Warming Foods for Winter Weather

February 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Books, Cooking, Food & Drink, Front Page, Green Living, Nutrition, Slideshow, Vegetarian

Keeping the body warm and nourished during persistently bitter temperatures can give us the courage to reach Spring. Winter is still a time for inward focus, for reserving internal strength and encouraging organs to function steadily.

The element of water is associated with this season. Water is changeable and fluid and an important part of the human body and the planet. The bladder and kidneys help process water in the body, and water is connected to the cycles of the moon and the reproductive organs. This element can stir deep emotions, so allow yourself to feel and be gentle, to rest and dream a little more in these remaining cold weeks.

Root vegetables, such as carrots

Root vegetables, such as carrots, are good this time of year. Photo: Joe Hennager

Nurturing the body with good warming and healing foods can make a significant impact. Foods that support the kidneys include the whole grains: millet, barley, and buckwheat; and beans: black, aduki, kidney and soy.

Hearty and sweet vegetables, such as carrots, turnips, parsnips, squash and sweet potato, can provide long-lasting sustenance and soothe the emotions. Mushrooms, beets, burdock, and sea vegetables (kombu, kelp, dulse, hiziki, arame) also provide concentrated nutrition.

The kidneys contain a deep energy source of the body, Jing, which supports constitutional strength as well as physical and mental health. Specific foods can help the body acquire this vital energy, including almonds, milk, clarified butter or ghee, fish, micro-algae, and bee pollen.

Cooking styles for this season use higher heat and longer cooking times. Try broiling, baking, boiling, pressure cooking, and — occasionally — frying foods. The water element is also associated with the salty flavor, and the fermented soy products of miso and tamari can be tasty additions. Pickles added to dishes or eaten as a condiment can also provide the body with the healthful salty taste.

Engaging in activity at this time of year is important to proper organ function. A brisk winter walk, strengthening yoga class, or invigorating indoor swim can do wonders.

When you pack your daytime meal, try taking a thermos of soup. For a snack, grab a handful of dry-roasted almonds. Experiment with buckwheat pancakes or a low-fat, low-sugar muffin recipe. Stay prepared for Spring’s upcoming cleaning by eating more cooked greens, such as kale and collards. Don’t forget to drink plenty of delicious water.

For more winter menu ideas, visit Nourishing Spirits‘ winter menu choices page. And try the following cookie recipe for a delightful winter snack.

(adapted from Natural Foods Cookbook by Mary Estella)

Serving: 30 cookies
Time: 30 minutes
Equipment: 2 mixing bowls, whisk, 2 cookie sheets, parchment paper

Dry Ingredients:

3+ cups whole wheat flour pastry flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Liquid Ingredients:

1 lb. almond butter (unsalted, smooth)
2/3 cup safflower or canola oil
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift flour into mixing bowl, then add sea salt.

Cream almond butter, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla together in a separate, larger bowl, using a whisk. Cream until smooth.

Add flour to almond butter mixture and stir to fully combine flour.

Form dough into walnut-sized balls and press down, then mark with a fork.

If dough does not form easily when rolled, add a bit more flour.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on undersides of cookies.

Allow to cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack till completely cooled.

Lindsay Rice, Nourishing Spirits

Contributing Writer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

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3 Responses to “Warming Foods for Winter Weather”

  1. pligg.com on February 10th, 2009 10:17 am

    Warming Foods for Winter Weather : Blue Planet Green Living…

    Keeping the body warm and nourished during persistently bitter temperatures can give us the courage to reach Spring. Winter is still a time for inward focus, for reserving internal strength and encouraging organs to function steadily….

  2. EcoEvolution on October 5th, 2009 2:35 pm

    Story added…

    Your story was featured in EcoEvolution! Here is the link to vote it up and promote it: http://www.ecoevolution.org/node/326

  3. Degrees in holistic nutrition on August 21st, 2010 10:24 pm

    Thanks for the effort you took to expand upon this topic so thoroughly. I look forward to future post.
    The Natural Health field is growing at a phenomenal rate throughout the world. And millions of Americans — aware of the detrimental effects of drug-based western medicine — are joining health oriented people around the globe in embracing an alternative natural approach. Encompassing the core building blocks of all living organisms, an holistic lifestyle promotes the building, repair, and maintenance of health.