Updated: Dec 19, 2020
Frosty mornings, snowflakes on my face, long dark nights, Christmas… and hot tea flavored with spices, mulled wine - these are the first things that come to mind from winter. Although this season is a little different for everyone, it may mean a slightly calmer period for all of us. We spend more time at home and the time spent with our loved ones becomes more valuable. This season is seemingly quiet, yet it is a time of inner maturation. Just think of nature: from the sown seeds the fresh shoots can only emerge in the spring, if the winter has done a good job. And this is also true for us. The late autumn fasting period, which, according to Christian tradition, lasts until Christmas, provides an opportunity for purification and renewal, both physically and spiritually. However, according to traditional Chinese medicine, winter is about nothing less than our vitality. This is the period of the kidney, which is the source of all our energy, can also be linked to birth, overall energy levels, and fertility. Let’s look at what general diet and lifestyle tips to take at this time of year: 1. Consume enough liquids even then, as it is essential for the healthy functioning of our kidneys and our entire body. However, it does matter how we replenish the required fluid. In winter, it is especially true to avoid too cold, but also too hot drinks. It is best to drink warm teas, soups and water. Honey can also be added to miraculous, warming, warm teas and meals.
2. In the winter, spices also have a good effect on our body, but don’t overdo their use. Anyone who is more sensitive to heat can easily overheat the body by overdosing on such warming ingredients which can be contraproductive. Therefore, we only consume warming spices in moderation. However, their balanced presence in our foods is very helpful because they are excellent supporters of the immune system. One such herb is fresh ginger, which I especially like to eat as grated tea. Everyone should occasionally chew half a knife-tip of fresh ginger during the cold season. (Use it carefully as it may interact with certain medications, I recommend that you take it only after consulting your doctor.)
3. From the flavors, in winter period choose for the naturally bitter or salty flavors. However, it is important to emphasize that I do not encourage anyone to use salt, but to opt for naturally salty flavors. Examples are seaweed, pork or duck. The bitter taste is found in nuts, dandelion root and chicory, among others. Salads and leafy vegetables should not be eaten cold, but always with something cooked or steamed.
4. The most important goal during this period, which is also the most difficult, is to avoid the consumption of food additives or preservatives. In winter, it is typical that many people prefer canned food. It can be a perfect alternative to those, if we learn to ferment food ( vegetables) at home and so we can take our vegetables naturally and healthily even in the cold season, thus improving the condition of our intestinal flora.
5. The selection of seasonal vegetables and fruits is quite limited in this period, but nevertheless do not give up on them and choose from the vegetables for instance the onion and root varieties. At this time, a wide range of southern fruits is also available on store shelves and is occasionally worth consuming. As much as possible, look for natural sources of vitamins and fresh things.
6. Even in winter, we should pay attention to how we cook. We can eat meat, but we prefer to cook it in water, by no means use margarine or oil. Refined butter (which can also be made from traditional butter at home, called ghee) is a better solution for this, but frying meat in its own fat is also ideal. Of course, even then, leaner meats should be preferred. It’s time for grilled, steamed food and stews. One of my big favorites is Szekler cabbage, which I like to make without oil, in a vegan style, or instead of pork from veal, with real Kalocsa ( town in Hungary) peppers. 7. Finally, it is important to mention that we keep our bodies warm from the outside as well. Always dress according to the weather and always cover your waist. Move enough, but choose a sport that is recharging, and does not put too much stress on your body. More intense walking and dancing can be a pleasant and fun choice. Food feeds, but everything else starts with our thoughts. Let us fill our hearts with joy and confidence, smile and accept what life gives, and think with gratitude for everything. This is also the time for Christmas, the celebration of love, so let’s notice where we are needed and show our love. Let’s replenish our energy stores with good food, get enough sleep and believe it’s worth the wait for spring.
All photo credit: Emma Póli ( from Impulzív magazin)
This article was published in Impulzív magazin ( Hungary), for the original article go to www.impulzivmagazin.hu
ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF THE ARTICLE I am Bernadett Köteles-Degrendele, the developer of the Begonia Wellness Method and a nutrition therapist, wellness coach known as Bernadett Begonia. In my work, I represent natural solutions and see food, as one of the foundations of maintaining health and key to healing. For the past 15 years, I have attended various trainings on wellness, nutrition and coaching. In my work, I also build on Eastern and Western methods, including traditional Chinese medicine and the detection of food intolerances and allergies.
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