There’s just no way to sugarcoat the fact that winter can take a bite out of us. Unless you’re lucky enough to be planning an extended getaway down south, here are some handy tips to keep you happy and healthy through the coldest days of the year.
Tip #1: Drink tea. Prepare a vitamin-rich tisane upon rising to jump start your immune system. Simply pour hot water over freshly shaved ginger, 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon, 1/2 tsp. of raw honey, and a stick of fresh cinnamon (which can be used over several days). If desired, add or replace the above with other herbs of your choice, such as fennel, cardamom, and cloves. Each of these is a power food on its own, packed with antioxidants and flu-fighting nutrients. This homemade tea can also be enjoyed before bed, and I promise, it will make you feel great.
Tip #2: Eat warming foods. Salads are out, and soups are in. We all crave raw foods now and then in winter, but try to keep them to a minimum. Think apple sauce instead of an apple, tea instead of iced drinks, stew instead of sushi. As much as possible, use seasonal ingredients such as root veggies that will ‘stick to your ribs’. Oh, and unplug that water cooler!
Tip #3: Eat more protein. We all tend to need more protein in the winter – our immune cells are built from proteins, so make sure you get enough. Include good protein sources (eggs, legumes, fish, organic chicken, even the odd serving of red meat) at a minimum of two of your daily meals. One serving size is equivalent to 4-6 oz., or roughly the size of the palm of your hand. Now is the time to let your inner Neanderthal shine.
Tip #4: If you can’t beat it, join it. It occurred to me years ago that instead of fighting winter every step of the way, I may as well suit up and enjoy the season. After all, it does have its charms: the beauty of freshly fallen snow, sunlight shining through the trees on a crisp icy day, sitting in front of a fire savoring a good book, rosy cheeks after a good long walk. Not to mention the sports that go with it – skiing, skating, sledding, and snowshoeing, to name a few. So embrace the glory of winter and you just may find yourself enjoying the season!
Tip #5: Be kind to yourself. Slow down, plan quiet time, take a bath, treat yourself to a massage, sneak off to the movies, buy special soaps, bake chocolate chip cookies, and in general be your own best advocate.