Health News & Articles
Good living in the Winter months (part I)
If you are in the Northern hemisphere, you might have felt the Polar weather that is affecting much of North America and Europe…oh yes, winter is here even for the Greek island of Lesbos.
A mix of dread and relief -for those who have been waiting to book their skiing holidays-, delays, slippery roads, dark days that blend into even darker nights, achy joints and the unwelcome flu and stuffy noses.
Personally, I love those beautiful websites and glossy magazines with promising detox diets and ideas on how to lose weight, renew your body, bring up your glowing skin and start a new, magic exercise program that will transform your life. I love, if anything, the stunning pictures with super-fit models and sunny winter mornings when my reality is…well, closer to the image above.
I believe that achieving a state of wellness on all levels, involves paying attention to aspects of our lives such as what we eat, how we move, how we relate to others and, without a doubt, on our ability to relate to our environment, from the air we breathe to the land we inhabit.
It seems clear that, at least in Amsterdam in December, it would be impossible for me to relate to the air in California and the fresh mangos of India. Trying to do so would be lying to my own body and mind, and taking the wrong -and possibly dangerous- path to an utopian state of wellbeing. Watermelon smoothies this time of the year are simply no good.
We need to give our bodies the nutrients that work properly and in harmony with the current season, to provide us with the energy necessary for a balanced physical and mental activity without overloading the organs. You don’t need to put on weight in Winter, but you should not detox either.
Winter represents the origin, the beginning of a new cycle.
Winter is the season of maximum interiorising, the most calm and slow period of the year, with very short, cold, days. Energy flows more slowly. In nature, the energetic activity that was previously in the branches and the trunk of the trees, descents to the roots.
Nature withdraws inward, replenishing forces and accumulating reserves for the arrival of the Spring.
Similarly, we also gather ourselves and need to nourish with energies that generate most heat. Food in these months is based on hotter and richer dishes, and we should avoid raw foods, salads and cold drinks.
In Winter, we should slowly cook and wisely eat the following foods…
Vegetables, fruits and pulses
black sesame seeds
warm spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom and aniseed (not hot, as this makes you sweat then cool down)
Coconut milk (warm)
Cheese should be eaten warm and never at dinner time
Old cheese (Comte,Manchego,Parmesan,etc)
*For non-vegetarians, always organic ,slow cooked in a stew or soup
Avoid processed meats like sausages and cold meats
Fresh ginger tea
Local cold pressed honey
Black strap molasses
Exercise in the winter should have a good balance of restorative movements and activity, stretches and strengthening.
The ideal mix is Hatha Yoga, Nordic Walking, light weight lifting and restorative yoga and meditation. During the skiing season, make sure to practice yoga and stretches for warming up and recovery at the end of the day.
In my next article I will take you through the day-to-day activities to engage during the winter months, the essential vitamins and food supplements that you need, serotonin, light, sleep and how to prevent the flu…all clues for a healthy living in the Winter.