5 Tips for Winter Health and a Nourishing Winter Recipe

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Short winter days are often associated with illness, lethargy, and depression. Though many people do become sick and catch a case of the blues during the first few months of the year, days in bed can be avoided if you are grounded and supporting the strength of your immune system. Instead of resisting the barren season, embrace the rain and cold and dedicate winter days to nourishing your mind and body. It is during this season our appetites should be strong, rest plentiful, and meals warm and satisfying.

Below are 5 simple tips to help you remain healthy and energized:

1. Don’t Stress:

Stress is one of most powerful promoters of illness and can be reduced with meditation and soulful music, and by engaging in physical activity, laughter, and yoga. Initiate these stress busters as much as possible to keep your mind from mimicking the dreariness of the weather.

2. Get Plenty of Vitamin Z:

Getting your Zzz’s is essential and your most restful sleep comes when you retire at nearly the same time every night. Also, be sure to hop in bed before 10pm. Beyond this hour, your adrenals help your brain catch a ‘second wind’ and sleep becomes disrupted.

3. Massage Morning Hours

Take it easy in the morning. Relax and breathe long and slow. Avoid abrupt actions or rushing from one activity to the next. Welcome the day with gratitude and an intention to carry you throughout.  Use the morning hours to read, meditate, practice playing an instrument, or to journal. Also engage in gentle movement like yoga or tai chi.

4. Get a Hold on Hydration

Heaters running in your home and office dry the air and your mucus membranes which puts you at risk for catching an infection or virus. Be sure to drink filtered water throughout the day and ensure you are consuming at least half your weight in ounces and more if you are very active. You may also opt for running a humidifier in your home at night to increase moisture.

5. Eat In

The winter months are an excellent time for cracking open dust collecting cookbooks and testing your skills in the kitchen. Enjoy the company of others by hosting potlucks and dinner parties rather than going out. Cold weather meals should be hearty and made with seasonal, unprocessed and organic foods. Boost the health quotient of your cuisine by incorporating warming spices, dark leafy greens, and grounding foods such as grains and root vegetables.  Staying in tonight? Try this nourishing and winter friendly meal:

Apple-Balsamic Roasted Roots and Quinoa Salad

Makes:  4 servings

Time:  1 hour (15 minutes hands on)

Apple-Balsamic Dressing Ingredients:

3/4 cup organic apple juice

2 Tbsp. unfiltered apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. white or red balsamic vinegar

1 small garlic clove, peeled

1 small shallot, peeled

1 Tbsp. honey

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Salad Ingredients:

4 cups peeled roots and squash of your choice, seeds removed if needed, and vegetables all cut into large chunks or wedges (use a combination of any of the following:  rutabaga, parsnips, turnips, carrots, acorn or butternut squash, pumpkin, beets, celery root, or sweet potatoes)

1 large fennel bulb, white part scrubbed and cut into thick slices, greens chopped and reserved

2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted

1/2 tsp. sea salt

3 cups dark leafy greens, chopped (kale, chard, collards, spinach)

2 cups cooked quinoa

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. In a food processor or blender, combine dressing ingredients and blend until thoroughly combined.  Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, toss roots, squash, and fennel with melted coconut oil and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Pour in half of the dressing and toss vegetables with dressing to coat evenly.  Turn out onto two baking sheets and be sure to organize in a single layer.

4. Transfer sheets to oven and roast for 50 minutes, turning occasionally to ensure even roasting.

5. In the meantime, steam greens for 30 seconds, remove from steamer pan and squeeze out excess water.

6. Divide quinoa between four plates or bowls, divide greens between each and top with roasted vegetables.  Spoon some of the remaining dressing over each and top with chopped parsley and fennel greens.