The Secret To Maintaining Your Weight and Staying Healthy During Winter
Eating seasonally is an essential aspect in any weight loss and health plan. Nature supports our body’s cleansing, building, and nourishing rhythms by supplying us with the perfect seasonal foods for the job. You may find yourself inundated with cleanses and detox programs at this time of year building off the momentum of New Year’s Resolutions and the burden our bodies may feel after too much indulgence during the holiday season. Unfortunately, many cleanses do not take seasonal eating into account.
If we choose to cleanse during the winter, it is important to avoid cooling foods that dampen digestion like frozen fruit smoothies or salads made with summer produce.
Eating cold salads and frozen smoothies in the middle of winter can be very abrasive to the body during the cold months. The body really wasn’t intended to undergo an aggressive cleanse during the winter months. That being said, there are seasonally appropriate ways to support the body's detoxification and digestive processes, and it's never a bad time to give the body a break from excesses of sugar, alcohol, and processed foods.
Many people experience symptoms of adrenal fatigue during the winter when we are naturally inclined to draw inward and rest. Aggressive cleanses during the winter months increase the stress burden and exacerbate symptoms of adrenal fatigue. For must-know information on adrenal fatigue and its impact on hormonal balance, see my EBOOK on Adrenal Fatigue and Hormonal Balance.
We need grounding, warmth, and sustainable nourishment during this time instead.
In the winter, it is important that we rebuild with foods that are naturally oily, warm, heavy, and sweet like steamed veggies, soups, stews, and herbal teas. These foods nourish our adrenal glands and keep our energy levels optimal. Winter foods are also naturally high in vitamin K, Beta Carotene, and vitamin C, which help to support the health of the immune system.
If you avoid the sweeter starchier winter produce or warming foods in an attempt to control your weight, you may find yourself bingeing or overeating on starches and sweets at the end of the day.
We are designed to eat starchier and sweeter foods during the winter like yams, winter squash, and root vegetables like carrots and beets. When we don't incorporate these foods into our diet, our body seeks the sweet experience in other, less optimal foods at the end of the day. Even our best intentions usually won't squash natural cravings that are in alignment with nature. Furthermore, if you don't support your body with warming foods like soups and stews, the body will look for warmth in excess calories. For optimal weight during winter months, balance caloric dense winter vegetables with leafy greens and herbs.
Buying produce that is in season is also a great way to save money, means fresher, more flavorful food, and ensures nutritional variety throughout the year.
Below is a list of Seasonal Winter Foods to Look for in Your Market:
- Belgian Endive
- Broccoli Raabe
- Brussels Sprouts
- Celery Root or Celeriac
- Collard Greens
- Curly Endive or Frisee
- Fresh Herbs
- Jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter Squash