Warming Foods for the Cold Season

freezingIt’s winter outside!
Most of us on the East-coast or Mideast are blessed right now with snows and icy weather. But generally, after the holiday season many have experienced, that the ongoing cool or cold temperatures have taken their toll on our immune system — therefore, in order to keep our body, mind and spirit strong and happy and make the winter-time enjoyably, it is important to refuel with foods which are excellent in providing the right energy for this cold and wet season. Focusing on separate nutrients often fail to do so. The most simple and effective way to look at how foods affect us is their warming or cooling quality

Eastern Nutrition or Traditional Chinese Medicine provide a very refined way to optimize food and drink to a person’s constitution, both short term (e.g. how to fight a common cold) and long term (e.g. how to deal with a chronic imbalance or how to maintain well-being tailored to the constitution of the person). It is not a one size fits all. An Eastern nutritionist carefully analyzes the person’s current condition, and customizes the diet accordingly.

But with a little knowledge and observing yourself, you can use this information and easily bring it into your daily routine.

1. Identify your constitution — warming spices for the cold season

Do you sweat easily? Even during cold weather? During a workout you feel much earlier hot than your friends? You enjoy ice water and short sleeves, even you see that people around you wear a jacket? Your head gets red easily?
Ok, you are definitely on the hot and warm side: cooling foods are generally better for you: pick watermelon, banana, apples, celery, peppermint etc.

Are you quickly cold? Do you have cold hands and/cold feet often? Your friends enjoy ice cream or chilled smoothies, but your stomach or body feels uncomfortable afterwords? During workout, it takes you a while for you to warm up, and you can also exercise with a layer more than your friends. So if you tend to feel cold, you will do better with warming foods in general, and especially during the cold season.

2. Go with the season and adapt to sudden weather changes —A big drop in temperature will make everybody (despite your constitution) feel uncomfortable, January and February months bring snow and icy winds: there is nothing better than choosing foods in your diet which will balance you from the inside!

Tea, made with fresh ginger: awakes the senses and balances perfectly your constitution, do not use dry ginger, stick with the fresh one. Add lemon juice, a pinch of Himalayan Salt, a pinch of Chili Pepper and a spoon of honey if you feel a beginning cold or you got really wet and cold.
Spices like Cinnamon are soothing and warming over a warm cereal or rice.
Pumpkin, squash are delicious foods for the season and can be made to soups, grilled or sauteed with other veggies.
Salads are more on the cooling side, but most of the herbs are warming, therefore it is very easy with this information to stay with a raw food diet or partially raw vegan diet to stay warm and healthy.

special gift with red bow3. THIS IS OUR SPECIAL GIFT TO YOU — a beautiful printable chart for your kitchen: Download for free a complete chart of warming and cooling foods (according to the 5 Elements) HERE

4. How to use the chart —Here is a very effective and simple way to balance your diet: pick more warming or more cooling foods, depending on your tendency to feel hot or cold and according to season. If you want to eat a certain food which is very cooling, let’s say bananas – pair them with spices or other fruits which are warming to balance the quality.

If you like a bowl of green salad leaves (most of the leaves are very cooling) spice it up with herbs which are warming, add onions, garlic which are also warming, mix with shredded carrots, fennel, mustard leaves or kale. 

All these herbs make delicious dressings and are warming and excellent for the season:salad dressing
Anise, basil, bay, carob, cayenne, cinnamon, chili, chives, clove, cilantro, cumin, curry, dill, fennel, fenugreek seeds, garlic, ginger, leek,  horseradish, juniper, nutmeg, onion, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, savory, spearmint, thyme, turmeric.

These nuts are neutral to warming and make a great raw pate, simple snack and sprinkle over your breakfast cereal during the cold season: flaxseed, hazelnuts, pistachio, pumpkin seeds, black sesame seeds, almonds, chestnuts, peanuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts.

More tips:

  • Avoid dairy products — most of them are cooling anyway, however,  milk is also very dampening and creates mucus easily. It is much easier to catch germs and flu, and affects the respiratory system. In our latitudes it is better for most people to avoid it.soy foods
  • Soy products are cooling: soy cheeses, soy milk, miso soup, tempeh, soy yoghurt — if you like them, add a spoon of tumeric, cinnamon or spice up the tempeh!
  • Frozen foods will keep a certain information of “cold”, a good idea is too add a warming spice to your recipe during the cold season to balance the qualities.
  • Avoid ice creams or smoothies, take fruits and veggies out of the fridge before consumption.
  • Black and green teas (even when you drink them  hot) will heat you up and then cool your body.
  • Hard drinks like schnaps, vodka, gin etc. will heat up instantaneously and then cool the body.
  • Fresh air and exercise will keep us healthy during all the seasons!

Further reading: (coming soon)
Warming Foods for Raw Foodists
Warming Superfoods