the extreme cold and increased darkness can sometimes be challenging emotionally and physically. We may be craving a diet change to combat the coldness outside. Ayurvedic principles say that opposites balance. Winter in Ayurveda is cool, light, dry, windy and unpredictable. It is nourishing to balance these qualities with warmth, oiliness, stability and routine. When it comes to diet, it is often helpful to add in more spices, warm foods and healthy fats. To keep our moods peaceful, increased self-care should be a top priority.
Here are some tips on how to nourish your physical and emotional health as you enjoy the winter season.
- Go through your recipes and find delicious winter stews and warm vegetable dishes. Try to purchase organically grown food whenever possible. Plan your meals ahead to reduce unnecessary stress.
- Use warming spices in your foods and teas such as cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cayenne, ginger and turmeric. These spices aid in digestion and keep your inner body warm.
- Oil your skin before showering. Try sesame, coconut or almond oil.
- Spend some time unplugged each evening to allow your emotional experiences of the day to digest before you go to bed.
- Make sure you have proper warm clothes and get outside each day. Enjoy the beauty of your natural surroundings. Walk in the sunshine, Make the most of your outside time as this is food for your spirit.
- Establish a morning and evening routine that is grounding and nourishing. (Reading, stretching, doing yoga and journaling are just a few ideas.
- Make herbal tea in a large thermos in the morning. Take sips every 15 minutes throughout the day to stay warm and hydrated.
- Give yourself good fats. Your brain is made of up approx 60% fat by volume. The quality of your brain cells can depend on the quality of fat that you eat. Good fats include: avocados, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and genuine wild caught, fatty fish and grass fed cow butter. Try to eat healthy fats with every meal.
- Eat a rainbow every day. All the colors we eat nurture us differently. Aside from making our plates pretty and increasing feelings of gratitude before we eat, expanding our food color palate can insure that we are getting all of our required vitamins and minerals. You can do a little research of your own by looking up “nutrition color wheel” to see how each color you eat can uniquely nurture you.
- Commune with your family and friends. Schedule time for connection, love and hugs. Research shows that nurturing relationships contribute immensely to good health and happiness.
Hope you find these tips helpful! Cheers to making this winter fun, safe and super healthy.